Monday, September 30, 2013


Flowers are everywhere when it comes to your wedding day.
Bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, alter pieces, and centerpieces. 
Blue Hydrangeas
Tips for finding a Florist 

  • Start your search early!! 
  • Research online for local florists.  Look at their reviews
  • Ask people who have recently got married who they used and what they thought. Try not use a recommendation from someone that hasn't gotten married yet. You want to hear how the actual wedding day went.
  • Have a budget. Communicate this to your florist.
  • Meet with 3-5 florists. During the meeting share your vision, likes, dislikes, and expectations.
  • Listen for statements that let you know your florist is educated and will do a good job.
  • Compare quotes. 
  • Ask yourself "Which florist did I like the most?"
    • 75% of the florists we met with, I walked away saying "wow, florists are crazy nice and have such a fun personality!" So if you leave a meeting say "what a dud" remember they are going to be creating your wedding flowers. Do you want to pay them for a service and not be happy with the product?  

Tips for figuring out what flowers you want
  • Look through bridal magazines and save pictures you like

  • Pin flower arrangements you like on pinterest

  • When you see a flower you like (such as in a movie or show) write it down and keep it in your wedding folder

  • Ask yourself some questions:

  • What are your wedding colors?

  • What is your theme?

  • Research what flowers will be in season

    • You can get flowers that aren't in season, but it will cost more

  •  What does your dress look like.. what bouquet will look best with your dress

    • If your dress is simple, consider adding embellishments to your bouquet

  • What kind of atmosphere do you want for your ceremony and reception

My Flower Story!

I had tossed around the idea of making our own centerpieces for the reception.  We had done this for my sister's wedding and it worked out well.  But there are a few things you need to keep in mind if this is the route you choose.  Where are you going to order the flowers from?  Jess had the wrong flowers sent to her the week of her wedding (bright Home Depot orange!) and had to make some quick decisions on what to do.  This can be a very time consuming task.  It took us close to 4-5 hours to assemble the centerpieces.  Once you create the centerpieces you need to safely get them to the reception hall.  This was not an issue with her wedding, because we created them at the hall.  A professional florist is equipped to travel with 10-15 centerpieces and knows how to handle the amount of water in the vases, etc.  So, this can be fun if you can figure out all of the details.  In the long run I decided to have a professional florist create all of my center pieces, bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages.  Honestly, it was one less thing to stress about when it came down to 'crunch time' (i.e. 48 hours before the wedding.) I liked knowing my florist would deliver everything and set the centerpieces up for us.

As most of you know finding the perfect florist is just like finding the perfect DJ/Emcee.  At first I thought this task was easy.  My mom's friend recommended a florist to us.  We called her up, made an appointment, met with her, and loved her!  She told us she would get back to us in 2 weeks with a quote.  I waited patiently, and after 2 weeks I called her once a week...for 6 weeks.  Yup, 8 weeks after our first appointment is when I finally received the quote! If you can't keep your promise with typing up and giving a potential client a quote, there is a small possibility you are going to mess up on my wedding day. Not taking that risk! 

This is similar to my photographer story. You don't want to settle for a lousy 'professional' that is going to provide questionable services ..for your wedding!  It is never too late to switch or find a professional service.  There are so many florists, DJs, photographers, etc. that want your business (you just have to find them!)

 My mom and I did some research online and set up about 4 more meetings with potential florists. It was a pretty easy decision.   We went with the florist that was easy to talk to, knew her stuff, gave me several suggestions, showed me pictures of her past work, and gave me the impression she loves what she does.  It also helped that she provided me with a quote in 7-10 days, as promised. I highly recommend Kris Gardy at Colonial Gardens if you live in Phoenixville, Exton, West Chester, Pottstown Area of PA.

Bridal Bouquet

 My Bouquet had ins and outs (not a round mound),  with seeded eucalyptus and rolled thin grasses for a touch of green, a mixture of blue hydrangeas (my FAVORITE!), white roses,  spray roses, white calla lilies, white stock, blue salvia, and pale blue delphinium.  To match the 'bling' theme, she added clear crystal pics in the center of the roses and a band of rhinestones around the satin ribbon on the handle. She worked in my grandmother's handkerchief, which was my 'something old'.  The bouquet cost $200.

