Adults Can Have Treats Too

Everyone does wine and beer at their wedding. Although some adults consider that a treat, there isn't really anything too unique about it and let's face it, you can't decorate beer.

Not only is this stuff an awesome treat for adults, but it makes a cute, yet classy way to decorate.
The first one is what I call "Adult Jello". This is jello shots, but with a fun twist. You can find your favorite cocktails and make them into a shot. This can also be a cheaper alternative to an open bar. Later on, John and I will attempt to make these and I will let you know how they turn out. I will also provide step by step instructions and recipes.

Next, more cute little treats are gummy bears! I have just recently come across this idea and I thought it was fun.
As far as I know, you buy gummy bears and Vodka. Once you have your ingredients, soak the gummy bears in the Vodka to have your own creative treats.

These are cute ideas that I think any can incorporate into their wedding.
Can't wait to post the "trial" version. Who says you can't play with your food?

Finding Our Wine

Obviously, having an open bar can get expensive really quick.
Make a list of alcoholic beverages you want to serve at your wedding, if any.
John and I have discussed different types of wine. I have tested the reds, he has tested the whites. I absolutely love red wine. He likes Moscatos and other light and sweet whites.
If you are a red wine person, explore different varieties. It is fun and if you do it with your loved one, you can turn a normal night into a romantic movie night.

I am a very picky wine drinker. Wine makers themselves have told me that.
White wine, not my thing so as far as that goes, I won't be much help on recommendations.
Now red wine, I can help you with. I like a dry, spicy red wine. I like a little kick and some warmth.
My all time favorites are Chianti and as of recently, Argentinian Malbec.
An excellent Chianti that is affordable is the Classic Gabbianno, either from 2008 or 2010, both are very good. If you are looking for a more expensive wine, the best Chianti I have had so far was at a restaurant in Chicago called Volare. I tried both their Chianti Vivai and their Argentinian Malbec, Tomerro. To die for!

John surprised me one night after work with a Messina Hof Ruby Port. I am not normally a fan of dessert wines but this ended up being a happy medium for both of us. It had the spiciness and warmth I was looking for with a little sweet kick for John. Combining it with dark chocolate put me in heaven. We sat down on the couch together talking about our wedding and what we wanted to do. Talking and drinking wine with chocolate makes a good night together.

If you aren't familiar with wine, there are several different options for you.
For the bride, try having a girls weekend and go to some wineries! Have fun touring the vineyards and be open minded to the tons of varieties you can try.
Or you can simply just go to the store. Pick out of few that others have recommended to you. Go to a liquor store, the workers will be able to help you more than someone from a store that happens to sell wine (i.e Wal-mart, HEB, etc).

Once you get home, pour yourself a small glass of each. Taste them each once, giving a little time in between. Once you find your favorite out of your selections, try tasting them with your favorite foods.

Be Creative

Odds are, your guests have attended other weddings before. What is going to make your wedding special?

Try to think of cute ideas for your wedding guests. Though this wedding is about you and your partner, it is a nice thought to involve them in the wedding as well. You can do simple things such as:

  • The Kissing Bell: The kissing bell can be any type of bell you want. It can be a dainty and elegant glass bell, or if you would rather fall under the antique theme, you can find a brass bell. The idea behind this is that whenever a guest rings this bell, it means they want the bride and groom to kiss. You can attach a piece of paper with a small poem to explain how the bell works. Also, this can work as a small gift for those who attended the wedding.
  • Picture Perfect: Instead of just a simple guest book, take it up a notch. Try a photo frame! Have your favorite picture of you and the love of your life in the center, and your guests can sign the frame itself! Next time the come to visit you and see the frame hanging in your house with their best wishes signed right in front of them, they will remember they were apart of your special day.
  • Camera Time!: Place a disposable camera at each table and have your guests take pictures of their night! Have them turn in the cameras at the end of the night and now you have all the pictures you need for your wedding photo album! This can also save you money if a professional photographer is not in your budget.
  • A Kiss For You: Visit You can write a personal message, a friendly hello, joke, or even your favorite quote/scripture on the bottom of a Hershey's Kiss wrapper!
  • Personal Name Cards: If you choose to have 'assigned' seating for your reception, you are going to want to have name cards. Make it fun! Find something between you and that guest that will make them smile. This can be a nickname, an inside joke, or even a fun memory. (You may want to put this under their real name so their is no confusion).
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Hope you enjoyed them!
Happy planning!

Something Borrowed

Every bride needs a place to go for her wedding needs. Don't stress yourself with questions like:
Where am I going to get invitations?
Where can I find tableware?
What decorations am I going to use?

Here are some websites I have found useful on my journey to the alter.

                     Etsy is probably my favorite. It is extremely helpful! You can find anything from invitations to            handcrafted decorations that would make the perfect addition to your wedding.

