Here Comes The Bridesmaids: Cute Ideas For Your Best Girls

The good thing about finally getting the move on with the wedding means you finally get to have some fun with your girls!
Finally, all 4 of my girls have their dresses. Audrey had to order her's late but it came in! And no, it isn't hot pink, short and ugly like in my nightmares.
Towards the end of October, I took Aly down to Houston so we could pick her dress up. She was the first of my girls that I actually got to see try the dress on. I absolutely love the color and I can see it dressing up real nicely. I played around with the idea of a rhinestone brooch when we first ordered the dresses, just to add a little something on the side. However, when Aly tried on her dress, I noticed the rack of bridal sashes. "Hmmmmmm?" I thought. I went over and grabbed one that was the closest color to the dress and made her tie it on. I absolutely love it! It adds the perfect touch, not to mention now there will be a cute bow in the back!


Stacey, my MOH, is completely done. All she needs to do is get her dress altered. She has a dark shade called 'Beyond the Sea' just because I really liked the idea of the MOH being a little different than the rest of the girls. She and I took a little day trip the other day to find her shoes. I told the girls that they can pick out their own shoes just as long as they're silver. Stacey found a really cute pair at Payless. 

We ended up going to several different stores to try and find her size but eventually just ended up ordering them online. I finally got to see her in her dress-- she pulled her hair back and put on her jewelry. These girls are going to look fantastic and I absolutely cannot wait. 

I found a couple of really cute things to do for the bridesmaids on Pinterest. I also have a really neat gift idea for them to have the night of the rehearsal dinner! But that one I will have to keep to myself until a later date. 

I really want to do this "Meet The Maids" idea. This could be a really fun way to introduce them rather than the boring way of just putting them in the program. 

You provide a picture that best fits their personality. Next, you make a little note on the side telling a little about them and how you first met. This can be sweet, silly or even both!

Next are a couple of cute ideas FROM the bridesmaids. Stacey is throwing me a bridal shower in January. I also got a bit excited and very curious when I found out my bachelorette party is going to be an entire weekend. Everyone knows of the famous 'penis cookies'. Aly and I actually saw cookie cutters for this which I thought was pretty darn funny. However, these cupcakes are really cute and a little less awkward if you are inviting anyone other than close friends.

There are also some really cute cookie ideas for just a bridal shower. I loved the idea of champagne glasses and engagement rings. 

Another cute snack item for really any occasion is this! It looks so pretty and simple! I will most likely be doing this the morning of along with a glass of champagne for the bridal suite!

I have to say, Pinterest is my latest addiction. Funny thing is, I should be working. 

Picking The Perfect Flowers

I never in a million years thought picking flowers could be so much work. There are so many little details! 
Last time I was home (as mentioned in my previous post) I got a little wedding crazy. Which I guess that makes sense being that little details add up over a month or so. 
Needless to say, I am very excited about the arrangements I chose. 

My neighbor since we've moved to Texas has been such a huge blessing, not to mention an amazing florist. Some people just have that eye for putting things together. Sandy is one of those people. You can give her the most strange and ugly looking flower and she could turn it into something beautiful. 
She picked me up from my house and we drove down to South Austin. The whole way there, we talked mostly about college life and big changes. Her oldest has just started her first year and is one of the many who has an awful roommate (been there, done that). I tried to give advice where I could but I was mostly just interested in her story. Sooner than I realized, we were at a place called Bill Doran. When we walked in, it turns out it was way bigger than I expected. They had several freezers of different flowers as well as isles and isles of ribbon, vases, and accessories. I thought I was amazed but when I looked over at Sandy, her whole persona changed and I could tell this was her heaven. She was quickly pulled out of her personal awe and transitioned right into the creative "let's get down to business" lady I know. 

She grabbed a shopping cart and went flying. I had trouble just keeping up! She whipped up and down the isles, in and out of the freezers and back again. I had visions of petals and branches flying everywhere as she would bundle flowers together to give me an idea. By the time we left the second freezer, our cart looked like a flower arrangement all on its own. Then, I saw it. There was one special freezer isle FULL of orchids. She saw my eyes light up and knew we had to go in. This was the first time I actually realized how expensive they were. $25 a stem, not a bundle, a stem! But they were just so pretty! She picked up a couple of the smaller ones and one big stem just to "play". 

