December 30, 2008

151 Days to Go

The dresses were a bit more orange in person
I have entered the 6 month frenzy.  I ordered bridesmaid dresses yesterday from House of Brides in Chicago.  All the girls are wearing Coral Bari Jay Style 810.  The final dresses will flatter all their body types and work with the overall East Indian/American wedding look.  While I was at the dress shop, I found my new favorite accessory. I resisted the impluse purchase since it was silver and rhinestones and there's NO silver on my dress. I am going to look for something similar in gold and will post when I find it (or make it myself?)

This week we have to finalize a tasting menu so that we can go next week with MOG and my parents and Groom to try out a few things.  We're hosting the reception at a Spanish tapas place and until recently have been gung ho about the traditional menu option for some reason.  I am hoping that can morph into a tapas meal instead.   

Next on the list- Invitations and Tuxedo hunting...I might want to nail down my accessories while I'm at it too. 

December 24, 2008

DIY Salt & Sugar Scrubs

Originally uploaded by Helene Orange
For the holidays, I made sugar and salt scrubs for my family and friends. For the ladies, I made a Maharani Sugar Scrub using the following:

Coconut Oil- 4 ounces at room temperature
Ground Almonds- 2 tablespoons
Dark Brown Sugar- 2 ounces
Light Brown Sugar- 2 ounces
Honey- 1 tablepoon
Rose Water- 1 splash
Vanilla Extract- 1-2 teaspoons

For the guys, I made "Maharaja Salt Scrub" using:
Sea Salt- 1 ounce
Table Salt- 2 ounces
Extra Virgin Olive Oil- 2 ounces
Orange Extract- 1 splash
Clove Oil- 1 -2 drops
Glycerin (a carrier oil to extend the shelf life of the scrub)- 1 once

I then created labels borrowing from Martha Stewart's idea to use bumper sticker paper. It's water proof and re positionable. I ordered jars in bulk from Specialty and then found some canning jars on clearance (12 for $4) so I picked those up as well. I ended up making 12 salt scrubs and 20 sugar scrubs total.

December 19, 2008

Hawaiian food in Chicago?

If you're a Chicagoan going to an island for your honeymoon and haven't told your Bride, take her to the Tiki Terrace in Des Plains! They have dancers and authentic food as the chef is from Hawaii. I learned this by watching ABC7 news tonight and thought I'd share. 

Songs for your Reception

A friend is getting married soon and put a call out for ideas for Father/Daughter and Mother/Son songs to dance to. We plan on combining the numbers in the interest of time and guests' attention spans. That got me thinking about music in general and how I've deprived you of my thoughts on music. If there was a way to include movie clips, I'm sure Groom would eat that up, however, lucky for us all, we won't be doing that. Maybe soundtrack music will be our compromise. Here are random lists for different parts of your reception. 

Father/Daughter; Mother/Son Dance:

Unforgettable-Nat King Cole & Natalie King Cole
Your Song- Garth Brooks
Thank You - Dido
I'll Always Love You- Whitney Houston OR Dolly Parton
Have I Told You Lately - Van Morrison

First Dance Songs:

Hallelujah, I Love Her So - Ray Charles
This Kind of Love - Sister Hazel
Tell Me - Sara Evans
Sweetest Thing - U2
The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra
Because You Loved Me - Celine Dion
At Last - Etta James (Short and to the point)
Making Memories of Us - Keith Urban
Sweet Thing- Van Morrison

Bridal Party Introduction:

Beautiful Day - U2
Send Me on My Way - Rusted Root
Everybody - Sister Hazel

Music to Cut Your Cake to:

It Had to Be You (Instrumental) - Harry Connick, Jr.
Love & Marriage - Frank Sinatra
I'm a Believer - The Monkees or SmashMouth
If You Wanna Be Happy - Jimmy Soul
Ice Cream - Sarah McLachlan (obviously if you have an Ice Cream cake...)

Songs to Toss for the Groom to Toss your Garter:

Love Song for No One - John Mayer
Lot of Leavin' Left to Do - Dierks Bentley
Just Can't Get Enough - Depeche Mode
Nothing But A Good Time - Poison
Sexy Back - Justin Timberlake

Songs to Toss the Bouquet:

Settlin' - Sugarland
Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) - Beyonce
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
Beautiful Girl - INXS
Wishin' & Hopin' - Ani DiFranco
You Can't Hurry Love - Dixie Chicks

Songs to Get Your Guests Up to Speed on your Relationship while Watching a Video Montage: 

Good Things - BoDeans
Better Together- Jack Johnson
I'm Your's - Jason Mraz
If I Had a Million Dollars - Barenaked Ladies
My Best Friend - Tim McGraw
Who Says You Can't Go Home - Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles
Somebody -  Depeche Mode
Forever and Ever, Amen - Randy Travis
Somebody Like You - Keith Urban

In short, look through your music collection and pick out music you and Groom like.  An artist you like has most likely written an appropriate song for you to dance to with your father or for you to rock out with your Groom or any of the other traditions receptions include.   If neither of you are music buffs, enlist your friends who are....we love this kind of stuff! 

