Invitations from The American Wedding

The American wedding Apparently this week is starting out as wedding week on the blog. I have no idea why. But let's talk about invitations for a moment. Specifically, invitations from the American Wedding.

If you've planned a wedding or are in the process, you probably share the love hate relationship that I have with invitations. I love looking for invitations because it was so much fun looking at all of the pretty things. But I hated it because there's just too much out there. Too many fonts. Too many styles. Too many things. All of the things. I swear I almost thought Mr. T and I were going to break up over invitations.

And I firmly believe that one of the main reasons I had such a hard time is because invitations just seemed a little too formal or traditional bride or something to me.I almost wanted to just make a Facebook invite and call it a day. I would like pieces of one invitation and pieces of another. The invitations just seemed to be too fancy and traditional or too out there (or just cheap looking). I'm totally happy with what we ultimately chose, but like I said - it was overwhelming.

Anyway, I was approached by a little place called The American Wedding on Twitter and I am pretty impressed with what they have going on over there. I'm a little sad I didn't find them when I was actually getting married (maybe I should add that to the do over list).

A few of the samples that I fell in love with

They sent me some samples and in the samples alone I found eight invitations that I would have loved to have if I was planning my wedding. And that's just in the samples. There's plenty more on the website. There are so many fun designs, colors, and fonts. And I found they have a pretty good variety. If you're an off beat bride or more traditional, you'll likely find something.

And, if you're not looking for invites, they also have a lot of other things as well. They have save the dates, wedding related party invites, all kinds of wedding accessories, and a ton more. Plus, and not that I'm trying to sound like a cheapskate, but I feel like all of their items are decently priced (without sacrificing on quality). So, if you're planning a wedding, you should definitely give them a look.

And, if my glowing review of all of the awesome things doesn't convince ya, how about a little special offer? Like, say 40% Off Wedding Invitations and Save the Dates. Because the're totally offering all of my readers just that. Just use promo Code CV7340.

So there you have it. Frustrated with wedding invites or just looking for some wedding stationery stuff. Go check out the American Wedding.

Disclaimer: I was approached by The American Wedding on Twitter. I was not paid or compensated in anyway for this endorsement. All opinions are solely my own.

Why David's Bridal Isn't As Bad As I Thought

Why David's Bridal Isn't As Bad As I Thought

I wasn't against David's Bridal for any particular reason. But I'm plus-size and I've heard a few horror stories that made me believe David's Bridal isn't always so nice to plus-size gals. But after one crazy experience with another bridal shop, I realized maybe DB isn't as bad as I thought.

Lace & Burlap Mason Jar Candle Holders

Lace & Burlap Mason Jar Candle Holders

Our wedding venue was a bed and breakfast in the country. Which means lighting and plugs were limited. So I got a little crafty and made a ton of really pretty candle holders to help with lighting and totally set the mood for a beautiful and romantical evening.

How to Make Your Own Wedding Favor Bags

How to Make Your Own Wedding Favor Bags

I couldn't find any wedding favor bags that I liked so I made my own with a stamp and a cloth bag. So easy. And so cute. This was one of my favorite DIY projects from the wedding. I promise I wont say that every time.

Jared is Wrong, It's OK to Pick Out Your Engagement Ring

The ringChristmas time is upon us friends. And that means it's time for all the jewelry commercials in the world to roll out. I feel like I’ve already seen 994 of them and I've noticed that a lot of them center on love and engagements. Al of these elaborate proposals and schemes to pick out the ring. But that whole thing went way different for Mr. T and me. (He didn't go to Jared and when I ask him that he just laughs at me) After we decided to get married, he really wanted to have a real proposal and make it a surprise. That meant it was time for the ring. I guess we both just kind of figured he should pick it out. I honestly thought he wanted to and I didn't want to take that moment away from him. But I really had no idea what I wanted. I only knew I didn’t want a diamond. So we thought it was a good idea for me to pick out a few styles of rings to give him an idea of what I liked. But that just made things more confusing. Then we decided maybe we should pick a few out together and he could buy one, but I wouldn't know which one until he proposed. But that became complicated too. In the end, we picked out one together and he bought it with me there. And looking back on it, i wouldn't have had it any other way. Here are five reasons it's OK to pick out your engagement ring (or do it together).

