Friday, June 14, 2013

Something Blue

Something old,
something new,
something borrowed,
something blue.

The proclaimed origins of this rhyme are varied, but the reason usually boils down to good fortune with the marriage, particularly in bearing children. I'm all about having a good marriage and all about the color blue, so I like the idea of following this rhyme for my wedding (at least the "something blue" part!).

Here are a few ideas that strike me as easiest to implement, and also really pretty.

1. Flowers

One of the first things I thought about when devising plans was the flowers. I am a big fan of soft, puffy looking flowers: hydrangeas, peonies, carnations and large roses. My mom had white and light green hydrangeas for her wedding bouquet, so when I found out you can get blue hydrangeas they were instantly added to the list for that sentimental connection and the fact that they could match my color scheme. If you decide on blue flowers, I would recommend either going bright and bold (a big bouquet of only one flower) or soft and varied (light blue flower of choice mixed with other flowers and garnishes). If blue flowers are too unnatural for your taste, a blue ribbon tied around the stems of your flowers will add the color nicely.

2. Bridesmaids
Dressing your maids has many pros: blue is flattering in some shade on every skin tone, it can be classic or vibrantly whimsical and chances are it is the favorite color of your maids (blue is the favorite color of 40% of people worldwide). For a timeless and consistent look, have your bridesmaids wear the same shade and cut.  If you want to be a bit more fun, try various shades. You could also do a neutral shade dress with a blue shawl (or vice versa).

3. Accessories: Shoes
Adding blue can be as major as an entire dress or as subtle as an accessory. In the case of shoes, they are often hidden by the dress until you reveal the surprise, which makes it a really fun way to add happy blues to your day. I particularly like the latter pair of shoes for bridesmaids. If you're a perfectionist, match shoe accessories with other details: flower clips of the same type as your bouquet, a chevron patterned pair of flats with printed napkins, glittery pumps with shimmering jewelry.

4. Accessories: Hair

I like the addition of a hair comb because it is functional and elegant. I do quite like the combs with shining gems at the end, but this latter flower one has a rustic and old time feel. I also just really love the idea of being able to take my hair out with piece (if you style your hair with only the comb). So simple. If hair clips aren't your thing, try a blue flower arrangement, birdcage hairpiece or even a blue veil.

Feeling more daring? One of my friends wore a blue dress, instead of white, for her wedding. She was married on a Saturday, days which are always devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, so it was a good nod to her faith. Have any special family heirlooms? What better a time to wear them?

Do you have the blues too? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Paris Theme

Naturally, Paris has a special place in my heart because it has a special place in our story, so a wedding with some Paris touches seems very appropriate. I would love to visit Paris again, and a destination wedding would be unbelievable, but it is more realistic for me to figure out how to bring Paris across the sea. Here are some of my favorite ideas of how to incorporate a Parisian look into your wedding ceremony and following reception.

Rings on Macarons

How cute is this? Macarons are tiny, colorful and delicious. What's not to like? Macarons were the first gift my fiance gave me, so they are sweet in multiple ways. The only problem: getting this picture in before devouring the tiny cookies. If you're feeling brave, here is a step-by-step guide to making macarons if you'd like to give it a shot yourself.

Macaron Pyramids:
Let's be honest. I would rather have my own macaron shop than a walk-in closet (though, it would be even cooler to have a macaron shop in a walk-in closet, no?). These macaron pyramids would be cute edible centerpieces for the tables or they could be a feature on a dessert table with other small sweets.

Paris Landmarks:
Can't afford a destination wedding? Bring Paris to your location with a walk through Paris-themed tables. If you're clever, you can arrange landmarks in an East to West formation if you are ambitious and strange like me. If you've been to Paris, feel free to add places significant to your trip, though they may not necessarily be main attractions. You can use figurines as favors, guiding guests to their seats. Another idea I like is printing napkins with a landmark stamp: classy meets rustic DIY.

Color schemes
One of the best parts of my trip was going to Versailles less than twenty miles from Paris and walking through royal palace halls. When I remember it, I remember the colors: rich gold, rose pink, stone white, sky blue and leaf green. The wallpaper of Marie Antoinette's bedroom was feminine and light pastel, a perfect scheme for flowers, bridesmaid dresses and tablescapes. Soft blooms in a textured golden vase, decorative china and shining, simple cutlery bring a romantic French feel to the meal. I also really like the idea of adding a Parisian touch to the invitations and/or save the dates, as above.

Have any clever ideas on adding elements of your favorite city to a wedding? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Reception Table Numbering

Some of the fun (and stress) of wedding planning is the reception. As for myself, I would love to keep things as simple and inexpensive as possible. Here are some of my favorite ideas of table numbering, which you can easily do yourself.