December 16, 2008

My Wedding Inspiration Board UPDATE!

Here's a part of my Inspiration Board. I change it from time to time as I find things that catch my eye or as I refine my thoughts.   As of now, we're STILL negotiating flowers.  Technically I'm on 'break' til January 1, so it's fine.  I put this together using Picasa which made it very easy. 
I found a bridesmaid dress style I LOVE, Bari Jay 810.  I am giving the girls three choices, in the event the MOH wants to go with the other style (the deep v w/ open back shown in purple) It comes in every color imaginable, and I've chosen coral. It's not Bears Orange, it's more subtle, so I can play up the tangerine with the flowers, cake, and stationary.  

December 12, 2008


Two things: We're going to Maui for our honeymoon and as it turns out a picture I took last year when visiting a sorority sister is now on  My picture is number 2 of 8 of the Banyan Tree Park taken while hiking around the park.  So here's why schmap is pretty freaking cool: it's an interactive map of most major cities and hot spots.   There's a desktop version allowing you to plan your trips and share them with your visitors. The wedding guest possibilities are endless. You can make a totally interactive map for your guests so they can check out the destination prior to visiting.  If they're local, they can look at the town from your perspective as a couple.  I'll keep you posted on my schmap as I get closer to the big day. 

December 5, 2008

My Bouquet

David Beahm in NYC has designed this breathtaking cascade of parrot tulips.  Maybe I can find something similar (not use parrot tulips and put it in white for myself and non cascading ones for the maids in a mix of colors.  I am waiting on proposals from a few florists and have to get all this decided sooner than later.  Wedding planning (further appointments, except bridesmaid dress color hunting) is on hold til January. That doesn't mean that I can't still look for things that are pretty, right? 

November 30, 2008

Sandalwood Fans for $1

I'm holiday shopping (mostly on line because I don't do so well with crowds and the Midwestern cold weather).  I came across these wooden fans from Pier 1.  They're ONE DOLLAR.  They'd be great favors/decorations for a beach wedding or reception....again, just $1 a piece!  Just thought I'd share.   Happy Shopping!!!!

I'm working on body scrubs from scratch for most of the grown ups (I use that term loosely) on my list...the munchkins are getting t-shirts and onesies I'm designing for each one of them with the wonders of iron on transfer paper and MSWord.  I'll post pictures as I finish them in the next week along with a 'how to' for anyone who cares to know.  If all goes well, these projects will resurface around wedding time.

November 25, 2008

Collecting Wedding (or any event) Photos with Flikr!

I have been trying to figure out a good way to collect guest shots....thought about leaving a box of blank disks with pre-addressed envelopes, then realized people are slackers about getting photos off their cameras onto disks.  This might solve my problem as long as I include clear directions and maybe even my e-mail address in case guests have questions.  Flickr has a fantastic set of tools available for the DIY wedding album builder.  You can create a group and then invite your guests to join the group and post pictures from your event.  You then have access to all their pictures to enhance the collection you're slowing starting to amass.  

November 24, 2008

Date Night on a Budget

Weddings are expensive.  Relationships are still important. What's a girl on a budget to do? is my newest find.  It's not entirely free as my tag implies, but it is a deal.  I was watching the News in Chicago and they had a report on the site's efforts to market restaurants in this troubled economy.  Currently they're running a special for 70% off gift certificates.  For example, you'd pay $10 for $25 certificate and right now it's $3.  You have to read through each offer to make sure it suits your dining out desires....but overall, a pretty sweet deal.  We found certificates to our favorite Chicago hot spots. Chocolate, Delicious, Deleece, Kaze, Mrs. Murphy's Bistro (not so much a hot spot, but a neighborhood favorite...)  Enter promo code: THANKS for the special discount. Not sure when it expires, so get moving on it, okay? 

November 22, 2008

DIY Wedding Albums

Picaboo has come out with a flush mount leather bound wedding album. Starting at $349.99 for 20 pages; this is a pretty sweet deal. The pages are flush mount board and it lays completely flat when opened. It comes in 9 colors with 2 lines of foil stamping on the cover. There are two sizes to choose from (11 x 8.5 inches and 14 x 11 inches).  I was hoping they'd come out with something like this before next Spring as I'm making our album myself.   I can only imagine choosing my own lay out for each page and having complete creative control over one of the only tangible memories of our day.  Picaboo also has smaller albums I can order for our parents....the possibilities are endless!!! Can't wait!