1. So much other pressure for the dude

Seriously. Can we give the gentlemen a break when it comes to this stuff? Not only do they have to think of some extravagant, romantic, sweet, adorable, proposal, but they also have to find the perfect ring. Yes, getting engaged is a huge deal so there should be some effort put into it. But it's also an incredibly nerve wracking experience. Even though Mr. T and I had already decided to get married, he was still nervous about the proposal. So, maybe helping pick out the ring can help to take a little of the pressure out.

2. It's still romantic and magical

I know I'm not the gal who dreamed about her proposal her entire life, but I do still enjoy romance and love. And, honestly, I don't think picking out the ring took away from any of that. There are so many other cute moments you can have with your proposal. Some that even come from picking out the ring together. My ring actually came one day while I was at Mr. T's so then it was kind of a game as to when I was going to get it. He immediately went into planning mode. Involved his friends and people we know. The proposal was magical and a total surprise. And it was adorable that he couldn't wait to give it to me. Trust me, there's so much that's magical about a proposal. Picking out the ring is just one thing.

3. It doesn’t really matter. I mean, not really.

What I mean is, there are so many other things that matter more than if you picked the ring out together or not. You have your whole life together and will have many other firsts together.

4. It doesn't say anything about your relationship if you want to pick it out or if your man needs a little assistance.

I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in the idea that if a guy can't pick out our engagement ring then he must not be right for us. Wrong! Seriously, you could not be more wrong. There are 994,000 rings to choose from. Cuts, colors, clarity. I don't even know anything about all of this stuff. You go to one store and they have this and another store has that. You could spend 994,000 days just shopping for it. So to say that a man isn't really for you because he can't pick THE one out of those 994,000 is a little silly.

5. This is real life, not a fairytale.

If my life were like the movies, there are many things that would be different. Like, how do people afford those flats in DUMBO while working as a waiter? And how do you get all the way to the lower east side from Brooklyn in 10 minutes in a cab. How did you even find a cab to take you from Brooklyn to Manhattan? Love is beautiful and magical and wonderful, but it's not a fairytale.

At the end of the day, the proposal is important, it really is. And I am not trying to take away from that. But I think sometimes we get a little too caught up in the commercialism of it all and forget about the reasons why it's important. Honestly, I found that when we were trying to do everything according to some list of appropriate etiquette that it wasn't really any fun. It was all stressful and crazy. When we just gave in and did things our way it took some of the pressure off.

6 Reasons Why I'm Keeping My Last Name

6 Reasons Why I'm Keeping My Last Name

One question that I've been asked a few times is if I'm taking his last name. The answer? No, I'm not taking his last name. I'm keeping my own name. Here's why.

Four Reasons Having a Great Wedding Photographer is Important

In my post about the wedding, I shared some of my favorite pics from the wedding. We literally received over 1,000 of photos from our photographer and I loved so many of them. I think I posted 300 or so on Facebook. I didn’t just love them because they were pictures of such a glorious and special day, but also because the pictures were amazing. Our photographer seriously did a great job. Everyone said to make sure you were picky about the photographer for your wedding and now I totally get it. Here's why having a great wedding photographer is really important.

1. You'll want the best moments captured beautifully

I will be honest here, you are going to miss a ton at your wedding. That sounds sadder than it really is. You’re nervous and excited. People are asking you a million things. You’re worrying about the caterer, the bar, and every little detail that you want to control. And everything happens so fast. I believe I walked down the aisle and said vows to Mr. T, but honestly I don't remember everything 100%. So you’ll want a good photographer to capture those moments in a beautiful way so you’ll be reminded of how you felt at that very moment.

 

2. You don’t want to feel like you’re on display

I’ve been to weddings where the photographer is all up in your business. It's hard to have a good time when you're constantly aware that someone is snapping pics. It's also hard to get those really cute candid shots. I seriously didn't notice our photographer at all. There were times I wondered where he was and he was standing right next to me.