Classic Handmade:
Handmade table marking is a great DIY idea. You can use your own creativity and match the style of your wedding yourself, without searching through multiple companies' offers. Design your own boarders (circles, squares, diamonds, lines) and notations (initials, flowers, hearts, petals, vines) in colors matching your theme. If you still want to make them but don't feel confident in your free-form artistic ability, purchase a stamp/stencils from your local craft store.

Bottle of Wine:
This method feels very European and would be great for a French or Italian inspired wedding. Collect empty bottles from your own use or friends. Clean out your bottles thoroughly and print or style your own labels. You could even make a realistic label with the husband's last name as the wine company, your marriage date as the vintage, etc. To make a game of it, include paper and pen at each table. Guests can write advice, roll up the papers and stick them in the wine bottles, to be read by you and your husband at each wedding anniversary (table one is read at the first year anniversary, table two at the second year anniversary, cont.).

Characters from Literature:
English was my favorite subject in school, so this idea is clever and romantic. Name your tables after your favorite couples in literature. Some ideas: Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth (Pride and Prejudice), Jane and Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre), Romeo and Juliet, Charles and Caroline (Laura Ingalls Wilder books), Ron and Hermione (Harry Potter books) Noah and Allie (The Notebook). You could also do couples from history: Adam and Eve, Anthony and Cleopatra, Francis Scott Key and Zelda Fitzgerald, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Johnny and June Cash, Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte, Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, even Henry VIII and all his wives. ;) Add some of your own favorite books to complete the literary theme.

Travel Landmarks:

The traveler in me really likes this idea. You can choose the Seven Wonders of the world or landmarks of cities you and your spouse-to-be have visited. Another idea I like is choosing one city and doing several notable landmarks from that city. For example, a Pairs theme (appropriate for this blog) could include the Eiffel Tower, the Arc d'Triomphe, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, the Louvre... You can create this theme with blown up pictures of the city's mark, an artsy card as shown above or even include figurines of the landmarks as table markers or attach labels to them to guide people to their seats.

Have any other fun and easy ideas? Mention them in the comments section below!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hairstyles: Up-Dos

It's never too early to think about your hair style the day of. Here are some of my favorite up-dos that could grace the scene on the big day....

I like this look because it looks simple to achieve. That is a very important factor for all of these hairstyles because I will likely be doing my hair myself.


This is a lovely way to have your bangs feature in your hairstyle, instead of pinning them back out of the way. This works best for side swept, longish bangs, but would probably work for bangs cut straight across or shorter like a pixie cut.


Braided styles are very romantic and this one looks really complicated without being too difficult: side fishtails are braided together and curled up into a bun.


This look is accomplished with a diagonal fishtail braid down the back of your head, then the braid continues to the end. Secure it at the bottom and curl it up into a bun at the base of your neck.


Possibly the simplest of the ones in this post, this hairstyle is achieved by making a low, loose ponytail. split the hair before the ponytail (between the elastic and your head) in two then pull the ponytail through the hole made two or three times before pinning it to your head. Accessorize with cloth or fresh flowers.

Flowers in your hair lend a fresh, Victorian look to your wedding and are perfect for Spring or Summer.

To come: Down and Half-Up Hairstyles.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Bit More About Us

In case you have no idea who we are (bonkers!) or if you want to know a bit more about our relationship, read on.

Christopher and I met our first years at university, me as an undergrad freshman and he as a first year graduate student. Yep. He was my TA (no worries: I earned my grade in that class). When the second semester arrived, though, he wanted to transfer schools. So I ended up doing a lot of this:

I should really think about some sort of frequent
 fliers deal.

And he did a lot of this:

Accompanied by several albums of music, of course.

And technology helped us out and let us do a lot of this:
FaceTime is a life saver.

Thankfully, we were able to see each other frequently when we had breaks in school. Most of the time, we would spend hours at Starbucks with drink refills, homework or internet to fill the afternoons. I think one Summer, I finished five books sitting outside at Starbucks.

Our Summer usuals.

We've been to Starbucks in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia,
Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts
(probably New Jersey), France and England.
We also really like going out for dinner and take advantage of those opportunities when we're together. We cook and bake (mostly on my part) a lot when we're together, but going out is incredibly relaxing and an additional treat, since we're kind of on vacation when we see each other.

Being long distance has given us the opportunity to travel a lot. Boston, Chicago, London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia and St. Louis are some of the major cities we've been to. We've visited or attended nine universities, a lot of which blossomed from Christopher's application process.