We finally made our way to the last freezer which was a majority of tulips, calla lilies, and garden roses. I absolutely fell in love with their calla lilies, they were in full bloom and so gorgeous. Not to mention, more affordable than the orchids. We grabbed a couple of bundles of callas as well as several bundles of the white garden roses (which by the way, smell AMAZING). 
She spent a very reasonable price on the amount of flowers she purchased. This made me realize how much money I was saving by using a friend and a wholesale flower shop.

The entire way home, Sandy was hitting me with ideas. I was trying to picture everything she was explaining but in the end, knew that whatever she would do would be beautiful. She dropped me off at home and told me she would cut the stems and water them so that they are all in full bloom in a couple of days when we would be sitting down to figure out arrangements. 

And finally, Sunday rolled around. I was so excited to see what she could do. 
My mom and I drove over together and were both discussing what we had in mind. When we walked in, the flowers were everywhere! She pulled out 6 or 7 vases of different shapes and sizes and put them on the table. I really liked the tall skinny ones. She pulled out a Tanzania branch and talked about draping crystals over the branches so the light will catch the crystals and having that on both sides of the iron doors in the entry way. I absolutely loved this idea. 

Since I loved the idea of the Tanzania branch, she decided to play around with the small orchids and the hydrangeas as well. She tied the orchids on each branch and the placed Hydrangeas around the bottom for a final touch. I did think this was very pretty, it just didn't fit the theme I wanted to go with. 

Next we moved onto a Hydrangea bowl. She had 3 different shades of Hydrangeas; one was white, one was light blue, and one was a deep blue. She put them all into this bowl and up lighted them. This was one step closer to the center pieces I wanted but not quite there. (Please excuse the poor quality of the photos, I used my phone).

Next, she pulled out the orchids. Half way through, we realized we would need taller vases but it got the point across. She submerged the tallest orchid in water and up-lighted it. There were 3 gold candle holders and 3 small skinny vases holding the tinier orchids around it. This was a very beautiful center piece. The garden roses in the background weren't with the orchids, we just liked the smell of them!

Last but not least, we pulled out the calla lilies. They are so elegant and pretty. Sandy took the bundle of callas and wrapped a brown ribbon around the stem, then carefully placing pearl pins in the back. Before she put the calla lilies in the vase, she put a light underneath a bundle of dark blue hydrangeas. She placed 3 gold candle holders around the vase as well as 3 little vases holding one white garden rose, one white hydrangea, and one "Dr. Seuss Poof". I absolutely fell in love with this center piece. 

In this picture, it is hard to tell that is it up-lighted, but it gives you a general idea. After we decided on this center piece, she cleaned off the table and made a place setting that would look similar to what we will have at the wedding. It was perfect. 
Sandy then sat down with me and we went over numbers. I asked her how much it would cost to do calla lily bouquets thinking it would be similar to what a florist at the bridal shower told me (which her quote was $250 for bridesmaids and $350 for bridal). Sandy said it would cost $15 for bridesmaids and $25 for me! Our bouquets will be a bundle of calla lilies and white garden roses! I could not imagine spending almost $400 on a bouquet, that's almost as much as my dress! Her estimated total including all the centerpieces and flower arrangements for both the wedding and the reception would be $600-$700. Which is amazing being that a florist would charge you $1800 for a very limited amount of flowers. 

After the flowers, she pulled out a really cute sign! I am going to place it right before the seats at the wedding ceremony. It will say "Today two families become one, pick a seat not a side" 

When it comes time for you to plan your flower arrangements, don't let "professional" florists charge you an arm and a leg for stuff that really isn't as expensive as they say it is. 

