La Hermosa Novia!

I’ve got myself a pretty gorgeous new sister-in-law, wouldn’t you say?

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That makes two beautiful ladies that my very lucky brothers found over the years – and makes a girl with no sisters growing up (me) very happy!

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After sharing a few of my iphone pics from Priscila & Michael’s big day, I’m so happy to show you some of the first finished photos from the photographer, Luis Chiang Chang-Way of Zonanueve Studios. I did a little jump for joy when Luis gave me permission to share these with you lovely readers – and I’m sure you can imagine why!

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Just breathtaking, no?

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Luis did such an amazing job of capturing Priscila’s total gorgeousness, AND her fun & silly personality!

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How is that for an amazing bridal photo shoot to start off your day?

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Credits to Priscila’s AMAZING photography team of Zonanueve Studios and the oh-so-talented Luis Chiang Chang-Way, as well as to her fantastic makeup artist, Martin Catalogne.

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Off to Peru!

Today I leave for Lima, Peru – to spend a long weekend in celebration of my brother and our favorite Peruvian gal, Priscila, for their big wedding!

MikePriscilaPeruYou can read a bit about Michael & Priscila’s love story here, and you can see the fun travel-themed bridal shower my mother and I threw for Priscila here, here and here!

I’ll be back next week – hopefully with some great pictures and some brushed up Español!

Adiós!

Wedding Day Pocket Timelines

If I haven’t given this away by now- I am a bit of a control freak. And that is saying it nicely.

I suppose I have always been this way – for as my mother likes to say, I never take on a new project or join a new group unless I think I’ll be able to take over and run it myself someday. It’s a sickness. It’s why I should never get involved with politics – because then I might stand in the way of Hilary’s chance at becoming the first woman president. (Ok- that’s probably a bit of a reach, but you catch my drift).
So when it came to wedding planning, I was organized, meticulous, and controlling. Not in a “Bridezilla” kind of way (I don’t think, anyway), but in a “I’m not going to ask for help because I can just do it myself” kind of way.

The most stressful moments for me on the day of (and the few days before) were, in fact, when I was forced to sit still. Or sleep. I was much calmer when I was doing something then when, for example, I had to sit for an hour and have my nails done (and wait for them to dry). TORTURE, I tell you.

Two nights before the wedding, I slept at my parent’s house after spending the night DIY-ing favors & other last minute projects with my family and bridesmaids. I woke up in a panic when I realized my plan for an escort card display was not going to work. (I must have been visited in my sleep by the angel (or devil) of micro-managing brides). Using my iPhone to google alternatives (while trying not to let on that I was awake to my BFF sleeping in the bed next to me), I hatched a new plan at 4AM. Then I gave up trying to pretend I was asleep, got up, and DIY-ed my way through the next three hours until everyone else in the house woke up.

I recognized that on the day of our wedding, I would have to let go of this a little bit. There would things that I just couldn’t (and shouldn’t) worry about doing myself. My older brother, in fact, gave me a strict talking-to the day before our wedding, begging me to be a bit more “hands-off”. True to my character, I did not really listen, and I spent several hours the morning of our wedding hand placing & directing the layout, decor, etc. I just can’t help myself. (But the positive side of this is that we did not need to dish out the cashola for a wedding planner/coordinator, as I knew that it was nothing I (and my faithful cadre of family & friends) couldn’t handle!)

I DID count on help from my wonderful friends and family- and they outdid themselves (naturally. my family & friends rock). By Saturday afternoon, we were like a well-oiled machine of wedding miracle workers. To help keep the whole gang on track, I created a pocket timeline for our families and bridal party.

The timeline included the schedule for the day,

and some reminders on the back.

Things went relatively smoothly on the wedding day, though we did make the call around noon to NOT do the first look photo session (which, in the end, was a great decision). This timeline may have been overkill, but I felt much calmer knowing everybody involved in the wedding day was on the same page. It’s much easier for me to relax and enjoy myself when little is left to chance. (Control. Freak.)