It was really hard to decide what blue flowers wouldn't clash with the bridesmaids dress so we decided to have them carry green and white bouquets with blue crystal pics in the center of their roses and a hint of blue iridescent beads on thin silver wire worked in for a touch of blue.  Their bouquets were had a combination of dusty miller, green spray roses, green hydrangea, white salvia, white roses, white calla lilies, and green hypericum berries.  Each bouquet cost  $65 and in total it was  $325.
Light blue bridesmaids dresses with white & green bouquets

Groom's boutonniere

Matt's Boutonniere matched my bouquet,  containing a  white calla lily with pale blue delphinium and seeded eucalyptus.  The cost was $15

The groomsmen had white calla lilies with green hypericum berries.  The cost was $12 and in total it was  $60.

We wanted the Dads and Grandfathers to be a little different than the groomsmen.  Their boutonnieres had a  white rose with green hypericum berries.  The cost was $10 and in total is was $40.

Our moms wore  wrist corsages on white pearl bracelets.  They were able to choose from bracelets the florist had or bring the florist a bracelet. The florist told us she can work in flowers into mostly any bracelet, which is pretty cool! I suggest Charming Charlie (a jewelry fanatics heaven!)  Their corsages had a mix of white and green flowers to match the bridal party.  We made sure to tell the florist their dress color.  The cost was $30 and in total it was $60.
Use any bracelet for your corsage

The Grandmothers had pin-on corsages in neutral colors.  They were given the option of a wrist corsage (it was nice to give them a chioce!) The cost was $20 and in total $80.

Church Altar Flower Arrangement
For the Church we decided on 1 long and low piece to be placed on the altar.  It had a mix of blue, white and green flowers to compliment the wedding parties flowers.  The cost was $125. You can either bring this with you to your reception or leave them for church the next day.

We also had 2 single white roses at the front of the Church in honor of Matt's Grandfathers.  We provided the vases to the florist.

Wood Box Flower Centerpiece

I had always known I wanted a low centerpiece at the reception because I have been to a few weddings where you can't see the people across from you because of the tall, bulky center piece.  Yes, they are gorgeous, but they are also outrageously expensive and block your view from each other.  I had seen a wood box centerpieces somewhere on Pinterest and knew that is what I wanted.  After looking around in stores such as Tuesday Morning and online I finally found a site that was reasonable.  I got a case of 12 wood boxes for $84 from Jamali Garden.  We stained the wood boxes and then supplied them to the florist a week before the wedding.  Each box had a combination of hydrangeas, roses, spray roses, stock, salvia, seeded eucalyptus and a few other fill flowers.  The cost was $55 and in total $825.

Wood Box Flower Centerpiece

Don't forget to think about how to give away your centerpieces.  It's one less thing to take home, I mean do you really want 15 centerpieces in your house (flowers dying while you are on your honeymoon).. I didn't think so. Make 12-15 wedding guests super happy by giving them the centerpiece.  To give away our centerpieces we had Abe, our Emcee, announce the person that traveled the farthest got to take home the centerpiece. You can also do person who has known the couple the longest, person with the closest birthday, etc.

 The delivery and set up fee was 150$, which is reasonable considering she drove the bouquets to my parents house, the boutonnieres, corsages and altar piece to the church, and the center pieces to the reception hall.

Yes, flowers are expensive, but they have such beauty that really adds something special to your wedding.  There are other alternatives to bouquets and centerpieces.  You have to ask yourself what you are willing to spend, what your vision is, what you have always dreamed of.... AND make it happen!

