Well, I've used one of these monograms that I made already for my tears of joy, however, I'm trying ...
Save-the-Dates & Wedding Website
My fiance' and I decided to use an idea from my cousin who got married almost two years ago. My cousin decided to send electronic save the dates, which they had designed.
To be green and economically savvy, my fiance' with his fancy MAC and design programs, created and designed our save-the-dates, which featured our engagement photos and our monogram. We used a website called Constant Contact which allows you to send out electronic emails and track the emails. The service costs but you get a 60 day trial period to use their services. It's wonderful service and allows you add the emails and send out a mass email with your save the date. You can design you own save the date, use the email formats to insert your design and then email it out.
We also designed our own wedding site through wedding window. We chose the package that allows quite a bit of customization. My fiance' did most of the design and setup of the website, and I added most of the content and details. Please feel free to visit our wedding website at www.FredandJerrel.com. Our website will also allow our guests to RSVP online making it really convenient for us and our guests who have internet access. However, we did make accommodations for those who do not.
If you want to try any of these ideas out, please feel free to ask me how to set it up!
I will note that we did send out about 25 or so printed save-the-dates for those of our guests who don't have email address. For this we just went to Michael's and bought some self printed Save-the-Dates that were on sale and we just downloaded the template and inserted our selected wording and printed it from our home printer.
Say Yes to the Dress... FINALLY
After months and months and months of searching high and low, I finally found my dress and was able to say yes to the dress.
I never thought that my search for my wedding dress would be so difficult! Of all of the things that I had to do on my long To Do List, finding my dress was on my top 3 list followed behind the venue and bridesmaid dresses. I got engaged almost a year from now, and I started researching styles and designs a month after. I took a break from my search process for a couple of months while my fiancé' and I were figuring out our living and work situations.
I returned to my search shortly after we found our venue and paid the deposit last August. I visited a couple of bridal shops in Atlanta, one being the famous "Say Yes to the Dress" at Lori's Bridals. My Matron of Honor and Maid of Honor as well as two of my hostess joined me during the fittings. After a couple of hours of trying on several dresses, I had narrowed down my search to two dresses, but I was not ready to commit to either one of them. I wanted my parents to be able to come down and see the dress on me and seek their approval. All my friends had agreed on liking the same dress, but I wasn't convinced.
I went to a few other bridal salons in the area, but nothing was taking my breath away and I wasn't comfortable with choosing any of the dresses.
My parents and brother scheduled a trip in November to Atlanta to see my try on some of the bridal dresses. I scheduled three different visits. We went to another bridal salon that had the same dress that everyone had fallen in love with but was about 1000 cheaper than the same dress at Lori's Bridals. After trying on several dresses including the "favorite," I had narrowed my selection to two dresses, but still was not settled on either one.
December came and went, and I knew my time was growing slim, because the ladies in the bridal shop kept reminding me of that. As January was moving by, I started to get very uneasy because I had not settled on a dress for myself or for my bridal party.
I decided to take a 4-hour trip to SC to a bridal shop that had both the "favorite" dress for another $300 less than the cheapest bridal salon here in Atlanta, and they had the dresses I was interested in for my bridal party. Therefore, I took a day off from work and traveled to SC with my Line Sister who is also one of my hostesses. I really enjoyed my experience there and the selection of dresses on me pleased me immensely. However, even after all of that, I still was not settled on anything.
Upon returning back to Atlanta, we decided to visit another bridal salon that carried the Sophia Tolli dresses, which I thought were gorgeous; however, they didn't have many of the dresses that I liked from their collection. I tried on a few of them and took pictures.
Later that evening, I sent my family photos of the dresses I tried on that same day in SC and Atlanta. My parents selected their favorites, but I was not ready to make a choice yet.
It was now the last week in January, and I started to get very anxious that I had not selected my dress yet. Therefore, I decided to go back to the bridal salon my parents visited with me. My line sister went with me again.
I tried back on the two dresses that I had narrowed it down to the last time I was there. I still liked both of them, but I decided to try on a few more dresses I hadn't tried on before. This experience like the bridal salon in SC was a great one. I liked so many of the dresses I tried on this time compared to the last time, which made it even harder to make a selection. They ladies were very helpful, but them reminding me that I needed to narrow it down and make a selection was unnerving at times, because I was fully aware of that.