3. You want someone who knows what he or she is doing

Our photographer knew how to take pictures of a wedding. He knew where to go on the grounds for shots and how to direct us (and our wedding party and families) on what to do to make great shots. I loved that because we didn’t have to spend 20 minutes getting organized and another 30 actually taking the shots. With so many things already crammed into such a short time and so many things you’ll want pictures of, you want to be able to maximize your time. You also don’t want to have to give your photographer a whole bunch of direction. There’s just not enough time for all of that.

4. You want someone who notices the little details

The people at your wedding are obviously important, but so are all the little details that make your day. The flowers, decorations, cake, food, alcohol, getting ready, the venue. You put so much work into everything. Those are all things that will help you remember everything about the day. And you’ll want to see everything and everyone all together. Our wedding was all about DIY and so much of it was done in pieces so seeing it all together was so amazing. Our photographer also captured so many little details and so many unique moments. I cannot even begin to describe how special it all is (and I don’t really use the word special all that often).

Now, keep in mind that I am saying you good photographer. I am not saying you need an expensive one. Do not (and I repeat do not) automatically eliminate someone because of their price. Be sure to look at their work and set up a meeting so you can see their work in its entirety. Then choose based on what’s the most impressive to you.

Also choose based on who can capture what’s important to you. One thing that was important To Mr. T and me was that we have pictures that weren’t boring and monotonous. We chose our photographer for the way he captured things. His pictures are playful and unique and that was important to us.

All of our pictures are by Kevin Lush. And I hope that these all really capture all of the beautiful photos we have. It was really hard to choose a few. I wish I could share them all.

I'm Back as a Mrs. (with a few wedding tips for brides)

So Mr. T and I are officially married. I'm not going to lie, it's still all sinking in and I can't believe it's over. We planned our wedding for over a year and now it's done. Just like that. And things are slowly getting back to normal around here. The day was  pretty darn amazing though. And I know everyone says that, but it truly was. The weather was beautiful though a bit hot. I felt so incredibly loved and not just because it was our wedding day, but because I truly felt we were surrounded by so much incredible love and support from our friends and family. We are truly blessed in life.

I am actually really glad that we had a wedding. I didn't really want one at first (I've mentioned that before). But, honestly, I'm so happy we had one. I truly am. Weddings are actually kind of awesome. I loved having that day with him and sharing it with everyone we care about. And I am glad that we will have so many amazing memories from the whole weekend for the rest of our lives.

And, of course, I learned a whole lot of stuff about planning and being a bride. So here are few wedding tips for brides to help you while you're planning (and enjoying) the big day.

Order extra envelopes.

Seriously, you'll need them. Even if you think you won't, you will. And you can always use extra envelopes in life.

Make sure your wedding fits who you are as a couple.

Mr. T and I aren't a very stuffy couple. We used funny wording on our RSVP cards and had pulled pork for our dinner. We also added personal touches with our signage and programs to add a little fun and humor. Do whatever you can to make sure people can tell it's your wedding.

Be crafty and be willing to improvise.

We bought all this card stock and then found out it wouldn't work because the ink smeared. Instead of spending $994 on boring ass card stock, I got crafty and used paper we had purchased for other things. It actually turned out way better than the original plan.

Don't get too caught up in having a unique wedding.

There will be at least one person at your wedding that's seen the things you've done. There will also be people who have never seen the things you've done. But, at the end of the day, none of that really matters as long as it's what you want and people are having a good time.

Save money on places that don't matter as much so you can splurge on those that do.

We cut costs on things like signs, programs, etc. so we could splurge on other things. And, honestly, I loved having the opportunity to use my creativity to create so many amazing things for our wedding (I had help from lots of people too). Now that I look back on it, I think there were other places we could have saved.

Be kind and grateful.

Weddings are definitely stressful, but try not to take it out on everyone around you. I'm not sure how good I was at this because there were times that I wanted to pull my hair out. But, really, try to keep it in check as much as you can.

Double, triple, quadruple check your counts and details.