November 8, 2008

EEEEEKKKK!!!! 204 days to go!

I logged into site to check my to do list and realized I'm a bit behind on a few things. Here I thought I was sooo ahead of the game, but somehow I have fallen behind! I have been sidetracked by stationary and some how created extra holiday projects for myself. I am going to use the next few weeks in November to pick out bridesmaid dresses, print invitations & find a florist....oh and reserve a block of rooms for my out of town guests. AHHHHHH!!!!!!
At least I'm organized.
In other news, I recently started a new job and it's going pretty well. I also moved to the city, so that's been a bit stressful. I think Groom and I are trying to figure out how to merge our personal styles and even daily routines. Tucker and Luke have adjusted pretty well to the condo. Tucker's been protecting Luke from getting onto the balcony (we're four floors up and Luke has NO idea).
I feel better now. Thanks for listening. :)

November 5, 2008

Scrap Booking Fun!

Archivers is my new favorite (well maybe second favorite) stationary stores. I found paper of all kinds, shape cutters, stickers, card stock in every shade of every color of the rainbow. Groom can handle about five minutes in the place before he has to leave. He likens a visit to taking me to a gaming cafe (which he's not done, thankfully) so he waits in the car. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the ideas and work space. They offer classes regularly and have a huge work space in the back for scrap bookers to spread out and do their thing. I am using paper from the store to make tags for our gifts this Christmas...will post pictures when I'm done!

October 21, 2008

Menu Idea.

I can't take credit for this idea, Groom and I were talking about the favors and centerpieces (mostly his frustration of wedding stuff ad nauseam) but he thought we could print small menus and put them inside the tea tin tops and put those on the tables. That way people have to interact to look at them (there will only be two per table). We're looking to do small centerpieces with votive holders and possibly a tall interesting looking vase for a candle.
Groom had a tonsilectomy so I'll either write a lot or nothing at all in the next week. It all depends on how he's dealing with the aftermath. So far, he's doing fine and just dealing with the pain. I'll see if we have any more genius moments this week.

October 16, 2008

Oh Adobe, How do I love thee?

Thanks to my buddy, RJ, I have a link to all kinds of fun brush strokes for Adobe. You can download a variety of swirls, floral and block prints to embellish your stationary. I am going to play around with a few things and post the results.

In other news, I recently visited I Do I Do bridal shop on North Damen in Chicago. It's a trip. The store smells a little funky. I can't quite place the's kind of like a lot of body odor and mustiness from an attic. The couple who owns the place is hilarious but not funny ha-ha, more like funny are-you-for-real-around-brides-to-be? The lady runs the show and her husband kind of does what she says. They're not the traditional sales personalities, they follow you around and insist that they handle the merchandise. There are signs every few feet to indicate that they want to preserve the quality of the merchandise to perfection for the 'right bride' to enjoy. It's weird. Almost like it should have been a part of Seinfeld. If you know what you want, you can find it, but browsing isn't recommended. They have beautiful tiaras, headpieces, and jewelry. They also have favor tags, place card holders, favor boxes. It is a great place to find little gifts for your bridesmaids and she has a TON of ideas for you. There's a whole corner of ring bearer pillows, unity candles and stationary like you wouldn't believe. I am just probably too OCD to enjoy the store the way one should. I might take my dress with me next time to pick out jewelry. One fun tip of the day, she's got a bunch of stuff on sale (potentially discontinued) on line at through the end of the year.

October 14, 2008

Menu Card

I have a while before I have to think about menu cards, BUT, I randomly saw an add for so I clicked and found this Morrocon inspired "Eccentric Menu" They are about $1.50 a piece but I'm thinking I can make something like this for much less. Maybe using the same stamps from as I'm using for the invitations to tie it all together. Ideas welcome.

October 13, 2008

Favor Bags

I went to my first "Baby Sprinkle" (baby shower for baby number 2, for those of you wondering). The baby's name is going to be Sophia so I made "Sophia's Snacks--Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice". My sister and I made favor bags for the guests with Strawberry Shortcake stickers and two inch favor tags with curling ribbon tied to a bag trimmed to be 8 inches tall. We put spice drops, strawberry rice krispie treats, pink iced sugar cookies, Dove Chocolate (Carmel and dark)I was pretty happy with the results. It was a good chance to test the template I plan to use for the tin tags I'll be making for the reception. The favor bags would be a good application for a bridal shower or even a Mendhi party. Instead of sugar and spice (although Brides are made of the same stuff!!!) It would be nice to put some indulgences like chocolate turtles, truffles, iced wedding cookies or even iced sugar cookies or any Martha recipe cookies.