                     You know that every bride can use some ribbon on her wedding day.
                     This place is super affordable and can pull through for all of your party needs.
                     Upload any picture you want and create your own fabric!

                      I don't know about you, but I absolutely LOVE orchids. They will definitely make a presence   in my wedding. If you would like them too, this website has tons of them!

Something for your Bridal Party:
                     Find the perfect gift for your bridesmaids!

These are just a few that will get you started. Don't be afraid to use Google! Google will prove to be your best friend during this time. I find a place that I can rent silver flatware for $.10 each, and $.25 plates too! Why settle for plastic?

Have fun with your decorating. Don't let the planning stress you out, let it motivate you towards a wedding you'll never forget.

Planning an Affordable Honeymoon

The honeymoon is one of the best parts to plan! It is a getaway for you and your new husband or wife for as long as you want!

Through my searches for the perfect honeymoon spot, I remembered a website that my family and I have used for our family vacations.

Every time we have used this website, we have found wonderful and affordable places to stay. Definitely beats staying at a hotel!
Just type in your destination, your budget, and have fun looking for your private place!

They offer houses, condos, cabins and beach houses! You are bound to find the perfect spot for you.
Have fun!

Focusing On The Venue

One thing that wedding planning has opened my eyes to was budgeting. John is on his way to get his Masters in Economics, so money and budgeting was already his thing.

When John and I first started our planning, we wanted to get married at a beautiful vineyard outside our hometown. We made our guest list, wrote out a budget on an Excel sheet and decided we would visit the vineyard on our next weekend off. 

John was having trouble getting off work, so we decided that I would go with my mother on my weekend off.
We drove out of town and met up with the owner. She showed us several different options if we would choose to do our ceremony there as well. Throughout the tour of the vineyard, we were impressed. Then, it was time to discuss numbers.
For a guest list of 115 people, to rent the vineyard would cost $8,000. This price did not include tables, chairs, food, beverages or any kind of decor. This price alone brought the price of our wedding up to almost $13,000 when originally, our budget was $5,000.
After this experience, we knew we had to make some decisions. Do we just suck it up and pay for the wedding we originally planned for? Or do we look around to find something more affordable?

We chose option 2.
I contacted my church and the priest informed me that if you are a member of the perish, the use of the church and the reception hall would be free of charge.
This is when John and I decided to get married in the church I grew up in. We are still looking around for venues and I have high hopes in finding the perfect one for our reception!

Focus on a budget. Sit down with your fiance and discuss the maximum amount you want to spend on each special part of the wedding. This way, you know if someone is asking too much.
If you don't have a budget, you are more likely to just say "lets do it!" instead of thinking it through and spending your money in the best places possible. I mean think about it, wouldn't you rather spend that money on an awesome, lengthy honeymoon or to put towards your new home together?

You'd be surprised the amount of money people will charge you if you aren't prepared. Don't walk blindly into this trap, be ready. Who knows, maybe you'll even be able to bargain with them for a better deal.

All you brides out there- Take advantage of Bridal Shows/Extravaganzas! Vendors are willing to give huge discounts on catering, flowers, decorations, and venues!

Getting The Perfect Dress

Face it, every girl loves to look at wedding gowns. I have been sneaking a peek at gowns that I would want since I was 12. About 4 months after the proposal, my mom came into my room and told me to get dressed. I got into the car, very excited. We went to pick up Stacey, who will be my maid of honor. We drove down to South Austin to David's Bridal for my appointment at noon.
I met up with my consultant and right off the bat, she asked my what I wanted in a wedding gown. I told her that I loved A-line gowns. I did not want a mermaid or anything covered in tulle. I thought back to when Stacey and I spent a day in Houston (before I ever got engaged) trying on wedding gowns. I tried on just about every style and knew which ones weren't for me. I liked feeling like a princess.
She took me, my mom, and Stacey around the store so we could pick out dresses for me to try on.
After about 8 dresses picked, we decided it would be a good time to start the game.
The first one, covered in lace and beading, wasn't quite what I would hope for. To say the least, it was TOO much. Before I got the chance to try on the second gown, the consultant asked my mom to help me in and out of the gowns because her arms were sunburned and the fabric was scrapping it. I was a little irritated by this but also happy that my mom and I would have this experience together. (Later I found out that it was the consultants last day).
The second gown was beautiful on the hanger, yet when I put it on, something was missing. It was almost too plain, but I absolutely loved the back. Long train with buttons all the way down. I kept it on for a few minutes, admiring the details along the train, then took it off for round 3.
The third gown reminded me a lot of my mother's gown. Trumpet waist, long train, lace and exquisite beading. The only thing that bothered me at first was the cap sleeves. They didn't fit with the rest of the gown. The consultant told me she could have them taken off, so I studied the rest of the gown. It was gorgeous, just not me.
The fourth gown was my consultant's pick. I told her I did not like tulle but she insisted I tried it on.
It was THE biggest, Vera Wang dress I had ever seen. As soon as my mother put it on me, we not longer fit in the dressing room. We were both swallowed by tulle, tulle and more tulle! I walked out to show Stacey and she started laughing. I didn't blame her, this dress was insane. NEXT!
I tried on the fifth gown. As soon as I put it on and turned around to look in the mirror, I gasped. Beautiful beading, not too much. Ballroom style, sweetheart neckline, and the train was perfect. I could see myself in this dress on my wedding day. My mom started getting tears in her eyes and I knew it was time to show Stacey. I walked out and Stacey looked in awe. This was it.
Only one problem, even though the rest of me does, my 'girls' do not fit in a size 4. A seamstress came over to discuss options and said the neckline wouldn't be the same if we changed it. We looked around for a different size and the next size we could find was a 13. I tried this one on and asked if she would be able to take it in. She was extremely hesitant. Because of the beading and the pleats, taking in a 13 to make it a 4 would make the dress unrecognizable. My heart was sinking. My mom went to the front desk to see if they could order a new dress in my size. Turns out, this dress was a last call item and had been discontinued.

