Sunday, October 10, 2010

Six Month Anniversary + Signing Off

Happy six-month anniversary to my husband!  It's hard to believe our wedding was six months ago -- the time has flown past, but I'm still as thrilled to be sharing my life with him as the day we got married.


This is also my last regular post! I'm out of DIY projects, inspiration boards, and wedding day recaps to show you, so I'm signing off for the time being.  Hopefully you can find lots of useful information and inspiration in the archives.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Post-Wedding To-Do List

After the wedding, I kept having the nagging feeling that I was forgetting to do things.  My husband kept saying "Aren't we done with the wedding now?"  I didn't have a post-wedding to-do list.  I couldn't find one in any of the bride books I got or online.  This is what I came up.  Am I missing anything?

  • Return rented items like cake stand
  • Freeze top layer of wedding cake
  • Preserve any mementos, like bridal bouquet
  • Upload pictures of the wedding to photo sharing site (and Facebook!)
  • Update wedding website with link to photo sharing site
  • Send wedding announcement to alumni magazine and/or newspapers with picture
  • Send thank you cards to guests and vendors
  • Design and order photo album. Send copies to parents.
  • Clean and preserve wedding gown

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Master Wedding Checklist

My best friend throughout the whole wedding planning process was my Master Checklist!  It kept me on track, didn't let me forget anything, and kept me sane.  I started the list at the beginning of our engagement as a compilation of all the wedding planning checklists I could find out there, like Martha Stewart, TheKnot, Real Simple, and Complete Wedding.  None of them fit our wedding perfectly, especially since I started planning about two years before the wedding!  Hopefully some other bride will find my list useful as a starting point.

I used a simple Google Docs spreadsheet to enter all the tasks and keep track of them.  I liked using such a flexible tool, since I could just move tasks around when I knew I wasn't going to complete them on time!

Master Wedding Planning Checklist

Wedding Date: April 10, 2010

Nineteen Months and Earlier (September 2008)


xAnnounce your engagement.

xSelect a date for your wedding.

Seventeen Months and Earlier (November 2008):


xDetermine color scheme.Deep purple and light blue

xSend engagement notice with a photograph to your local newspaper and alumni magazine.Sent to Alcalde

Sixteen Months and Earlier (December 2008):


xSet your budget. Determine how much each family is contributing.

xDevelop a record-keeping system for payments made.

xDetermine the type of wedding you want: location, formality, time of day, number of guests.

xConsolidate all guest lists: bride's, groom's, bride's family, groom's family, and organize:
1) those who must be invited,
2) those who should be invited,
3) those who would be nice to invite
Set a head count. Decide if you want children invited.

xSelect and reserve ceremony site and officiant.St. Mary's Catholic Church (League City, TX)

xSelect and reserve reception site.Hotel Galvez Terrace Ballroom (Galveston, TX)

xPurchase your bridal gown and headpiece.Weddings by Debbie (Houston, TX)

xSelect and reserve florist.Flowers and Gifts Unlimited (League City, TX)

xComplete marriage preparation class with Catholic diocese.Completed with Austin Diocese.

Twelve Months and Earlier (April 2009):


xSelect bakery for wedding cake.

xSelect and book photographer.

xOrder passport for honeymoon.

xMeet with florist to discuss more details about flowers.

Eleven Months Before (May 2009):


xDesign and order save-the-date cards.

Ten Months Before (June 2009):


xWork on invite lists for Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party

xAsk for addresses for Save the Date cards from family members

Eight Months Before (August 2009):


xBook a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests. Pick hotels at different price points close to the reception venue.Hotel Galvez, La Quinta Inn

xFinish invite lists for Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party and give to Maid of Honor

xSelect and ask maid of honor, best man, bridesmaids, ushers, flower girls, ring bearers.

xCollect addresses for Save the Date cards from family members

xLaunch a wedding website. Note the date of the wedding, travel information, accommodations, etc.

xSelect and book caterer (if not included in reception site).Provided by Hotel Galvez. Need to work out custom menu: specialty tea and coffee, specific beers and wines

xPay 50% of Hotel Galvez balance (8/29/2009).

xAddress and send save-the-date cards.