October 9, 2008

Bachelorette Party

I apologize for slacking on the posts.  My Bachelorette party is coming up (along with Bridal Shower).  I am hoping to knock them out in one weekend so my traveling friends don't have to travel twice and still get to have fun.   I must say I love being a woman right about now considering that Groom's 1/2 of the bridal party hasn't seem to got their act together for his big night out. It appears he'll be going to Vegas with a few peeps, but no all out bash that a younger version of me might worry about.  At this point, I almost want him to have a big night out so he can just be a dude. I totally trust him (that's why I'm marrying him, among other reasons).  

I digress; My 1/2 of the bridal party kicks arse...but in general women do, don't we? I do not want exotic dancers of any variety and would like to remember the night, those are my top two requests.  In my research, I've found a few places/programs/things of interest:

Pampered Bride is a network of vendors in Chicago that host events for brides to check out local vendors. One of their sponsors is Flirty Girl Fitness with locations in Toronto and Chicago, they're an upscale women's social club. While I have no idea what kind of bachelorette party I have in my future, I know I do NOT want to do things that require a checklist with strangers and shots. Flirty Girl has packages available starting at $40 per person AND you can add on things like manicures and pedicures for an additional fee. You and the girls can take lessons on lap dancing, pole dancing, belly get the point. How fun is that? 

There's also Ethyl's Chocolate Lounge, with locations in Nevada (mostly Las Vegas) and Illinois. You and your girls can rent out the whole place and throw a chocolate party complete with truffles, chocolate and cheese fondue! Who doesn't like chocolate? 

I personally like the idea of going to Boys Town in Chicago and hanging out with catty drag queens at the Kit Kat Lounge. Dining with Madonna, Brittney, and Cher (impersonators, of course) sounds like a riot.   

Any other ideas for a fun girl's night out? Thoughts welcome. 

Naperville Stuff

I want to include some Naperville items in my bridesmaids totes. All of them grew up in town anyway, but we're never tourists of our hometowns, right? I found a great little listing of random things like the Mayor's bobble head doll, charms, even a Naperville snow globe. I don't think any of these items quite fit the bill for what I'm looking for. I might opt to get some treats from a local candy store or even one of the general stores that have been around since Joe Naper settled here....well maybe not quite that long, but you know what I mean.

October 7, 2008

English Wedding Traditions

I've been reading up on English wedding traditions to find a way to incorporate the majority of Groom's ethnicity into our wedding plans. I have learned that it is traditional for the bride to receive a decorated horseshoe (a charm might do these days) as a sign of good luck. I think the Irish have borrowed that custom as well (good thing he's part Irish!).
It appears that most English customs are what have influenced American wedding customs, so I probably won't have to do that much by way of finding something 'English'.
My latest dilemma is place cards. I originally planned on just escort cards (the guests need to know where they're sitting, right?) Then I learned that I have to indicate EACH guest's entree preference not how many want what dish by table. So far, my best thought has been to color code the favors. This will be time would place cards though. I am guessing I'll just either order square tins for the tea and customize using my computer or use stickers on the back of the escort cards to indicate meal preference. Groom is not a fan of all the stickers I seem to want to use. I think he tunes in and out while I'm talking about these 'problems' in the first place. Any ideas?

October 5, 2008


I've been doing more research on the tea tin center piece idea. Martha Stewart published an article this past April for a more garden variety look. I think if I use all of the same tea tin and a more 'formal' flower, I'll be able to match the level of formality of the reception. I plan on lining it with plastic or maybe an extra wide mouthed votive holder to keep the blooms in water. Here's a link to what I'm aiming for, kind of. This bride used the Harney and Sons Wedding Tea tins while I'll be using Mango. Since things look good in threes, I have to add a third element to the table. I will have two tea tins, multiple votive holders and maybe a tall square jar with a floating candle. It might be a little to modern though...still thinking through it. Ideas always welcome.

October 3, 2008

Wedding Tea Favors

Adagio offers personalized wedding tea favors in organza bags for as low as $1.60/ tin. It's a small sample of a tea of your choosing and you can also select the organza bag color. The 'directions' on the tags are a nice touch. If I weren't using tea tins as my center pieces, I would definitely have explored this option.

Progress Update...