You can download an editable word doc version of my timeline here. Just remember the fonts will not show up for you unless you already own Lavenderia & Campland – if you want to achieve the same look, purchase those two fonts and you’ll be good to go! (Also, I’ve discovered that MS Word does not make it very easy to ‘flip’ text – which you need to do for the top of the card – but I found some help tips here.)

If you create your own fun little timeline – I’d love to hear about it!

Showered with Love (for a second time!)

This past Saturday, my mother, maid of honor, and sister-in-law/bridesmaid threw me an absolutely lovely bridal shower at my parent’s home in Pennsylvania. Since my fiance and I live in New Jersey, and his family/the majority of our mutual friends are from New Jersey, I already had an AMAZINGLY beautiful shower (hosted by my future mother-in-law and my bridesmaids) in August. So lucky duck that I am, I got to celebrate my impending nuptials surrounded by lovely women TWICE!

This shower was primarily for my family, who live in various parts of Pennsylvania. Many of my family members drove several hours to spend the day with me, and for that I am so grateful! The biggest difference for this shower was that it was not meant to be a surprise, and so I was at my mother’s house helping with preparations & getting sneak peeks (and sneak tastes) of all of the amazing things my bridesmaids conjured up for the special day. It was a real treat, and meant I got to spend even more time with the amazing ladies helping me through this crazy wedding process.

It was a beautiful day, and the first day of fall. It was warm- maybe even in the low eighties, but there was a strong wind. The threat of rain held off until evening, so we lucked out! Here’s my parent’s house all decked out for fall.

Beautiful, right? My mother and father both love to work in their gardens, and have plenty of space to go garden-crazy in. Someday I’ll take you on a tour of my mother’s gorgeous home & landscaping.

This ‘antique’, family heirloom chalkboard was set at the front door to greet the guests. How sweet, right? (Plus you’ll see the heart & initials motif again when I share my invitations/wedding day-of paper!)

My maid of honor Becky is an all-out, party-planning rockstar. Besides being one of my best friends in this universe, my go to girl for pretty much everything, and the girl I do crazy things with, like drive to Pittsburgh and back in a day and a half, Becky is SUPER organized, creative & giving. She will do anything for pretty much anybody, and I am no exception to that rule. Just look below at the delicious pumpkin & cream cheese cupcakes she baked & decorated with hand cut & lettered umbrellas. (The shower theme mixed the end of summer/start of fall, and our fall-themed wedding with Tim’s & my love for the beach- it was perfect!). Those cupcakes were to DIE for, and Becky promises to share the recipe. Below the cupcakes, you can see the favors Becky handmade- little mason jars filled with Salt Water Taffy (YUM) and topped with a sticker commemorating our wedding day. I love how they were tied with raffia- so perfect.

The outdoor tables were covered in pretty gold cloths my mother found, and decked with mason jar arrangements of colorful flowers (featuring my favorite, daisies), and scattered with pretty seashells.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch of sandwiches, Becky’s amazing homemade seafood chowder & tossed Ceasar salad.  My sister in law Priscila, who is from Peru, made amazing peruvian treats that I still cannot pronounce, but tasted like heaven.

I was again amazed by the generosity of my family and friends, and overwhelmed by the amount of home & kitchen gifts we received. It took two cars to get everything home! Every single gift was amazing and thoughtful, but I’ll share two of my favorites with you:

Taking the prize for the most unique shower gift any bride has ever received anywhere (in my opinion), is this “Dingerwocker” gifted to me by my mother. My mother is known for the occasional odd gift, however this one really took the cake when I opened the bag. I was delighted, however, to learn the story behind the item.

As you can see by the card attached, this gift was originally given to MY mother, by her mother (my Mommom) at her bridal shower. (The card is the same, but the actual items are new). Here is the basic rundown:

This Dingerwocker, I do declare

When taken apart will do its’ share.

My head is a funnel used to pour things through

my arms are clothespins to pin the clothes for you two.

Well, when it comes to my feet, club-footed you’ll see,

one a soup ladle if such a thing the bride can make.