Seven to Six Months Before (September and October 2009):


xRegister for gifts. Sign up with a minimum of three retailers. Keep in mind that some guests will tap into registries for shower and engagement gifts as well.Bed Bath & Beyond, Macys,

xReserve wedding night suite.Included in Hotel Galvez package.

xStart planning honeymoon.Narrowed down to list of possible locations.

xReserve rental items needed for ceremony and reception: aisle runner, tables, chairs, tentsNone

xSend guest list for showers and bachelorette party to hosts.

Five Months Before (November 2009):


xBridal Shower #1Houston (hosted by Maid of Honor)

xBachelorette PartyVEGAS!!!

xSend thank you notes for bridal shower gifts

xPurchase bridal shower outfit

xPurchase shower and bachelorette party thank-you gifts

xStart looking at bridal shoes, undergarments, and jewelryPurchased shoes, earrings, bracelet

xStart looking at bridal party attire.

xChoose honeymoon locationCosta Rica!

xPick up wedding dress and veil from salon for outside alterations

xSelect and book transportation for wedding day: limo, town car, rental cars, minibus, shuttles

Four Months Before (December 2009):


xStart teeth whitening kit.

xStart looking at bridal shoes, undergarments, and accessories. Begin to break-in your shoes.Bought shoes, earrings, and bracelet. Still need to buy bustier and necklace

xHave menu tasting with Hotel Galvez. Discuss day-of timeline.Tuesdays and Wednesdays only

xHire a professional wedding consultant for the day-of.Simply Jubilee Events

xMeet with ceremony officiant:
-- Discuss ceremony structure and marriage requirements.
-- Discuss day-of timeline.
-- Schedule ceremony rehearsal.
-- Confirm ceremony time.
-- Ask about musicians.
-- Ask about limits and rules in the church.
-- Discuss Papal Blessing.
-- Discuss any necessary documents (baptism, confirmation, etc).

xSelect bridesmaid attire.This was done too late - should have been 5 months in advance. Some dressmakers take 14-15 weeks to complete

xOrder paper swatch booksCrane & Co, Paper Source

xFinalize design for wedding invitations

Three Months Before (January 2010):


xBuy undergarments for wedding gownPetticoat Fair

xPlace printing order for wedding invitations. Hire a calligrapher, if desired.Studio SloMo

xSelect and book reception musicians, DJ, and/or sound equipment.Swank A/V, Still need to pick MC

xMake garter and ring pillows.Out of Mom's wedding dress

xStart bridal gown fittings (with shoes and undergarments).Gassane's Tailors

xBridal Shower #2New Jersey (hosted by Mother of the Groom)

xSend thank you notes for bridal shower gifts

xConfirm with bridesmaids and house party about attire, whether they've purchased their dress, and bought flights. Ask what they want on the day-of: hair, makeup

xChoose flower girl attire.Bonnie Jean Embroidered Dot Dress

xOrder wedding cake topper

xGet envelopes from stationer and start addressing

xSelect rest of wedding party attire: groom's party and boy attendantsMen: own black suit, white shirt, black shoes. Will buy matching ties for everyone.

xBook hair and makeup artists.Bride (Hair+Makeup+Trial), 5 Hair, 2 Makeup

xSchedule bridal portraits with photographer and makeup trial.

Two Months Before (February 2010):


xAssemble and mail wedding invitations

xHave second dress fitting.second week of Feb

xFind "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue."

xCheck blood test and marriage license requirements.

xSet date, time, and location for your rehearsal dinner.

xFigure out where immediate family is staying during the wedding week.

xDecide on bridal portrait locations and get permission from venue.Hermann Park

xOrder wedding favor pieces and boxes.

xPurchase gifts for wedding attendants.

xPurchase wedding necklace

xPurchase exit favor piecesDoily cones and fresh petals

xWedding day hair clipPearl bobby pins from etsy

xPlace printing order for thank you cards

xPurchase matching sashes for flower girlsDavids Bridal - Lapis

xGet hair cut.