What's your Vision?
Mine came true...
Gold Chiavari Chairs, Ivory Table Cloths, Light Blue Napkins, Wood Box Flower Centerpieces, Light Blue Votives

One last tip, don't forget to feed your flowers, my florist had us put our flowers in water when we were in the limo to keep them lively and good-looking. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wedding Workout

Full time job, part time job, taking care of the dog, house work, meals, social life, PLANNING a wedding AND working out. Talk about a FULL plate. 
 Did anyone ever tell you...
 you can do anything you put your mind to!!

Over 8 months I lost 15 pounds and had to have my wedding dress taken in 1-2 sizes!

DISCLAIMER:  I am NOT a dietitian, qualified nutritionist or personal trainer. This is simply what I did to get into shape to look the best on my wedding day. 
A little bit about my fitness background.  I swam competitively for 12 years on 3 teams; YMCA, High School and College.  A lot of my ideas come from a swimming sets and dry land workouts.  I swam breaststroke, butterfly and the Individual Medley.  One of the reasons I loved the IM was because I got bored of the same stroke. So you will notice in my workout pattern, I mix it up. I find it boring to run 5 days a week. Some people love it, it's not for me.

10 months before my wedding I had to have a mole removed on my calf.  This wouldn't have been bad, but it forced me to avoid the gym for 2 months. Every time you walk, your calf muscle bulges. The first time my stitches were removed the area opened up and I had to have a second set of stitches.  The point of this rant is to let you know I had 8 months to get in shape, after doing nothing for 2 months (this was also during Thanksgiving pie and Christmas Cookie season).

Please read this with an open mind. Feel free to change anything and adapt the workouts/plan to what is best for you.

I believe it is way easier to get in shape so you can have fun on your wedding day; rather than to constantly be thinking *stick chin out* and *angle arm out* while pictures are being taken.
Perfect low-calorie snack that satisfies like the crunch of a chip!

Getting in shape goes hand in hand with eating right !  For 3 weeks I cut processed sugar out totally and ate tiny portions.  After those 3 weeks I ate small portions and made smart choices. If I wanted a cookie, I had a cookie. Not 10, but 1. If you keep saying no to that 1 cookie, all you will think about is that 1 cookie.. and end up eating 10 cookies. I also tried to substitute juice with water.  This keeps you hydrated, but keeps unnecessary calories out of your body.  Eat 3 meals a day and small snacks throughout the day.  I hate when I hear someone say "I don't eat breakfast"  People please, your body needs nourishment.  Most of my lunches consisted of water, salad, yogurt and veggie chips.

Tips for Success

Try on a pair of jeans to track your progress
  • Keep track of your progress. I like to try on a pair of pants that are 'a little' tight and re-try them on every 3-4 weeks. 
  • Workout 4-6 times a week for 30-70 minutes. Yes getting in shape and having a great looking body takes time and dedication.
    • The more you put in, the more you will get out.
  • Weigh in once a week (same time every time, morning or night) on the same scale (remember clothes add a little, but not much).  Weight is a motivating factor, but don't get mad if you aren't losing 2 pounds every week.
  • Keep a log of when you workout. I kept a little notebook to keep me motivated.  When I looked at it, I either thought "great job, go me!" or "wow, I haven't worked out in 3 days, better get back to the gym!"  This is also a good way to keep track of how much weight you're lifting.
  • Don't be scared of the gym, weights and machines.  
  • If you have any questions, ask someone that works there.  The last thing you want is to use something improperly and hurt yourself. 
  • Working out is a great stress reliever, once the blood gets flowing, endorphins are released and make ya' feel great! 
  • Get up and GO! I can't tell you how many times I was dreading going to the gym, but once the workout was over, I had a 'workout-high' and was proud of myself. 
  • When you're working on a machine, look at a magazine to help pass the time and take your mind off the workout itself. (I love reading People!!) 
  • Bring your iPod. Music is the best to work-out to!
    Bring a small notepad with you to the gym to track your progress

23 songs on my iPod that I like to workout to:

  • Beat me up by Allison Iraheta
  • Best I Ever Had by Gavin DeGraw
  • Forever by Chris Brown (I always picture The Office Wedding Episode!)
  • I Do by Colbie Caillat (How can you not love this song when you are sheddin' for the weddin')
  • Pour some sugar on me by Def Leppard (on the highest volume that doesn't hurt your ears)
  • Calabria by Enur
  • I love it by Icona Pop
  • Electric Feel by MGMT
  • Alex Chilton by The Replacements
  • Untouched by The Veronicas
  • Five Minutes to Midnight by Boys Like Girls
  • Heels Over Head by Boys Like Girls 
  • Gimme More by Britney Spears
  • Womanizer by Britney Spears 
  • See You Again by Miley Cyrus
  • Single Ladies by Beyonce
  • Bad Romance by Lady Gaga
  • Love Games by Lady Gaga 
  • Come & Get It by Selena Gomez
  • Love You Like a Love Song by Selena Gomez 
  • Dont Say Nuthin' by The Roots
  • I Hope It Rains by Jana Kramer
  • My Paper Heart by The All-American Rejects

5 weeks of training 

Week 1

Day 1

Elliptical - 30 minutes

100 crunches
Day 2
Row- 5 minutes
Treadmill- 10 minute run, 10 minute walk
200 crunches
Day 3
Bike- 30 minutes Total: [5 minutes at resistance 5, 5 minutes at resistance 8, 5 minutes at resistance 12] x2
200 crunches
Day 4

Day 5
Run/Walk Outside- 30 minutes

Week 2

Day 1
Row- 10 minutes
Treadmill- 10 minute run
150 crunches
Day 2
Treadmill- 3 minute walk at incline 1, 9 minute run at incline 1, 3 minute walk at incline 1.5, 9 minute run at incline 1.5, 6 minute walk at incline 1
Ab Bench- [10 right side, 10 left side, 10 back] x3
Day 3
Day 4
Elliptical - 30 minutes, Fat Burner- alternates between resistance 1-4
Day 5
Row- 10 minutes
Treadmill- 10 minute run, 10 minute walk
200 crunches

Week 3

Day 1
Treadmill- 33 Minutes Total: 3 minute walk at incline .5, 7 minute run at incline .5, 3 minute walk at incline 1, 7 minute run at incline 1, 3 minute walk at incline 1.5, 7 minute run at incline 1.5, 3 minute walk/cool down
150 Crunches

Day 2
Treadmill- 30 Minutes Total: 2 minute walk at incline 1, 26 minute run at incline 1, 2 minute walk at incline 1
Lifting: Tricep Pull down, 2x20- 30 lbs. Bicep Curls, 2x20- 10 lbs.
Ab Bench- [10 right side, 10 left side, 10 back] x3

Day 3
Bike- 30 Minutes Total: 5 minute warm up,  5 minutes at resistance 5/below 90 RPM, 1 minute at res. 5/above 90 RPM, 7 minutes at res. 7/below 90 RPM, 1 minute at res. 7/above 90 RPM, 1 minute at res. 9/below 90 RPM, 1 minute at res. 9/above 90 RPM, 1 minute at res. 11/below 90 RPM, 1 minute at res. 11/above 90 RPM, 1 minute at res. 13/below 90 RPM, 1 minute at res. 13/above 90 RPM 5 minute cool down
200 Crunches

Day 4

Day 5
Elliptical - 30 minutes, Fat Burner- alternates between resistance 1-4
Strength Training- [10 push-ups, 10 squats, 10 tricep-dips, 10 lunges] x3

Week 4

Day 1
Treadmill- 30 Minutes Total: [3 minute walk at incline 1, 3 minutes run at incline 1, 1 minute sprint at incline 1, 3 minute walk at incline 1.5, 3 minutes run at incline 1.5, 1 minute sprint at incline 1.5] x2 2 minute cool down
Lifting: Tricep Pull down, 2x20- 30 lbs., Tricep exercise with dumbbell, 2x20- 20 lbs., Bicep Curls, 2x20- 10 lbs.