The other a turner for hubby’s hot cakes.

But my body, you’ll admit, is as useful as any

for corn cobs aren’t just always as plenty.

Last, but not least, is my shawl

just a tea towel, to be used after the feast.

Are you scratching your head? I was too. And the ‘body’ is a roll of toilet paper, so re-read lines 8 & 9 to see if you can put THAT together.

My mother explained that her mother (my Mommom) was given the same gift for her wedding in 1953, by my grandfather’s sister (my Great Aunt Ruthie). She said that she “google-d” & researched this poem and gift, but learned nothing about the origins of the idea – though she assumes it comes from a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition (which fits with my family background).

I bet you won’t see many of these floating around Pinterest, huh? 🙂

And finally, this gift from my bridesmaids (and man of honor) was so sweet & creative. They each picked a bottle of wine for FH & I, and Becky assembled the basket assigning a bottle for various milestones in our relationship, such as our wedding night, first fight, Christmas eve, and first baby (only FH gets to drink that one!)

I love this idea, love the time and thought that went into making it, and love my bridesmaids. Love all around, people.

It was truly an amazing day, and I can not thank Becky, Priscila, my mother, future mother-in-law, (and bridesmaids & man of honor who could not attend but were there in spirit) enough! I also am so grateful for everyone who traveled to be at either of my showers, and for each of the amazingly generous and kind ladies in my life. I am so blessed – and I will never forget the feeling of being so supported & cared for by so many. It is truly a lovely thing to be a bride. Too bad I’ll only do it once. 🙂

From top left- me with my future mother in law, me with my MOH & Rockstar bestie Becky, me with my Mommom & Grandpop, me with my Grandma (and awesome bow-hat), and me with my sister-in-law/beautiful bridesmaid Priscila & Becky.

What was the craziest/coolest/most interesting gift you received (or gave) at a shower?

Monday Motivation

Looking for some bright and cheery things to keep me motivated on this rainy Monday!

For Happy Cake Cutting ~ I love this simple cake featuring brightly colored ranuculous flowers from Green Wedding Shoes.

For the Wardrobe ~ This Luminous Blooms Top is sure to turn any frown upside down!

For a Cheery Home ~ I’m dying to find a way to incorporate turquoise into my home decor. I love the look of this peaceful grey & turquoise bedroom from Turquoise Beddings.

For Smiles & Good Smells ~ Nothing cheers me up on a rainy Monday morning like my favorite perfume – Marc Jacobs Daisy – bottled up & topped with my favorite flowers.

For Sunshine on a Cloudy Rainy Day ~ How about some fabulous Hunter Rain Boots in fresh Vermillion?

Hope you stay dry & cheery today and throughout the week!

~Laura

Save the Dates & Stationary in General

Wow… there are about a million and one options for wedding stationary. We do not have to choose invitations quite yet, but occasionally I browse the options, trying to narrow down a theme and/or feeling for the invites. Some really awesome online invitation services are:

weddingpaperdivas.com

peartreegreetings.com

chereeberry.com

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Then you have “stationers” and stationary shops where you can go and pick out lovely paper and designs and so forth. So many choices!

Anyway, one of the first things on our to do list (after getting place, date, food, band & photography out of the way…) was our save the dates. Since our wedding is less than a year away, and many of our potential guests will have to travel and make plans accordingly, we want to get these notices out as soon as possible.

I found some really cute hand painted pumpkins on etsy.com (my absolute fave) and Tim and I came up with an idea for pictures for our cards. Tim’s brother Rob agreed to take some shots for us on chilly but sunny Martin Luther King Jr. Day (no school!) and this is what we ended up with:

I love them & had a blast putting them together to make a save the date. I ended up ordering our cards form weddingpaperdivas.com, and they are promised to arrive by January 27th. I can’t wait to get them!

In other news, I also ordered myself a new tote bag from L.L.Bean today… with my future monogram on it! I needed the tote, and figured, why not go with a monogram! 🙂