We're making progress on favors/centerpieces/reception decorations. I plan on enlisting the help of my family to make garlands out of carnations and other hearty flowers to frame the entrance way to the pavilion. (it's a glass encased pavilion, but that's what they call it). Then we'll have large framed fabric boards with tags indicating each guest's table assignment. I saw something in a magazine that has served as my inspiration. I found some poppy and red specialty paper from India at Paper-Source which is also where I ordered all my paper for the invitations. I'm making those myself and spending under $250 for 175 invitations. I will put up a picture once I have a complete suite ready. I want to use tea tins from Harney & Sons and the tea as favors for my guests that I'll put into little tins with the help of my bridesmaids. A good friend of Groom's is also a beekeeper on the side, so we'll treat our guests to locally grown honey to sweeten their tea! If anyone has ideas on what flowers will work in an orange tea tin, please let me know!!!!

September 26, 2008

Post Cards as RSVP?

I've decided to make my own invitations. I'm working out the details and will post them once I have them. In the meantime, I've learned that the minimum post card requirements are 3.5" by 5" according to the USPS. This is very good news since I'm leaning towards a 5" x 7" invitation. This will work out wonderfully with my plans. The only trick is finding the right paper to print it on. Card stock will do, but I'm thinking a photo card of something bright and fun...or on the other hand something nostalgic, like downtown Naperville or the Huskie Mural from the high school we met in. He's not going to like the latter, but maybe I can find a neat detail about our lives to share with our friends and family. I'd appreciate any thoughts.

September 15, 2008

Eco Chic Wedding

Here are some shots from the wedding we attended in Woodland, WA a few weeks ago. They used dahlias direct from a grower in Oregon. It was a laid back formal event, if you can use those terms in the same sentence. The ceremony site was very simpley decorated and had a stunning effect. They used a sage green and black accented with orange to tie everything together. The brides's mother used curly willow from her own backyard to enhance the rustic look of the centerpieces. She used river rocks with potted plants in silver watering can planters. The bride really wanted a goat, so her boss was so kind and got her one...his name is Rocky.

Ring Bearer Dog?

I found an old paisely print bow tie from prom well over a decade ago. Instead of throwing it out, I made it Tucker's new accessory for our big day. Thoughts?

Wedding Planning Software

My Groom is fantastic!!!! I told him I wanted some kind of software to organize the guest list, reception details, ceremony details and attendants...not to mention the tuxes, favors, budget and everything else. He found Elm Software's "I Do" software that is available for a 30 day trial download. We went ahead and got the permanent version since we LOVED it. There are a few things I'm still figuring out and would change, but for the most part it works for what we need it to do. I can assign seats, send out invitations, track gifts and multiple events all in one program.

September 6, 2008


I'm in Woodland, WA for the weekend attending my soon-to-be cousin-in-law's wedding. She's rented out Anderson Lodge for the weekend as a mini end of summer vacation for her friends and family. I'll report on eco chic trends after the weekend's over, but wanted to share this great detail before I forgot! She's using a vintage arch as an entrance to the reception.

August 21, 2008

Grocery Store Wedding Cakes?

I grew up across the street from Jewel-Osco and once upon a time Amlings. Amlings has since moved and made way for a mini strip mall consisiting of a liquor store, nail spa, custom flooring and of course a Starbucks! The Jewel-Osco did some renovating and is now a pretty sweet place for grocery shopping. While shopping for grocieries yesterday, at the recommendation of my friend, CR, I stopped into check out the florist. She told me after her wedding she found out that Jewel does weddings. Seriously. I have to find out and see actual samples of their work, but the Florist seemed very knowledgable and sensitive to my budget concerns. She also thought I was a first time bride of 23....I let her know that I wasn't 23, but didn't really feel the need to tell her about this not being my first rodeo. At any rate, she sent me to the bakery to talk to the Baker. I then learned that I can do flowers and cake for 300 for less than $1500. The only catch is that we have to pick them up ourselves. Since we live across the street, I really don't see this being a problem. If we lived across town, I could see it being a little more of an issue. I am soooo excited, you don't even know. Groom is of course skeptical being the brand baby that he is. I said that we would order a sample and add it to our taste testing pile. They can do a fresh strawberry filled cake in white, yellow or chocolate....can we really go wrong? We could order three different flavors or more with all the choices of fillings. I suppose we can do that at a 'real bakery' too. We'll see how it stacks up. I of course will keep you posted.

August 16, 2008

Formal Wear Rentals for the Munchkins!

I am watching 190 North (yes, I'm home at 11:25 pm on a Saturday night). The show just featured some fun kid friendly places in the city for dining, shopping, and even a spa day. So the place of interest for this and any other bride to be is the formal wear rental place that offers just about everything you'd need to dress your child attendant at a fraction of the cost. You can rent not only the cutest dresses and tuxes ever, but also accessories! A pink hat or a little party purse or even outerwear! You can even dress up your puppy!!!! Maybe two ring bearers is an option again...How cute would Tucker look in this?