Day 2
Strength Training- Walk 10 minutes [20 Jumping Jacks, 5 Push-Ups, 10 Mountain Climbers, 5 Burpees, 20 crunches] x5

Day 3
Day 4
Elliptical - 30 minutes, Fat Burner- alternates between resistance 1-4
Ab Bench- [10 right side, 10 left side, 10 back] x3

Day 5
Treadmill- 41 Minutes Total: [3 minute walk at incline 1, 10 minutes run at incline 1, 10 minute sprint at incline 2, 3 minute walk at incline 2, 10 minute run at incline 1.5, 5 minute walk/cool down
Lifting: Tricep Pull down, 2x20- 30 lbs., Tricep exercise with dumbbell, 2x20- 20 lbs., Bicep Curls, 2x20- 10 lbs.

Week 5

Day 1
Treadmill- 24 minutes total: 3 minute walk at incline 1, 18 minute run at incline 1, 3 minute walk at incline 1
Bike- 20 minutes total: 10 minutes at resistance 9, 5 minutes at res. 11, 5 minutes at res. 8 Lifting: Tricep Pull down, 2x20- 30 lbs., Tricep exercise with dumbbell, 2x20- 20 lbs., Bicep Curls, 2x20- 10 lbs.
100 crunches

Day 2
Body Combat

Day 3

Day 4
Elliptical - 30 minutes
Lifting: Tricep Pull down, 2x20- 30 lbs., Tricep exercise with dumbbell, 2x20- 20 lbs., Bicep Curls, 2x20- 10 lbs.
100 crunches
Day 5
Row- 2000m
Bike- 20 minutes total: [2 minutes at resistance 8/above 50 RPM, 2 minutes at res.8/above 80 RPM] x5
150 crunches

* My favorite group classes are LesMills Body Pump, LesMills Body Combat, Zumba and Spinning*

If you are someone that does not like working out on their own, I would highly recommend these group classes.

Tricep exercise

Monday, September 16, 2013

Music at the Reception

          From the very beginning of planning Matt and I wanted a band at our reception.  His brother had a band at their reception and we loved it.  It was different than a DJ and brings such a lively atmosphere to your celebration.  A family friend of ours is in a great cover band The Friends With Benefits, unfortunately the lead singer was in a wedding the same day.  (errg!)  So we continued to search, but just couldn't find any bands we liked, in our price range.  Before looking too far into DJs in the area, we considered hiring someone to run music through an iPod.  My sister had done this at her wedding, so I knew it could be done.  Nerve racking, a little, if the iPod doesn't work, but it's so cost efficient and there are ways to back up the play list.  Bring 2 iPods and your computer with a back up hard drive to calm your nerves!

          When we decided on this, we had to find the perfect person to Emcee our reception.  Luckily, my brother's friend Abe was the perfect person with his upbeat personality!  I have known him since I was 12 so it was cool to have someone I knew well emcee.
Abe in action at the reception
  And I knew we could trust him!  Abe was all about it and we were so excited!  My brother is very talented with music and put our entire playlist together! (I am incredibly lucky) He had an hour of jazz music on a CD that the Columbia Station played during happy hour and the playlist on an iPod/computer for the reception. 

          I assigned my dad and brother to rent a sound system from the local music store.  ( I like to stress, that people want to help.  You just have to ask)  I think it was around 200$.  My brother picked the sound system up the morning of the wedding and met Abe at the Columbia Station to set it up (and make sure it worked!)

         We met up with Abe and my brother a week or so before the wedding to go over the schedule we had created (after meeting with our wedding coordinator, the Columbia Station provided one for the day of the wedding).  We also wanted to let him know everyone's name in the bridal party so he pronounced them correctly.
Reception Schedule for our Emcee

This could not have gone smoother.  Abe put on a wonderful show and had EVERYONE Dancing! When I say everyone, I mean it, photo proof:
Aunt Debbie bustin' a move
My Father in law on the dance floor!

My best friend and husband on the move

My younger cousins havin' a great time

My mother in law and her brother enjoying a dance!

College friends having the time of their life

College friends having the time of their life

Everyone dancing!