One of my favorite cities.
NYC skyline.

As Catholics (recently for myself; you can read about my conversion at my other blog), we really like visiting parishes wherever we go. We've heard Mass at eleven (and counting) parishes, stretching from the Midwest to the East coast to Europe.

St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC.

It doesn't matter too much where we go as long as we get to spend time together. We have so many inside jokes and stories we've accumulated over the last two years. He's my best friend and graciously allows for all the crazy ideas I dream up. I am really excited about our future adventures and can think of no better traveling companion.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Paris Engagement

Below is an excerpt from what I wrote in a notebook the day after the proposal while flying over the Atlantic. Naturally, it was magical.

I am engaged!

I can't stop glancing at my ring every few minutes. My engagement ring. Because I am engaged.

It is weird to want something for so long and then finally get it. Suddenly it doesn't feel real, like it can't happen yet because you're used to waiting. Here's how it happened:

Christopher and I spent our Spring break in Paris and London. I was so excited to go and by this, the last day, would be sad to leave. Leading up to the moment, I was cold and frustrated. The Shakespeare and Company bookstore didn't have my favorite—East of Eden by Steinbeck—so I had walked out with The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This selection would prove to be prophetic as Christopher led me back to Notre Dame, claiming there were a few pictures of the edifice he wanted to take. As we walked in the wind, he asked if I had enjoyed our trip, to which I responded in the affirmative. He then asked if I would like to take such trips with him in the future and I said I wanted to take all the trips with him (all the trips!). I really wasn't understanding what he was getting at and to his persistent, "So, you'd like to take trips with me for the rest of my life?" I half impatiently, half confusedly responded, "Yes..."

He then stopped me in front of the cathedral and said, “Good, because I have a very important question for you.” And bending to his knee he asked, “Will you marry me?”

At “important question” my knees began to shake or, as I told him later, began to feel all “wibbly-wobbly.” When he opened the box my eyes snapped to the ring and back to his face and I'm pretty sure the first thing I said was, “Face!” (what we often call each other). I think he may have prompted me to answer and I said, “Well, yes!” as if it was entirely obvious (it was wasn't it?).

With an answer given, he stood and slid the ring onto my finger (which felt weird, because it was finally happening, it was the moment). Cheering girls (who began their racket when he went down on one knee) were joined by several others and the applause seemed to surround me. High above us, Notre Dame's bells pealed, announcing 7 o'clock. Camera shutters sounded like quick whispers and Christopher caught an American woman who took more photos and promised to send them to us later. “Congratulations!” was shouted from all around and the woman's husband asked if I was nervous (I was laughing and smiling as I said yes, but once a whole bunch of people started cheering and the rings was being put on, I had burst into tears and buried my face in his chest). “Yes!” I cried, but I think I was mostly flustered. Everything seemed at once too real and too dreamlike. The sounds were sharp but my vision blurred with happy tears. He, of course, could only grin. He handled the situation far better than I, I think.

After our pictures were taken, we still had some time until we needed to leave for a music performance at the Opera house, so I suggested we go inside Notre Dame to sit (total weak knees). What better way to start an engagement than Mass? There were no seats to be found, as it was absolutely packed, so I led the way up to the statue of St. Therese, my Confirmation saint, which we had seen earlier on the trip. Standing by her made me happy and relaxed (we got a photo), though I was still quite stunned.

As we walked out I began to ask questions. “When did you get the ring? You planned this all along? What do I do now? Has this been in your pocket the whole trip?” In addition to asking questions, I also wanted him to keep telling me what happened: he told me to wear the ring for a week and see how it fit and I said, “I'm sorry, you want me to wear what for a week?” Oh right, my engagement ring. Because I am engaged.

Concerning the ring, it is very pretty. Slim white gold band with three square cut diamonds (the middle one slightly bigger) and sets of three circular diamonds on either side. It is simple and completely fitting. I like it more and more every time I look at it.

I liked many little details most. Seven: On the seventh day and at seven in the evening it happened and we took the seven metro line after to the Opera after. Catholicism: He proposed not at a cheesy location, but in a notable one in front of a beautiful church on Palm Sunday (and I would join the Church only a week later). That is a great way to ask! It seemed a fitting location too because Notre Dame was our first destination when we arrived. The Church is a starting point! :)

We are on the plane now and I keep looking over at Christopher sleeping in the chair next to me. I am so happy he asked and so thrilled that I get to spend my life with him. I am excited about what our lives will be like and cannot wait to travel and learn and create and live with him at my side.

I'm engaged! And the ring is pretty! I am a lucky girl. :)