Final Month (March 2010):


xBook flights and hotel rooms for honeymoon.

xSchedule final meeting with bakery

xSchedule final meeting with florist

xSchedule final meeting with hotel catering

xSchedule meeting with day-of coordinator

xSchedule gown cleaning (drop off after bridal portrait, pick up before wedding): Weddings by Debbie

xOrder vases for reception through florist

xPurchase tea lights

xMail invitations for rehearsal dinner.

xPurchase the wedding rings and have them engraved and sized.

xSelect and book ceremony musicians.Confirm organist and soloist

xPurchase frames and table easles for reception decor

xFinish family history research for wedding

xOrder guest book pens

xDecorate flower girl basketsLine with mom's wedding dress fabric, add purple and blue ribbons

xCreate gift card box

xAssemble exit favors: doily cones

xOrder lavender for wedding favors

xDecide on ceremony readings.

xDecide on ceremony music. Give music to musicians for practice.

xTake engagement pictures.Shannon Cunningham

xPurchase pieces for kids' wedding favorsStill need to purchase pencils and full page labels

xHave last dress fitting. Bring shoes, accessories, and lingerie.

xContact guests who haven't responded.

xMake wedding day timeline with DOC

xHair and makeup trialBring pictures

xBridal PortraitHermann Park, bring bouquet

xTake dress to be cleaned and pressed for wedding day.

xFinal meeting with Galvez:
Pay 100% of balance to Hotel Galvez (3/29/2010).
updated head count to caterer.
Finalize the menu, drinks selection

xFinalize details with bakery. Drop off cake topper, any pictures, and color swatches.

xAssemble gifts for wedding attendants

xDesign family history boards, rehearsal dinner thumb tree, and outside sign

xHave mom print boards at work

xPlan activities for break between ceremony and reception. Include directions in ceremony program

xOrder ties for groomsmen + childrens party boys

xPrint family wedding picturesStill need Mom's grandparents

xAfter getting bridal portrait proofs: order large print for reception

xSend wedding week schedule to families and wedding party

xMake table numbers

xMake reservations for bridal party luncheon + pamper partyBooked Perry's Steakhouse, need to book nail salon

xBook waxing appointments for week of wedding.

xAssemble wedding favor boxes

xPlan activities for trolley

xPurchase engagement picture print for reception

xOrder photo sharing information cards

xPurchase large frames for portraits: bridal and engagement13x19 and 16x20

xPurchase gifts for ceremony musicians.

Week of the Wedding (April 4 - 10, 2010):


xReconfirm arrival times with vendors.Done by wedding coordinators

xBikini and Underarm waxWed

xPick up wedding attire and make sure everything fits.Wed

xTake cake topper to bakeryWed

xMake playlist for reception and download music.Wed

xOrder guest bookWed

xSend must-have photos list to photographer and wedding coordinatorWed

xDesign and print programs.Thurs

xDesign and print table menus, bar menusThurs

xAssign seating. Make place cards.Thurs

xTake flowers and greenery to floristThurs morn

xFamily mixerThurs afternoon

xObtain Marriage License. Get certified copies for changing your name.Thurs afternoon

xGather everything you will need for the rehearsal and wedding day. Set aside checks and tips for vendors to be handed out on the wedding day.Thurs

The Rehearsal Day:


xGive best man the officiant's fee and any other checks/tips for service providers. Instruct him to deliver these checks the day of the wedding.

xGet menus for ordering lunch on the wedding day

xGet manicure and pedicure.

xDrop off supplies to wedding coordinatorAt Rehearsal


xRehearsal Dinner

The Wedding Day:


xGive the rings to the best man and maid of honor

Post Wedding:


xReturn rented itemsBakery cake stand

xUpload pictures to photo sharing siteFlickr

xThank you cards to guests and vendors

xSend wedding announcement to alumni magazine with pictureSent to Alcalde

xUpdate wedding website with links to photos

Clean and preserve wedding gown.