Indian Inspired Invitations!

I am attempting to be productive while Groom is away at a golf thing this weekend. I am looking for invitations and stumbled across Wedding Paper Divas. The Modern Paisley Invitation (pictured left) and the Woven Paisley Invitation (not pictured) are my two favorites. They're reasonably priced at under $8 for the set. They have samples available for $5.00/ea. Groom really likes the first one (he's been in contact via his super duper phone). He seems to get most excited about the invitations and the reception. I bought a paisley stamp that I can use to make my own thank you cards. The simpler, the better for me.
Paper Source has embossers with three styles of plates to choose from with a myriad of fonts for a variety of purposes. Most relevant to my needs of the moment: the return address plate. I can literally press it into my envelopes! There's a circular one that could make an interesting seal. The embosser is sold separately from the plates, but will come in under $60 for both! Not sure if that will go with our day, but still a neat texture for any invitation.

August 12, 2008

OPI's Indian Collection for your nails!

OPI came out with a Spring/Summer 2008 Collection called "India" with colors like a soft bronze called "Charmed by a Snake" or a deep blue named "Yoga-ta Get This Blue". I am not sure if the marketing peeps knew that the Taj is a mausoleum, not a church, but either way, "You Gotta Get Me to the Taj on Time" is my favorite. The Fall/Winter 2008 Collection is inspired by the French with deep burgandies and purples. Click on the title or the picture to check out the collection yourself.

Another fun beauty fact of the day: I was reading an old issue of Allure magazine and came across a beauty find for those Bollywood actresses in training (and Indian Brides!). Mehron Slim-Pro Pencils are among the darkest black kohl one can find in a pencil form. You will find it alongside white face paint and pencils in other fun colors since it was originally intended to be clown make-up. Go figure.

August 11, 2008

Freezer Paper Stencils Part II

Here are a few pictures from my afternoon of craftiness. I am still a beginner, so thinking in negative space is new for me. I started with something simple: a flower. Then I turned it into a "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" design to put on a tote bag that I will use on my wedding day. Groom approves (he came home from work while I was finishing up). The canvas fabric of the tote was a little tricky with the fabric paint in that it bled a bit, but I'll either freeze or but something in the paint to make it thicker to use next time.
Here's how you can have an afternoon of craftiness yourself!
1. Draw a design (or trace something you like)
2. Cut out the parts you want to be painted using an exacto knife
3. With your iron on to the highest setting, iron the stencil to your fabric of choice
4. Paint
5. Wait for it to dry, then peel off the stencil
6. Iron to set the paint

August 8, 2008


Apologies for slacking on my posts! My interview with a very well known non profit went very well. Let's hope they liked me as much as I liked them.

Groom and assorted family members and I went to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children in Aurora, IL for two hours. Their major partner is Cargill so they have another location in Minnesota. Along with a whole host of others, we packed enough food to feed 32 children for ONE YEAR. Groom stocked the big tubs that the teams used to pack the individual bags. I helped by putting labels on each bag before they were filled. It was a very rewarding experience to physically measure out soy, rice, chicken & dried vegetables then seal and pack into boxes and know that it will go to aid other mission agencies feed children around the world. We plan on going back and becoming more involved with the organization as our schedules and lives permit.

Guest Seating Display

I plan on using foam board from Office Depot and a single mast easel to display the table arrangements for guests to view. I will also need ribbon and card stock to back the lists. The lists will be in alphabetical order with table number listed across from each guest's name...much like the table of contents of a book. We have 300+ names to post so I may make two boards (in addition to a mini binder organized both by guest and by table for the venue manager). We'll also have table numbers at each table to connect the chart to the table and possibly individual place cards at each seat to indicate meal preference. I really want to put little wooden chicken or cows on a stick at each setting, but I think Groom would frown upon this. :)

I'm still working on the fabric painting. I will get that up next week.

July 28, 2008

Craftiness Freezer Paper Stencils Part 1

I spent a week in the woods with very limited access to technology...I had a cell phone only to talk to Groom and to check messages for interviews...speaking of which I have one!!!!

My favorite craft project of the week involved a surprisingly easy method and result in totally adorable t-shirts. Before you begin you need:

1. Freezer Paper (important to be waxy on ONE side only)

2. Exacto blades

3. Pencil to free hand or trace design

4. Cutting Mat

5. Clean paint brushes

6. Fabric paint Dharma Trading Co has starter kits to get you going

7. A T shirt, onsie, or any other fabric to paint

8. An iron

9. Piece of paper-newsprint, construction, whatever you have handy

I'll give you some time to gather the the meantime I'll work up a sample with some pictures and show you what I'm working on. Check back in a few days.