Back In The Game

Oh boy. Where should I start?
Planning was put on a temporary hold because I got a new job! I am finally out of retail and I can't say I'm missing it. During my last two weeks at my previous job, my manager worked me as much as she could. Which means, I hardly had time to sleep when you combine school and my internship. Luckily, I had 5 days between my last day at Rue and my first day at my new job! So during my 5 days back home, I was on full blast wedding planning mode. I had to pick flowers, talk to the travel company, schedule a meeting with Ralph (our caterer), make the final payment for our wonderful venue, and find a trusted seamstress to have my dress altered in a couple of weeks.
The first day I was home, I just relaxed and boy did I need it. When I woke up the next morning, I drove over to the traveling company. I was wondering why I had not been contacted since the last time I talked to them back in August. She reassured me that the flight itinerary would not be available until 3 months before our desired date so that she would contact me closer to the honeymoon dates, which we've been approved of. Next, Sandy (our friend who is doing the flowers) picked me up and we drove to South Austin and went to Bill Doran wholesale flower shop. I could tell this was Sandy's heaven. This place was huge! They had every size and shape of vases, every color and type of flower (real and fake), and all sorts of decorations! Sandy headed straight to the walk in coolers FILLED with flowers. It was so much fun to watch her book it down the isles of flowers while yanking, pulling, and bundling flowers together. Blue white and light blue hydrangeas, orchids big and small, tulips, white garden roses, calla lilies, sticks, grass, everything! Our shopping cart looked like a bouquet of flowers. I am so grateful for her! I learned more about flowers than I ever thought. Did you know hydrangeas are all originally white but the soil determines their color? That is why blue hydrangeas are a little more expensive, it's because they have to use richer soil! The whole way home she was throwing ideas at me for centerpieces. We then set up a time to meet on Sunday in order to pick our favorite arrangement and settle on a budget and a price.
Next, I drove down to the Villas and walked the property again. The pavilion is finished! It was nice to see everything again since I haven't seen it since all of the progress. Amanda, my day of the wedding coordinator, walked us through everything and helped us decide where we can put everything. She gave me ideas for the set up of the reception and ways to decorate the entrance to make guests feel at home. But I'll save those ideas for later. We sat down and put the package together and talked about my choice of vendors. Everything looks good and will run smoothly. So then I made my final payment! It feels so good to have that out of the way. I then got home and crashed.
The next morning I took lunch over to my mom and she showed me around the new campus. After lunch, I drove to 3 different alterations companies in or around Georgetown. One lady at KAD Bridal Alterations told me that my dress would only take 2 weeks to alter so I should bring it in right before the wedding. That would be a no. I do not want to have any concerns on if my altered dress will fit and then run out of time if it doesn't. The next lady I met told me she preferred not to do wedding gowns because she has had trouble with rude brides in the past. I quickly moved on from this location. Finally, someone I could count on. Carol at Bridal Arena has had 30+ years of alteration experience and thrives on perfection. Talking to her immediately put me at ease. She walked me through what alterations would need to be done, how much they would cost and gave me dates for the first alteration, the second alteration, and then the fittings leading up to the wedding. By the time I got home, my dad and I had to leave to meet up with my mom to go to my brother's homecoming basketball game. He did so well! He scored almost half of the points made in the game and he was definitely Mr. Rebound shot! I am really glad he is playing a sport that I can get in to.
Saturday morning, my mom and I headed down to the mall. We were looking at places to register. JCPenny doesn't register in stores anymore but only online. I was a little bummed by this but I am really happy with how things turned out. We ended up going to Macy's but there was already a couple there. So we decided to have my mom come to Houston the following weekend to register with me. When I got back, my bridesmaid Audrey and I met up and went to see Breaking Dawn Part 2. Such a good movie!! But let's not get off track here.
And now to my last day. I met up with Sandy and we played with flowers and arrangements. I'll save that for the next post.

How To Make Your Own Wedding Invitations- Step By Step

Alright, here it goes!
I tried to take pictures to go through all of the steps. It was easy to do but very tedious so if you plan on going this route, have patience.

My friend Jessica helped me with all of this so an extra set of hands makes a world of difference. Even with her help, we worked on 55 invitations for several hours.

I will review previous DIY posts so that all you new readers can catch up!
I got my FREE templates from

Two invitations fit on one 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of vellum paper-- which I was able to print the templates at Office Depot for $.59 per sheet (per 2 invitations). If you want to print in black and white, it is only $.10 per sheet.

To start out, Jessica and I cleaned off the table and made sure we had plenty of space. You will need your printed sheets, cardstock (if you want a thicker/harder background), ribbon, a hole puncher, scissors and a paper cutter (a ruler and X-acto knife will work fine but will take longer).

After you have all of your supplies, start cutting. Make sure you practice with a spare sheet first so that you can measure where you need to cut. You wouldn't want to mess up and have to run back to the store for more supplies. Plus, you want to make sure your text sheet fits on your background sheet.