 Our Songs
Bridal Party Entrance- We go together from GREASE!
First dance-Lets Stay Together by Al Green
Father daughter dance- I loved her first by Heartland/remix! (see Father daughter dance entry)
Cake Cutting- All you need is love by the Beatles
Last song- I’ve had the time of my life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
Must Have Songs For Your Reception
  SHOUT out to the best Emcee ever, Abe! Full photo proof that an emcee with a great playlist works at your reception!

How to Dye Your Viel with Tea

I had heard the veil should be a shade darker than your dress, so your dress doesn't look dirty.  Well this was my exact problem! 2 weeks before the wedding I noticed my dress looked dirty when I put my veil on.  Can you say "Ahhh!!"

I had ordered my veil online from Simply Bridal.  Great website, with an abundance of choices between one tier, two tier, or three tier, attached comb, length, and trim.

I had always wanted a two tier veil so I could cover my face as I walked down the aisle with my dad. 

The next step to my decision was the length.  I knew 'blusher' was too short and 'cathedral' was too long.  So 'elbow', 'fingertip', or 'hip' it was!  Before narrowing my search too much I considered the trim.  My dress had gorgeous diamond beading and lace overlay at the top of the dress that I didn't want to compete with.  I decided to get a
Two tier, pencil edge, fingertip veil.  I went with an ivory color since my dress was white.  When the veil arrived in the mail, I was so excited! 30$ for a beautiful veil! What could go wrong?  I tried it on and loved it.  One thing I forgot.  To try it on with the dress!  I took it to my last dress fitting (2 weeks before my wedding) and my mom and I jaw's dropped.  My dress looked dirty (the color, it wasn't really dirty people!)  So we went on a mad search for a new veil.  We couldn't order one online, we were afraid it wouldn't ship in time.  We went to a few bridal shops such as David's Bridal and I couldn't cope with paying 130$ for a one tier veil.
A week away and we still had this dilemma!  Wear the wrong color veil.. pay 100$ or more for a veil you wear for 3 hours...  While thinking of solutions we were looking up ways to dye the veil.  Only problem is if it doesn't work, we would be back to square one
Remember using tea bags to weather your paper for history class? That's exactly what we did, but with the veil! 
How To Dye Your Veil With Tea
Step 1: Boil water in a large pot.  Add tea bags. The number of tea bags you will need depends on how much water you use and how dark you want to color to be.
Step 2: Rinse the veil in water. Your veil should be wet before placing the veil in the tea water.
Step 3: Try not to bunch or fold the veil, you don't want the veil to stain unevenly.
Step 4: Once the tea water has cooled, place it in a tub or Tupperware and let the veil submerge.  Let the veil soak for about 10 minutes.
Step 5: Remove the veil and rinse with clean water ( I used the shower )
Step 6: Hang the veil to air dry.  Make sure the veil isn't bunched or folded.  I hung it over the shower curtain rod.  I checked on it every couple minutes and changed the positioning of the veil so it dried without blotching.

The whole time we did this we were super nervous, but honestly what did we have to lose?  We made a few jokes "what if I am walking down the aisle and the veil starts to drip tea!?" My Aunt Tania says "It's okay I will just follow you around all day with a glass and squeeze the tea out!" Once the veil dried we held it up against the dress.. held our breath and then let out a sigh!  It worked!

Pencil edge, finger tip, two tier veil

The veil looked great with the dress!

You don't need to spend a fortune on your veil.  The tradition of the veil is to be worn as protection from evil spirits, but now it is a beautiful accessory that completes your bridal look.  Find one that complements your dress.  Don't forget to bring it to your hair trial  and when you get your hair done on your wedding day.  Have the hair stylist show your mom, MOH or a bridesmaid how to take the comb out without messing your hair up. 

I have been to 2 weddings where the veil came out during their ceremony.  One from a hug and one from the wind.  If this happens, just go with it!  It's better to go with it, then to get upset.  Gotta' love a laid back beautiful bride!

Have fun finding your perfect bridal veil!