and it goes a little something like this...
dress shopping. by far one of the greatest parts of the planning process. probably because i had zero expectations. i went with my mom, my sister and my bestie, jacque. i think this is where the whole "i'm actually getting married" feeling hit me. i'm standing there, surrounded by mirrors, in the most gorgeous dress i have ever put on, a veil, and even a fake bouquet of flowers in hand. tears rushing down my face. it's a pretty awesome feeling and i hope that all girls get to feel it. i didn't end up buying my dream dress from the bridal boutique. $3800 for a dress that i am going to wear for 8 hours. no thanks. i found the exact same dress on http://www.preownedweddingdresses.com/. a bridal boutique was closing and she was selling all of her sample dresses, so i scored mine for $1000! and i'm so glad that i did. all those instances where you can talk yourself into spending the extra money, "because it's your one special day and you only do this once", can really really add up. don't get me wrong, it is your one special day, but it is one day, and let me just tell you this: i cut corners wherever i could and i still had the best day of my life.
|dress by Alvina Valenta|
lets talk centerpieces.
i fell in love with succulents when i started planning our wedding. i don't think i ever really knew what they were or could have even recognized them before. but they fit our "theme" perfectly. a outdoor, California, ranch, low-budg wedding. I had the idea of wood boxes of various rectangular shapes, low profile, stained dark, and overflowing with succulents of all different kinds. insert my mom. she helped cut all the wood planks (she's pretty handy with a chop saw) and my sister and i would nail them together. sidenote: if you've never used a nail gun, you need to. it's pretty awesome and makes you feel like a total B.A. second sidenote: please proceed with caution because you never know and i'm pretty sure no bride wants to look like that big ogre from happy gilmore with a nail through their noggin. those nail guns mean serious business.
|boxes ready to be planted|
part two of this little task was the purchasing of the succulents. we made a couple of trips downtown and bought the little pots that contain one succulent each, for about $2 per pot. Which doesn't seem like much but, when you have grandious ideas of succulents galore in your head, can really add up. I wanted each box to have 20-30 succulents, and we had about 35 boxes. one smart idea my mother had was to buy the large succulent plants, which run about $10, and then you can cut off the individual succulent flowers and stick them in the dirt, and they will start to sprout roots! it's pretty magical. which was great for the filler succulents, because the plants tend to be on the ugly duckling side. but i really was stuck on the idea of multiple species of succulents, in different color and sizes, taking up the main real estate in the boxes. now, the second smart idea that my mother had turned out to not be very smart at all. it's actually kinda funny/embarrassing to talk about. i'd say 65/35, so funny wins which is why i'm lettting you in on this little tale. a tale of two girls, a bride and a mother of the bride, who were feining for some succulents. one day, while visiting a family friend at a retirement community (i always cringe at that part) they were ask by the family friend if they wanted to see the communical garden. while paroosing the garden the crazy bride and m.o.t.b noticed that there were succulents upon succulents upon succulents growing like weeds in everyone's gardens. while some gardens seemed nicely groomed and well taken care of, some were neglected and just down right sad looking. some of the succulents were so over grown that they weren't "technically" inside anyone's garden at all! i mean, all these poor succulents: disregarded and gardenless. and here we were, two wedding obsessed lunatics, trying to plan a wedding on a budget. you see where i'm going here don't you. well, we asked our friend if she knew any gardeners that might be willing to share some of their succulent stash with us. they could even name their price, within reason of course, we could always go back downtown. our friend didn't know many people who had gardens and the ones that did, she didn't think would be willing to share. boo. so we took it upon ourselves to save those poor succulents with no gardens to call their own. We woke up one morning before the break of dawn. Dressed in black (no, i'm not kidding.) this is where the embarrassing part of this story kicks in. armed with paper bags and clippers, we set out to the retirement complex. we creeped into the parking lot, lights off. as we prepared for our mission, we noticed a movement in the garden. a slow, subtle movement. it was hard to see, our eyes squinted as we made out the figure of a man, doing yoga in the garden. abort! abort! mission aborted! dang. we're idiots. thank the Lord for our cat-like speed and reflexes. this story could have been about 126 times more embarrasing if we would have been caught. and now thinking about it, i would not have wanted the bad juju of the centerpieces at the wedding to be comprised of stolen goods. but we did end up finding a gardener who let us go into her garden as much as we wanted and cut as many succulents as we needed.
|the boxes when they were first planted|
|this is what the boxes looked like once the succulents filled in|
invitations. this was not something that i wanted to spend alot of money on. in my opinion, very few of your guests will actually keep your invitation. my mindset was that most guests will toss your invite in in the trash after its 15 minutes of fame on their refridgerator, so why waste alot of money on them? with that being said, i have the inability to just do something plain and ordinary, and just like the succulents, i had an idea stuck into my head about what i wanted. this started to become a challenge for me. i would have a certain idea about what i wanted and a certain budget that i had to adhere to. so my mission was to figure out how to accomplish the look that i wanted while staying within my budget. i scoured etsy for weeks, looking for the perfect invitation. i did the math and decided that it would be better for me to just buy the digital file and print them myself. i also decided that i wanted an RSVP postcard instead of an RSVP card with an envelope for two reasons: 1. i like postcards better, and 2. i would save money because postcard stamps are cheaper and i wouldn't have to buy a return envelope. i also decided that i wanted my invite to be black and white to save on printing. this is how my invitation costs broke down:
$35 for 350 4x6 envelopes
$30 for digital invitation file (with 2 revisions)
$180 for stamps
$30 for ribbon and doilies
I worked with Sylvia at A la Carte studio and she was awesome! She did an amazing job and I loved the way the invites turned out.
|here you can see the front and back of the invite and RSVP card|
|ready to go!|