We almost had a minor fiasco when we realized we had given the wrong count to the caterer. We were only off by one so it worked out fine, but could have been worse. And speaking of counts, be sure to include yourself and your groom in the count.

There will be hiccups, but you'll probably be the only one who notices (and the only one who thinks it matters).

No matter how much you plan things will go wrong. We were short napkins. One of our linens was the wrong color. Some of the food was wrong. The sound system had issues. I wasn't even sure if one of my bridesmaids would even make it to the ceremony (she was caught in all the craziness at the Chicago airport). But, at the end of the day, everything turned out just fine and I don't think anyone even noticed.

Take as much of it in as you can.

It's so cliché, but time goes FAST. One moment I was nervous about our first look, then suddenly it was the reception and we were cutting the cake. I actually had a moment where I forgot about our first dance because everything was happening so fast. I had to seriously stop and remind myself to take in all of the moments so I wouldn't forget or miss a thing.

Have fun.

Seriously. Have. Fun. Don't get too caught up in all the perfection of everything that you don't enjoy yourself. Just focus on how you feel and enjoy yourself. In the beginning I was worried about the bar, the music, the food, my lipstick, and probably a few other things. But Mr. T (and others) reminded me that people were having fun so all was good. Everyone was totally right. I let loose and had a blast. At the end of the night I didn't even remember all those things because I was too busy having a blast.

I really wish I could give you all a play by play of the whole day. But, instead, I will give you a few shots that I love and that really capture how amazing and beautiful the day was. Obviously I can't include everything in this post so be on the lookout for more posts on decor, photography, and so on in the coming weeks. The wedding is totally taking over the blog! All photos by Kevin Lush.

Signing Off for Two Weeks: I'll Be Back As A Mrs.

Bride + GroomHoly s#@t you guys. The wedding is like 2 weeks away. I can't even. Mr. T and I are leaving for the Midwest today and then we'll work on all the finishing touches (with the help of our lovely family and friends).

I seriously can't believe it.

So, in an attempt to remain sane, I am signing off for a couple of weeks. I want to make sure I am present and taking every moment of all of this in. And, let's all be honest, y'all don't want to read two weeks of posts that start with OMG <insert amount of days left here> I can't believe it! or some other kind of gibberish because my brain can only function to think about the wedding (that would make for an awesome recipe or DIY). 

I will be back in a couple of weeks (we are honeymooning in January). With all kinds of new posts (and of course a post and some pictures about the wedding).

Until then, check out some of my favorite (and most popular posts) about weddings:

Tips for Picking Bridesmaids (And Saving Your Sanity)

Things I Will Not Do Before My Wedding: Crash Diet

Tips for Buying a Wedding Dress

Ban Weddings. Wait. What?

How to Go From Mustache Stirrers to Marriage

 

And if you have any last minute advice about being a bride or a Mrs., feel free to lay it on me.

One More Month to Go

dsc_08872I'd like to interrupt my usual posts of advice, DIY, recipes, and what have you because there is officially only one more month until I marry Mr. T. Seriously, you guys. One. More. Month. I don't often use that whole one word and then a period thing because it's kind of dumb, but I feel it's excusable here.

I should probably warn you that this post is going to be flooded with emotional sappiness. And a whole lot of babbling. I know technically nothing between Mr. T and me will change, but at the same time everything is changing. (That makes sense, right?)

In one month, my days of being a single lady will officially be over. That sounds weird and I don't even know if I'm supposed to say it like that, but it's true. I will be married. I will be someone's wife. Someone will be my husband. I'll be a Mrs. (though I'm not changing my last name and will talk about that later). But still, a wife and a Mrs. none the less.

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I'm not going to lie, the past few months have been emotional and they've made me reflect so much on my life and my time as a single lady. And now that there's just one month left I'm feeling it even more. Coincidentally my three year anniversary with New York was also this month. Seriously, so much reflection happening over here.

I know I've mentioned it before, but I was never really sure if I would get married. I think I always saw myself in a long term relationship of some sort, but there was a part of me that just didn't get the whole marriage thing. I mean, how do you know? I think a part of me also just didn't know if I would ever meet a guy who was worth it. And, yeah, I had my times when I didn't think I was worth it.

