Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wedding Wednesdays: The Venue

This may have been one of the most stressful decisions of the entire wedding. I had always dreamed of this picturesque view of a pond with a giant weeping willow tree, dinner by hanging lanterns and dancing under the stars. Obviously with a December wedding (in Virginia) in the works, this wasn't an option - unless we wanted to be ice skating on the pond and bundled in our parkas. So, no outdoor venues, which automatically cut 75 percent of the options (including Mike's dream of renting a big house on the Ocean and having a week-long wedding celebration...darn :).

My number one choice was the Woman's Club of Portsmouth. This gorgeous venue was recently renovated and would have been perfect for our vintage chic theme. Mike immediately canned the idea of Portsmouth in general, but I called for details and found out we wouldn't be able to stay past 11 p.m., which simple wouldn't do for our NYE wedding.

The Obici House in Suffolk, top
Yacht Club at Marina Shores, bottom

We considered the Yacht Club at Marina Shores, but this venue really shines with warm-weather weddings when you can enjoy the deck and water views. We talked with the event planner at the Obici House in Suffolk, but dates, the commute and rising rates within a week, left us unable to commit.

From top left, The Parlor on Granby, pretty warehouse wedding ideas, The Wells Theater and Vintage Kitchen

We decided it was really important for all of our visiting guests to see where we met and have built our lives together, which narrowed it down to Norfolk-only venues. I tinkered with the idea of the Arts District...a loft, warehouse style wedding? The Parlor on Granby wasn't able to hold our growing guest list of 150. The Texaco Building wouldn't be completed in time. Vintage Kitchen wouldn't return our phone calls. But perhaps The Wells Theater? We were good on dates, fees, it was in our beloved Norfolk ... but we might not have use of the theater because it'd be between shows and sets would be under construction.

Somehow I came across The Woman's Club of Norfolk website, which didn't help one way or another. It was hard to get in touch and schedule an appointment, but when we finally met with Mrs. Miller and walked around the house I started to foresee a wedding. That is, until we saw the reception hall. It was dingy, dirty, the floors were in bad shape and the "stage" was covered in a dark brown poop carpet (the color, not the smell) that was frayed and frankly, terrible. I said thank you and left without a second thought. Mike, on the other hand, was totally in favor. We'll re-carpet the stage, they'll clean the house, we'll rent furniture and have them de-clutter the rooms. These seemed like pretty lofty requests to me. However, as I started to show pictures of the house to family and friends (one being an interior designer), I gained some assurance it wasn't really as bad as I thought.

The reception hall of ugly.

The main house was beautiful and full of history, stunning antiques and pretty much my idea right before my eyes. Once we added decor, food and 150 (drinking) guests, you'll never notice the other stuff, they said. I prayed they were right because we signed the contract and promised myself I wouldn't question it. But I did, until the day of setup.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy Halloween (in January)

You'll be seeing a lot of these unseasonal types of posts for a little while until I get caught up from 2014. I promise to keep them short and sweet, though!

Last year for Halloween, I was able to convince Mike to dress up as a toymaker and I was a creepy wind-up doll. I originally want to be a marionette doll, but I couldn't figure out how to make the strings not annoying, so I settled with something much easier. And, we were able to accomplish both of our costumes for less than $30!

Here's what you need:
white baby doll type of dress (mine came from Target and I actually wore it to my bridal shower)
makeup: white face paint, black liquid eyeliner and red lipstick
black and white striped tights
key and wind-up box (which consisted of a wrapping paper tube, key shape cut from cardboard and a round paper mache box from the craft store, all painted gold, trimmed in gold lace and gold ribbon for the belt, which holds it on you.)
pigtails with matching ribbon

steampunk goggles
top hat
black eye makeup
tools for the apron

Of course it's not a party without all the Halloween themed food. My friends and I teamed up to make mummy dogs, spiderweb seven layer dip, skeleton cheese ball (using a jello mold), haystacks, cupcakes and more!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Toss Bouquet

My sweet friend Sarah and her handsome groom got married on October 25, 2014. I was more than thrilled do design their wedding invitations and signage, but I was so honored when she asked me to make her toss bouquet for the wedding. Her colors were coral and navy so I perused the artificial flower lanes at the craft store and found these perfect little Carnation minis for the filler.

Turns out, coral felt (the pretty, soft coral color) is really hard to come by. It's either red, dark red, or approximately 15 shades of pink. I ended up with "grapefruit" and got to work. A typical toss bouquet will come with 4 flowers and filler for $20-$25. It can match the wedding bouquet flowers perfectly (in a smaller fashion), or it can be something completely different that your lucky guest will be able to cherish for many years to come.