After you have cut the text sheet out, line it up to make sure it is the right size for the bottom sheet.

Once your sheets are lined up the way you want them, grab your hole punch!
Figure out where you want your bow and the distance between the two holes will determine the thickness.
I punched holes about an inch apart in the top middle of the sheet, right above the initial.

Be sure to empty your hole punch. It stacks up fast and creates complications like this! You wouldn't want it to get jammed or stuck on your invitations.

Now it is time to tie the bow! I have included a youtube video link so that you can have video instructions (to make that a bit easier on you). If you don't prefer to watch the video, I will provide written instructions as well.

Pull the ribbon through one hole. The other side of the ribbon will go through the other hole so that the ribbon is across the front of the invitation (both ends will be poking out of the back).

After the above steps are complete. Grab one end of the ribbon and pull it through the opposite side and towards the front then do the same thing with the other end.

Next, we added a small touch, pearl stickers!

Then we finished! I am really happy with how they turned out!!
Hope this helped everyone else.

Purchasing Our Unity Candle

When it starts to get closer to your day, all of the little things for your big day start presenting themselves.

Last week, John and I sat at our computer to re-create our budget. Things have changed a lot since last April when we got engaged. We have saved a lot of money here and there by doing things our way and having friends and family so willing to pitch in. One of the things we forgot to budget for back then was our unity candle.

We didn't really know what the average cost of one was so we pulled up several different tabs on the computer to get an idea. Typically, the range anywhere from $50-$200. This seemed a bit high for a candle. We did more searching and found that Hobby Lobby sells unity candles that range from $20-$40. This seemed a bit more reasonable, although none of them really popped for me and John.

We went online to Amazon and eBay to look for unity candles. A lot of people have a misconception about eBay. Yes, people do use it to sell their used things but there are also sellers around the world that use eBay as a business. We got lucky and found a business that sold unity candles. They had a whole page of different styles and types, even an option to leave a message in case you had any special requests.

We found one that we both really liked and it was only $20 WITH SHIPPING.
I am very pleased with the way it looks. I took a picture to share with you, however I did leave out the two skinny candles that came with it because they are simple and everyone knows what they look like.

Supplies For DIY Wedding Invitations

After finalizing our decision to make and print our own wedding invitations, John and I decided to head over to Hobby Lobby just to LOOK at paper. Well, looking turned into purchasing. That seems to be the case when going to Hobby Lobby.

I am really glad John came with me. He seemed glad to do so which made it even more fun.

Once we made it to the 'scrapbooking' isle, we got down and dirty with the details. For those of you who have never been to Hobby Lobby (I find that hard to believe) there are at least 4 long isles of every type of paper you can think of.

First, John and I were looking at our options with cardstock. We found our wedding colors and started planning how we could design the invitations. I looked up and noticed that all the individually sold sheets were on sale for 50% off. On the other side of the isle were packs of cardstock that were regular price. Thanks to a customer, I was informed that Hobby Lobby had an online coupon for 40% off regular priced items. She seemed pleased at our reaction and went on to do her shopping.

John and I sat in the middle of the isle like children looking at all of our different choices laid out on the floor. We had shades of blue, brown, white, black, you name it! We finally narrowed it down to a few choices. Another woman walked up and asked what we were trying to make. I informed her that we were designing our wedding invitations together and she immediately got excited. She then sparked another idea into our heads--vellum paper. I don't know why I didn't think of this. I love vellum! It looks very classy yet simple.

We made our way down to the wedding section and both got very distracted. Unity candles, party favors, isle runners, veils, toasters, everything! This really made John and I step back and look at what is happening. We are planning our wedding TOGETHER the way best friends would. Both enjoying our time and loving each other even more.

We then decided to get back to business and ask an associate where we could find vellum. She took us back to the wedding section and handed us a packet of white vellum paper.

Once again, we went back to where the cardstock was located. Only this time, we found more vellum paper! Single sheets of every color, including our baby blue shade we chose for the wedding. After laying out more and more options, we finally decided to have a white cardstock background, baby blue vellum paper with chocolate brown ink and a brown bow at the top just to add a final touch. After picking out the vellum, our cardstock for the invitations and the response cards, as well as enough ribbon for 60 invitations we were ready to check out.