I made calls to David's Bridals all around the US to find a size 6. I then called the headquarters so that they could look in their system. They found ONE size 6 left in the whole country and it was in Illinois. I asked for the number and called immediately. It must have been meant to be because the last dress in my size in the whole country was now mine.  

First Step: The Engagement

I figured I have some catching up to do. I have been engaged since April 24, 2011. John and I have just recently set our official wedding date for March 9, 2013. Yes, this is a long engagement, but it's half way over! I am down to one year before the wedding and I couldn't be any more excited! I am going into my Senior year at Sam Houston so my last semester will be crazy!

The Engagement:

April 24, 2011-- It was Easter Sunday, John showed up at my parent's house around 11am so that we could all go to church together. I, of course, was still sleeping. I always wait until the last minute to get up and get ready for anything, whether it's work, school, or church. He knocked on my door, came in and told me we had to leave for church in 30 minutes.
St. Helens, the church I have been going to since I was about 8 years old. 'Wow, things have changed'  was all I could think about. I was now in college, standing next to my boyfriend of 2 years, and my younger brother was now taller than me. The priest was talking about The New Beginning, Christ rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven, this paved the way for Christians. I looked over at John because his grasp on my hand was getting tighter and tighter. He looked nervous so I lightly moved my thumb over the top of his hand. He lightened up and smiled at me.
Church was over and it was time for us to head over to our neighbor's house. This has become an unspoken tradition, but makes me happy nonetheless. Since all of our family lives scattered across the US, they are the closest thing we have to family on holidays. They had a full house, everyone was so joyful. John and my dad disappeared to "the store" to get some last minute dinner items. Everyone kept hugging me and asking me my plans. I was thinking it was because it was the first time in about 3 months that I had been home from school.  We had dinner and around 8 o'clock, John and I decided it was time for us to drive back to our own little town. I ran next door to grab my purse and found a huge Easter basket full of my favorite candies next to my purse. On the front, was a picture of me and John. I thought this was extremely cute and thanked him when I saw him outside next to the car.
He was quiet most of the ride, giving me a kiss on the cheek every now and then.
Being the girl that I am, I had way to much packed for only being back home a couple of days. John kept telling me to leave the luggage and just go inside the apartment, even my dog was barking at me.
I picked up the Easter basket and my dog's kennel and started walking to the apartment.
I opened the front door and walked to the dining room table to set down my things.
"Tina just put that down", John kept saying to me.
I was getting irritated at this point, I just wanted to organize my things so I didn't have to do it later. I heard my name once again and turned around to see John on one knee, holding an Easter egg. I looked over at the Easter basket then back at the egg wondering what he was doing. He opened it up and the most beautiful diamond ring was inside. He told me I was the love of his life and his best friend then asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes! I kissed him even though he was still on one knee. I assumed he was nervous because he was still shaking even after my answer. I have never been so happy in my life!

Introducing Me

My name is Christina! Hello nice to meet you! Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope this is as exciting for you as it is for me.

First let me say, if you are a man or woman that is getting married soon, congratulations! It is a wonderful feeling to know you are spending the rest of your life with your best friend.

I have just recently gotten engaged to a man that I adore named John. He was my best friend throughout high school and towards the end of my Senior year, my prom date backed out on me and John so graciously offered to take me. I remember the day I walked out of my parent's bedroom after getting ready and his mouth about fell off. Just friends? I think that statement was long gone. 3 years later and here we are, engaged and ready to start our life together as a married couple!

Mostly, I will be writing to you about our adventures in wedding planning. What was difficult, what was fun, and of course, ideas that changed due to something called a budget. I thought that since I am new at this, and you probably are too, we can help each other down the road to the alter.