As for the rest of the evening, the wedding couldn't have been more splendid. The Attic at Waterman's is such a hidden gem! The venue over looks the Atlantic Ocean and is stunning as the afternoon and evening sun starts to set. The food was fantastic - and lots of it, plus the ice luge (which brought fond memories of a friend's 21st birthday) was a more-than-appropriate touch! Many congrats to my two wonderful friends!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wedding Wednesdays: The Date

This could be us...I thought as I perused Pinterest for "NYE Weddings"

Pretty much the first question you get is "have you set a date?!" At first I just wanted to enjoy the moment and the immense happiness. But reality set it, and venues book fast. We wanted to work around few things, a cousin's Spring 2015 wedding in Hilton Head, my sister's seasonal schedule, the lifestyles of 75% of our guests who would be coming in from out of town and a date that just fit us. Fall 2014 was out, because Mike prohibited any wedding dates that would conflict with college football - and it was just too soon. Spring 2015 was out because I don't particularly enjoy the Spring and my family would already be traveling to South Carolina for a wedding. Summer just gets so stinking hot (and pricey) here and Fall 2015 was too long to wait.

The night we got engaged I threw out, "What about New Year's Eve?"

And this is what Pinterest suggested for the holiday wedding

With design and themes in mind, I knew I didn't want the white, gold, glittery, black tie, type of affair for our wedding. Nor a Wintery White Wonderland. Could I still have my romantic, vintage, chic wedding, on New Year's Eve?

And the ideas for Wintery White thank you!

As we started to share the idea, we got a few raised eyebrows. "Will it really feel like a wedding...on New Year's Eve?" "New Year's 2014!? It's on a Wednesday!" "It'll be so cold!" Someone actually told me that was the worst day of the year to get married on. But, once we check with family and would-be members of the bridal party, excitement for the unique date started to grow. When I saw Mike's best friend Hayden, and his wife Melissa for the first time after the proposal (Hayden was hugging me and Melissa was jumping up and down with my ring finger in hand), Melissa told me, "You pick the date that makes you guys the happiest and the people that matter and love you will absolutely be there."

So that was that. December 31, 2014 would be our wedding date. Nine months and counting.

Of course there are all the other silly reasons I've given people:
... I wanted to be married before I turned 30 ... I don't like odd numbers and wanted to be married in an even year ... We'll always have a party for our anniversary ... There will always be fireworks on our anniversary ... It's cost effective (which it didn't really matter in the end) ... We love throwing a good party ... He'll never forget our wedding date ...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wedding Wednesdays

That's right. Every Wednesday I'm going to be posting details from the wedding from the invitations to the venue, the caterers to the shoes. I had planned on doing this while we were actually planning the wedding, but reality hit me square in the forehead and there was just no time. Plus, what fun would it be if you knew all about the wedding before it happened?!

Super touching photo of my Momma giving her welcome toast. Photo by Glass Gardens

Polaroids of the whole night? Yes please! Photo by Adrienne Grove

Today, one week into this marriage thing, I'm simply posting a few of my favorite photos of the wedding so far. And to those of you wondering, yes, it does feel different. Even though Mike and I have been together six and a half years, own a house and credit cards together, saying our vows and promising our lives together in front of our family and friends has brought us even closer to one another, in a way I didn't imagine possible. I'm looking forward to reliving all the fun of planning our big day in the next couple months...hope you do too!

Maybe one of the bigger surprises of the night ... my dad
and sister playing Auld Lang Syne at Midnight. Photo by Allison Gansel

To get more of a sneak peak, search for #newmarseve on Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Don't Worry, I'm Alive.

...And Married! Is that enough of an excuse for a four-month blogging hiatus? I promise you in the months to come of photos, how-to's, inspiration, DIYs, international fashion shows and more, you'll forgive me in no time.

The last 10 months have been an absolute blast, an adventure (as I keep calling it) that I keep reliving over and over in my head. As I'm settling into this married life and the weird feeling of not consulting my wedding book every five minutes, I did manage to jot down a few New Year's Goals that have become very important to me.

>> Keeping old traditions and make new ones
Cherish family customs (the Easter Day scavenger hunt), continue recent additions (hosting Thanksgiving) and create new ones with friends and family.

>> Plan our honeymoon
Our goal is to head to Italy this Summer, with plans to meet my bestie on some beautiful island for her 30th. When is the first planning committee meeting?

>> Keep in touch with friends in family
Birthdays, anniversaries and just simple hellos. Being miles and oceans a part isn't a reason to forget the little things in life and to make each other smile. (Did I just write a greeting card? Bam, first one done.)

>> Make house to-do list
And actually check them off! Gardening, painting, hanging artwork ... the usual suspects.

>> Be creative with friends
I have so many great creative outlets and partners that I've met in the last couple of years and I've been totally neglecting them! I can't wait to start planning and executing some new pop-ups, collaborative projects, classes and more.

Cheers to an extraordinary year!