We left Hobby Lobby with a total of $25. Now all we have to do is print them! We have the option of using a professional printing company like UPS or doing it at home. Even if we add in the cost of ink, we are getting by with less than $1 per invitation. That sure beats spending $200 on invitations that looked horrible! By doing this ourselves, we will be saving close to $140 AND we got to have a wonderful time enjoying eachother's company.

Here are some examples: 

The blue background on the invitation will be the baby blue vellum paper. The vellum sheet will be placed on white cardstock and tied off with a chocolate brown bow at the top.

Once we get to putting it all together, I will provide a photo tutorial to help you if you chose this option as well.

Once again, here is the link that I used for these fabulous templates:

Happy planning!

Do It Yourself Wedding Invitations, RSVP Cards, Table Numbers and Programs

I know that a few posts back I said that John and I chose our invitations and that I was keeping them a secret. Truth is I ordered a sample from and absolutely HATED them. They looked like something I could do with my eyes closed. There is no way I would spend $200 on invitations that I could do myself for free.

So then it hit me. John and I started to talk about designing our own and printing them at the closest print store. I have to admit, John is one-upping me with this wedding planning stuff. First the flowers, now this? I thought this idea of printing our invitations would be terrible and cheap looking.
I started to look online to try and find ideas on how to make your own wedding invitations.

Honestly, it looks like if you don't have Photoshop, you're invitations won't really come out the way you want. Good news is, I found a website with some REALLY cute free wedding templates!
You choose your design, enter your information and done! Click 'print' and it will save to your computer so that you can access your design easily and take it to your print store. 

They not only have invitation templates but RSVPs, Thank You's, Menus, Programs, and Table Numbers. I got really excited about this and I can't even image how happy my findings made John. That only makes this more of a win. Here are some examples of the templates I made!

This first example is not really my style but it could be cute!

This second template is our FAVORITE. Pretty sure we will use this:

This next one is more of a casual version than my favorite:
Here is a rough draft of our wedding program:
 Table Number Template:
And here is an example of our RSVP:

We are going to definitely play up the baby blue! We will put the invitations in a chocolate brown envelope and send a couple of copies of our engagement pictures.

In case you didn't find a template you were looking for, here are a couple of other sites that may help you.

Hope you enjoy! These sites should keep you busy for a while. I can't even begin to tell you how long I've been sitting infront of this computer. It is really interesting to see what is offered online to make your wedding exactly how you envisioned it.

A Bride-To-Be Crazy Calendar

I thought this was way too cute not to share. Thanks to Pinterest!

Someone PLEASE keep me sane during the last month, I don't want my calendar to look like this!

I Am My Bridesmaid's Bridesmaid

Clarissa is my roommate, my co-worker, my friend, my bridesmaid and a bride!
She will be getting married a little less than a month after me on April 6th.

The fun thing about this is she is one of my bridesmaids and I am one of her bridesmaids! I was really excited to be asked to be in her wedding being that we would both be going through wedding details at the same time.

Originally, Clarissa and her other bridesmaids were supposed to go bridesmaids dress shopping with me and my other bridesmaids but since it was extremely hard to get everyone together, we decided to go on separate days.

I took my girls shopping back in August and Clarissa took me and her other girls, MaryBeth and Christin, shopping last weekend.

We got up around 8:30 to hit the road around 9:30.
Our first appointment was at Brickhouse Bridal in the Woodlands. I really can't say I was impressed with this place. There were a lot of selections but the service was terrible and everything was way overpriced. Our consultant really didn't help at all. She didn't ask questions, help with selections, or give an opinion. She literally just stood to the side and took our dresses when we were finished trying them on without saying a word. We found a couple of dresses that we liked. However, they didn't have the color Clarissa had in mind and the cheapest dress we could find was over $200.

Obviously, we were ready to move on to our next appointment.

It was only 12 and our next appointment wasn't until 2. We drove the whole 12 miles down to David's Bridal just so we knew where we would have to be in 2 hours. We found a little Mexican restaurant and decided to go in and get some Margaritas. Christin and I ordered the house Margaritas and holy cow were they strong! I'm pretty sure I was handed a margarita glass filled with Tequila and one lime. Good thing I had 2 hours to finish it.