Design and order photo album

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Plum Inspiration Board vs My Purple Wedding

I looked back at my first inspiration board the other day, when I picked my original color scheme of plum and powder blue.  I created this about a year before the wedding.  I still love the look and the colors, but I noticed how different the overall style is from my final vision for the wedding!

purple inspiration board

This board contains all my final inspirational pictures for the wedding.  These are the pictures that I gave to my vendors to get a good sense of my vision, and some are the products I actually purchased.  It still has the dark purple and light blue colors, but I think the overall style is a little more casual.

final inspiration board

Now for the real wedding! I put together pictures of our actual wedding showing a lot of the inspiration that became reality.

wedding board

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recap: Good Night and Good Luck

We had danced, smashed cake in each other's faces, and tossed a bouquet and a garter. Show's over folks! Months before I had made these petal toss cones, plus ordered fresh rose petals from As we went to hide by the bar, the day-of coordinators ushered everyone outside and gave them cones filled with petals.


Those baskets were only $3 a pop at a World Market that was closing!


I love the pictures of our reception exit - they're dramatic and exciting!


Since we had drunk the bar out of champagne, we chose to exit with matching beers. I tried my best to keep my eyes somewhat open while we were running the gauntlet, but it's hard with thousands of petals flying at you!



Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Wedding Soundtrack - My iPod Music Playlist

I did not hire a DJ, and I still regret it a little bit.  I chose to go the iPod route to save a little money, and also because I was a bit of a control freak over the playlist.  My new brother-in-law stepped in as MC (and was hilarious), and the A/V people at the hotel did a great job working the sound board.  But, when it came to the dancing part of the evening, we just set the iPod on shuffle and let it go.  The music didn't really follow the mood of the crowd like a professional DJ can, and not as many people stayed on the dance floor.  Plus, I downloaded all of the songs off Amazon literally two days before my wedding at about 1 am, which was a bit stressful. That confession aside, let's get to the tunes for the evening:

"Special" Songs
The "special" songs, like the first dance and bouquet toss songs, were totally random. There are songs that are special to us, there are songs like I listen to every day at work, and there are songs that we picked out of mid-air.

Press Play on the player below to see and hear the full playlist.

Cocktail Hour and Dinner Songs - Old School Classy Theme
For the cocktail hour and dinner hour, I wanted lots of the old classics - Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, with a few "new classics" mixed in - like Carla Bruni and Joseph Arthur.

Press Play on the player below to see and hear the full playlist.

High Paced "Booty" Music
I tried to balance the music on the playlist for the dancing part of the reception between "young people" music and "old people" music, plus favorites for everyone. This is the stuff that grandma could break a hip trying to dance to.

Press Play on the player below to see and hear the full playlist.

Medium Pace / Older Music
These are the crowd pleasers, where young and old say "Oh I love this song!" and jump on the dance floor - at least that's the goal.

Press Play on the player below to see and hear the full playlist.

Slow, Lovey Dovey Songs

I have to slow dance with my new husband! I interspersed a few slow songs, so we could have some "couples skate" moments.

Press Play on the player below to see and hear the full playlist.

Cajun Music
Since a few people from my Cajun mother's side came to the wedding, I wanted to include some "heritage" songs. This was a huge hit! Even the non-Cajuns in the room loved the songs and all tried to do the waltzes. These were probably the most popular songs of the night.

Press Play on the player below to see and hear the full playlist.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Recap: Here's to the Happy Couple

The toasts after dinner were probably my favorite part of the evening. We have never felt such love coming from our friends and family at one time. It truly made everything we put into the wedding worth it.


Truth be told, I was nervous about the toasts. We had the idea to have a few people give the traditional toasts (father of the bride, best man, maid of honor, etc), and then open up the floor to anyone who wanted to say a few words. I thought we would hear crickets; that no one would want to get up and speak. Boy, were we wrong!


Friends got up, distant relatives got up, siblings got up, nieces and nephews got up. They all wanted to share some little tidbit or embarrassing (yet hilarious) story about us, give marriage advice, or just tell us that love us.



It was an amazing experience for us to see so many willing to get up in front of 100+ people and speak in the microphone. It was one of the best moments of the day, and one of the funniest!