July 19, 2008

This week I'm out... (July 19-26)

I'll be counseling High School students at Camp Emmaus for the week. The theme of the week is "Go Green" so maybe I'll come back with some eco-bride happy ideas.

July 18, 2008

Floor Seating?

UK based Shenai Weddings has a neat idea for a very Indian themed set up. Why not put guests on the floor? They do it India, why not here? This idea includes floor pillows that your guests will thank you for. Very colorful and a neat way to incorporate the lavish Moghul reclining style of relaxing. I don't think this will work for my crowd, but maybe for those 'young people' or even kids tables. If you need to set up tables on the dance floor, this is an easy way set up to tear down to make room for the music. Alternatively, this would also be a good use of pillows for a mendhi or engagement party. Again, assuming your guests can get up just as easily as they sat down on these colorful cushions :)

To set this up, get lots of floor pillows, small tables and TONS of fabric. You could also use old sari's. You know, the one's that your mom insists someone will get use out of someday....well my mom says this all the time. Maybe you can borrow her's.

Ushers for Hire

My friends are an endless source of support AND laughs. Check out Nick's ushering antics.

Wedding Ushers for Hire from nickschmidt on Vimeo.

July 16, 2008

FOCCUS follow up

While this isn't so wedding planning-y, it is an important if not the whole reason one should get married. As it turns out Groom and I are in great shape for getting married according to the FOCCUS inventory and the Deacon at the Catholic Church. While we might not agree, we're compatible on big and small stuff- lifestyle, children, religion, finances, intimacy, career. We're very aware of how we resolve issues that arise between us, accept the other person won't change by walking down an aisle and know one another extremely well. We talked about going to Church and got 'the' lecture from Deacon. I informed him that I generally don't understand what happens and end up asking Groom 1001 questions about the service and the symbolism. To alleviate that issue, Deacon gave me a book called The Catholic Source Book. It's fantastic, easy to read and breaks down the prayers, saints, symbolism, & liturgy.

July 15, 2008

Desi Girl Articles

South Asian Brides are combining their Eastern roots with their Western heritage (side note, East and West are SOOO Christopher Columbus, can we find something new please?). I digress.

Nirali and Sapna have a lot to say about fashion, culture, career and beauty. Nirali has some wonderful articles on beauty tips for the Desi (Indian) bride. The Sapna article talks about South Asian Brides combining elements from both sides of the globe and mixing things in from pretty much anywhere she darn well pleases to plan a day to remember.

I struggle with the excess of the wedding industry and the simplicity of just saying "I and forever". I am hoping to find that balance as we plan our big day. Groom and I are headed to find out the results of our FOCCUS inventory tonight. Will let you know how that goes tomorrow!

FREE Templates

Click on the title link to find a list of downloadable templates by Minneapolis based Russell & Hazel. They make a FABULOUS wedding binder (retails for $75) and you can download the lists for FREE. They've thought of every list you haven't even thought of making yet. How fun is that?

July 14, 2008


Indian food is not always about extremes, but to the untrained tounge, it can taste that way. While we won't be including Indian food as a way to express our style, we might include Indian Desserts (don't worry, we're still going to have cake, more on that later). Tahoora will box and ship them to you to share with your guests. The Motichur (Mo-ti-churr) Ladoos are my favorite. They're sugary sweet, made from a gram flour and will definitely match the colors we've chosen for our wedding. There are assorted sweet varieties available and would make a nice touch to a dessert table. I am hoping to find a baker who can incorporate these sweets into the design of my cake. Not IN the cake, just part of place of those flowers that separate the tiers, most likely.

Beauty Find for the Big Day

San Francisco's Benefit Cosmetics is my favorite make up company right now. The Erase Paste No 3 in "Deep" is perfect for camouflaging blemishes and those I-stayed-up-all-night-finishing-DIY-decoration-projects under eye circles. Just remember to warm it up and apply to your face with a light touch. Take a seat at any Benefit Counter and ask the make up artist to show you how. While you're there, ask about the Simply Gorgeous Foundation...don't forget the brush. What I like most about their product line is that it doesn't look like it's someone else's skin color on my face.

July 9, 2008

Miss Sri Lanka for inspiration!

Miss Sri Lanka 2008 Compeition & Saree Dreams gives me great inspiration. What if I use this strapless top from Eden Bridal with red sari draped the way these ladies did in the competition? It will echo the straplessness of my dress AND still be Indian. I would have them wear the pleats in the center (my gown splits in the center) and then have the fabric drape over their left shoulder as pictured. There was a dress I saw in Chadwick's that was very similar to that look. You don't have to worry about a sari not fitting so we can start shopping!!! I realize the fashion police might have to say otherwise, but it's my day and I'm the one in the big white (ivory) dress!