Our experience at David's Bridal was really positive. I bought my wedding dress at a David's Bridal in Austin and had wonderful service so I wasn't surprised to have good service here as well. It was extremely busy but our consultant made every effort to make sure she helped as much as possible. And her assistance was in addition to several other appointments she had at the time. We had 2 dresses we really like. One was a sweetheart chiffon dress and one was a sweetheart satin dress.

We agreed that we would visit our last appointment at Alfred Angelo before we made our decision although we were pretty sure it would be one of those two.

We drove a couple of miles to Alfred Angelo. When we first walked in, they were extremely nice. We told our consultant what we were looking for and she went to grab some samples while we sat and watched a bride try on different gowns.

It is safe to say that the short dress selection was awful. We tried on ONE dress we would even consider and even then, it was just boring. And don't even get me started on the other dresses she brought. Not to mention, she seemed very dissatisfied with us, even before we stated we didn't like the dresses.

So we went back to David's Bridal and put in our order!
Here is the style we purchased (but imagine the dresses grey):

After we picked these dresses and decided on the shade of grey, we moved over to the shoes! Everyone that knows me knows that I absolutely LOVE shoes.

We agreed on a yellow shade since Clarissa's wedding colors are grey and yellow. Our shoes will match our yellow orchid bouquets.

Picking The Perfect Wedding Cake

Ok. So maybe I am going a bit overboard with the posts today. But it's not like I have 2 years anymore.

John and I have picked our wedding cake! Can't say this was a hard decision. We both wanted something more on the simple side. Let's face it, some of these wedding cakes are CRAZY.
For example:

Pretty sure we can see who will wear the pants in THAT relationship. I mean seriously. How full of yourself do you have to be to have a life-size cake version of yourself?

After looking through numerous cake magazines, we found one that is simple and very precious. We both like it a lot, although we are probably going to have 3 tiers instead of 4 as shown.

I absolutely love the bows! It adds a little something to the cake but not so much that it would look so busy. However, the bows will not be that color; they will be closer to this.

My friend Jessica and I will be making this cake sometime in the next few weeks as a practice run. Mainly to see how much it will cost for ingredients and how much time she will need to make the cake the day before the wedding. I know I said a while back that we were going to do that and we never did but this is different because we have actually chosen a cake to bake!

Picking The Wedding Flowers

It will be time to meet with the florist soon. We aren't for sure yet whether we are using our family friend Sandy or if we will use a company. Either way, we will have gorgeous flowers.

I was browsing around on Google Images to see what flowers might go well with my our color scheme.
I was looking at yellow flowers until John came and looked over my shoulder and made a dissatisfied noise. I then asked him what he was thinking and he said to do blue flowers. Not going to lie, blue flowers with blue dresses and blue napkins seemed a bit much, not to mention the blue flowers I have seen in my life weren't attractive to say the least.

Since we want orchids for the wedding, I decided to search 'blue orchids'. Honestly, I did not even know these flowers existed but let's just say John will have one happy wife if he brings these home to me.

Here are some blue orchid ideas for our center pieces:

Bridal bouquets:

Here is what me and the bridesmaids would look like (kind of):

Here is what our dessert table will look like (minus the giant twig things):

Ideas for our centerpieces:

This last picture is probably my favorite!

After looking at these examples, I really like the hints of purple and turquoise!
I e-mailed Sandy to see what prices would look like and if she would be able to do it.

I can't wait! 

Here are some links so you can check them out yourself:

Engagement Pictures

Engagement pictures are finally here! Shannon has finished our wedding website and now filling it out is up to us. I am so excited with the way these pictures turned out and unbelievably blessed that Shannon would do this for us.

There are more pictures at our website which you can now check out at:

They are also available on Shannon's wedding blog:

John and Tina are two people that know how to have fun. I know these two very well considering John is my cousin. A key feature for good life style photography is good subjects. What makes a good subject in any type of wedding photography, is the clients ability to interact with each other. John and Tina are obviously in love. This shows through their ability to laugh, banter, and be intimate no matter the setting. I believe the greatest person to marry is your best friend. John and Tina are just  that; best friends. I cannot wait to attend their wedding! It will be a joyous occasion.
                             -Shannon Vandivier

I think it is safe to say I'm living my happily ever after.