But, man, if I could go back and talk to my single self. There's so many things I would say. There's so much I would want that gal to know. I would want her to know that she'll meet an amazing guy someday. Someone who wants the things she does and sees her the way she's meant to be seen. That person will make an effort to be with her. They won't keep her guessing or make her feel less than she's worth. They'll be on her side. You'll be a team. And, as corny as it is, genuine love is so worth waiting for. In some weird way it makes all the mistakes and poor dating decisions worth it (not that I encourage those decisions. They’re really dumb).

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I still remember the first time Mr. T messaged me. He found me by searching beer on OkCupid. Our first date was at a dive bar. He was wearing a blue sweater. We drank too many beers and scotch (which I technically didn't finish because I was too hungry and told him it would make me throw up). Our fourth date was football, magic, and karaoke. We said I love you at 2am while drunk at a bar. We decided to get married while talking about mustache stirrers.

Our relationship didn't begin in a boring conventional way and it didn't grow in a traditional way either. I love that about him. I love that about us. There are so many things that I love about him and us that I can't fit them all in this post. He's brought so much good in my life and so many new things.

And in one month, I get to marry that guy. It’s pretty exciting. A little scary, but exciting.

My hope for us is that we continue in that same nontraditional way. I hope we'll always be a team. That we take each adventure as it comes. I hope we're always able to accept and respect the other person for who they are even if we don't understand it. And when there are times that we feel like we can't that we'll try to find a way to figure it out. Actually, I hope that no matter what happens that we'll always find a way to figure it out.

I hope we continue to grow as a couple and know when it's necessary to compromise. And that we'll work on not being so stubborn to compromise. And that we'll work on our patience with each other. Is there like a class for that or something?

I hope we'll always be on each other's side.

I hope we still think it's fun to sit on  the couch and watch SyFy and drink beers 50 years from now. And that we never lose the desire to share food with each other. I also hope he'll always love to bake and always hates pickles so I can eat them all.

I hope we never do anything that makes either of us want to sue the other one on People's Court. Unless of course we just want to do it for the money and the fame of being on People's Court.

Oh and good lord I hope that man will always be able to make bacon.

I hope we always remember how amazing the other person is and never take that for granted. And that we'll always remember the things that are important.

I hope this isn't too much hope for two people, but we have the rest of our lives to figure that out.

One more month, you guys. One more month.

Tips for Picking Bridesmaids (And Saving Your Sanity)

Tips for Picking Bridesmaids (And Saving Your Sanity)

Picking bridesmaids isn't that easy for everyone in the world. Sometimes you have 23 close friends. Sometimes you have 3 sisters and another 7 gals that are like sisters since you've known them since 2nd grade. Or your hubby has a list of ladies he'd like you to have in your wedding party. It can get downright difficult and even a little dramatic in some cases.

Living Together Before Marriage

Mr. T and I didn't really want to live together before marriage. Wait, let me back up because that doesn’t sound how I mean it. It's not really that we didn't want to live together. I wasn't against it or anything. We had planned on talking about it at a later time, but then we got engaged last year so our original was to move in together a few months before the wedding. But, after traveling together so much and practically living together over the summer, we decided to move the date up and started shacking up together last fall. And, now, I can honestly say that I'm glad that we decided to move in together a year before our wedding. I'm not sure if I would consider it a test, but you definitely learn so much about each other when you're living together. We’ve worked out a lot of the kinks and are learning to work together as a team and I actually kind of wonder if some of that stuff would have freaked me out it if was after our nuptials. Not that I would have left him or that it's necessarily any easier now. It's just that it probably would have caused a whole lot more stress (and unnecessary strain on the relationship).

So anyway, I found this infographic and thought it was interesting. I know it's from 2011, but still, it's good stuff. A great portion of people think it's good to shack up before marriage. And the enthusiasm to do so has actually increased over the years (it doubled from 1995-2010).

What do you think? Is living together before marriage mandatory? A no-no? What say you?

 

Should Couples Live Together Before Marriage?