Stamps for invitations

I want to make my own invitations. The pocket fold with four or five inserts is what I am leaning towards. My Groom is going to make the maps (see below) and I want to make the rest on my computer. I will be putting them together with the help of my family assembly line style. Click on the pictures to access the stores.

How is baking an Eclectic Bride topic?

It's when Groom has a birthday, that the future Eclectic WIFE has to shine, right? I used a recipe from the Cake mix Doctor and it was a hit. I baked a mint chocolate chunk ice cream cake that wasn't frozen! You're curious, I know. You can find a copy of the book for under $5. It's worth it. I am making a chocolate pistachio cake for my dad's birthday tomorrow and another birthday cake for Groom's birthday party. The one pictured left is the hummingbird cake (spice cake with cream cheese frosting). (Yep, both my man and my dad's birthdays are in the same week)

July 8, 2008

How to Wear A Sari

Here's a pictoral on how to wear a sari along with a link to the whole article which includes tips for how to pick a sari that's right for you.

More Bridesmaid Dress Ideas

The more I think about it, the more I'd like to see sarees on the bridesmaids. They can wear them to future family functions or turn them into a host of other things since it is really just like giving someone 6 yards of fabric...very pretty fabric.

July 7, 2008

Guest Book Alternatives

Have each guest sign a cork or write a wish in one word for your marriage. Make Cork Trivets out of a wooden picture frame (round or square), Cardboard and corks. If you must include power tools to entice your groom to get crafty, try MarJenning's method.
Either way, you'll have a functional, eco-friendly keepsake from your wedding.

If you and your beau are budding gardeners, have everyone do the same on a rock and include along a path in your garden.


To personalize the couple, choose one that looks like you with interchangeable brides and grooms! You can find them at Ice Standard for under $20 each. I'm not positive if the Indian bride will work with the Dancing Caucasian Groom without looking a bit awkward. There's also an Indian bride in a white sari which is cute but not for me since I'm wearing a big white dress!


From l-r
JC Penny
David's Bridal
Eden Bridesmaids

Each of these dresses has some element that reminds me of my gown. They are all under $200 and should flatter each body type in the bridal party.

July 3, 2008

Dress Detail

Here's what my dress detail looks like. Soon I'll post choices for bridesmaids dresses.

June 10, 2008


New favorite for wedding mapping is Wedding Mapper!!! You can set your ceremony & reception venues as well as points of interest for your guests to explore. There's also a DIY feature for printing to include them in your invitations. This is just what I was looking for to create a map for the day. YAY!

June 5, 2008

So Far

I will organize all these thoughts in a much more sensical manner over the coming weeks...however just get you started:

Here's the order I'm approaching this event:

1. Discuss and set a budget together...then do what you need to do to stick to it! is useful in the determining the traditional breakdown of a wedding. If you're profecient with a spreadsheet software, it will work just as well. If you two haven't talked about finances already, this would be a wonderful time to explore your relationship with money and expectations for the future.

2. Think about how many guests to invite. Make sure you're using the same glossary of terms.

For example: immediate family means 100 people (my parents are each one of six children) to me and it means 5 people to my fiance.

3. Think of the big picture.

Black Tie at the country club or a casual beach or forest preserve wedding? I found it helpful to write down 3-6 words indicating what I wanted our guests to feel/think/see when they walked in the door. Then I asked him to do the same.

4. Solicit specific information from the groom.

My Groom tends to get overwhelmed by the details. I asked him to pick one or two elements that he cared most about: the reception venue and menu. Based on his input about what type of food & cake shape/designs he likes, I can build the rest of the event.

5. Now, with 300 people in attendance, I am NOT trying to spend his money.

I'm always looking for ways to cut back without sacrifcing style. Visit websites through your airlines, credit cards, etc to make purchases to either earn cash back (Chase Leisure Rewards, AmEx, Discover, just to name a few) or miles (American Airlines & United).

June 4, 2008

The Planning Begins

We want the wedding to be formal, classic, fun, thoughtful, and not stuffy. It is important to both of us to celebrate our cultural differences while finding a way to incorporate details to honor our new family. My challenge has been balancing elements that echo (or sometimes scream) the make up of our families.
e·clec·tic [ i kléktik ] adjective


1. varied: made up of parts from various sources
an eclectic collection of paintings

2. choosing from various sources: choosing what is best or preferred from a variety of sources or styles
an eclectic taste in music

[Late 17th century. < Greek eklektikos "picking out, selecting" < eklegein "pick out" < legein "choose"]

e·clec·tic noun
e·clec·ti·cal·ly adverb

Definition courtesy of MSN