After spending a couple of hours in the bridal store, I had narrowed it down to 4 dresses, the two before and two new dresses. After words from my bridal consultant to help me with narrowing down my selection, I was able to narrow it down to the "favorite" dress and a newcomer.
The "newcomer" had just gone on sale, but I didn't want the sale price to influence my decision and I still wanted confirmation from my family on picking my dress. They had seen the "favorite" but not the "newcomer" Before leaving the salon at closing, the lady who was assisting me told me the sale price and it was so unbelievably low that I knew it was going to be hard for me to pass up, but I knew that it wasn't going to influence my decision because I wanted the dress that I bought to be the dress for me that I felt beautiful and comfortable in.
I thanked my line sister for being such an amazing friend and being there for me during this long journey and coming with me on every bridal visit since last October. During our conversation, I told her that I still was not sure as to which dress was my dress. She told me which dress do you see yourself walking down the aisle in and Fred looking at you in. Which dress do you actually see yourself in on our wedding day? That little piece of advice was enough to help me move closer to a decision. Then she ended by telling me to go home sleep on it and pray about it.
I knew that I was going to have act quickly because that sale on that dress was not going to stay on the rack for long. I went home and sent my parents and brother the two dresses I was deciding between to get their insight. They all chose the "newcomer" because they thought it looked best on me in a photo. In person, the "favorite" probably was a prettier dress, but in photos it wasn't as flattering on me and pictures are what last for forever and are the memories you live with.
I went to sleep, prayed about it and woke up the next morning still without a clear answer. But when I thought about it "the newcomer" was the dress I felt the most comfortable in, I liked the way it looked on me from all sides, and I realized that if I bought this dress I knew I would have no apprehensions about wearing it, and I had no desire to look for another dress like I had with all the others including the "favorite."
Therefore, as soon as the bridal shop opened at 10:00 am on Saturday during the first week of February, I called the bridal shop and bought the dress. After I bought it the dress, I was at peace with my decision, and that is why I knew I made the right decision for me.
Ceremony & Reception
After months and months of searching high and low and all across Atlanta and the outskirts of Georgia, we finally found a wedding venue to host both our reception and ceremony. This was definitely a momentous occasion for both of us. I know I am terribly late posting this because we found our venue last August.
We saw many awesome places around and outside the city; however, the issue with many of the places was that it was not large enough for our guest list with the dance floor included.
Besides it having adequate space, what makes this place a gem is that the cost is reasonable and it was an all-inclusive place.
For the Love of Money - O'Jays
This is the song I think of when my fiancé' and I decided to set our budget. The budget I thought we could do our wedding under was quite unrealistic for our size wedding and location. So after many many visits to find the perfect venue with a reasonable budget for our size wedding, we locked and loaded on it. However, the budget we wanted was doubled. We just saw that in order to do and have most of the things that we wanted, we needed to be more realistic with our budget.
Who would have thought that weddings would be sooo expensive! It’s no wonder people elope in Vegas or fly off to the Caribbean to have a Destination wedding. If it were up to my fiancé, we would have already eloped or had a destination wedding. But the reason we haven’t is because I am such a family-oriented person and we both have very large families (meaning parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and first cousins) that included half of our guest list, instead of jetting it somewhere in Jamaica or Hawaii, we will be in Douglasville, GA.
What has been really helpful to our budget is that fact that the price for an all-inclusive package at our venue is extremely reasonable. It is a great price point for the number of guests and what all is included in the package. It has made planning more efficient and easier on me.
Our budget which is under $20,000, which is extremely reasonable for our guest count of 200, (this will include – photographer, ceremony w/ stage and décor and chairs, tables and covers, table runners, decorated buffet table, cake table, cake, cake cutting, flowers, dress, engagement rings, table centerpieces, food, tux, alcohol, hors devours, wedding coordinator, and DJ) but if the number of guests that RSVP back saying "No" is reduced to 175 or even 150, you will not see any tears from us. Reduced head count equals more money saved in our pockets! :)
After stating all of the above, I am satisfied with our budget even though it doubled from what we originally thought would be satisfactory. But the budget we have set out is reasonable for our guest number, and we are going to remain strict to that budget. Wish us luck on have a smaller guest list in attendance than our upper limit of 200...our pockets will be very pleased! :)
Good Afternoon again WBC Ladies! I am in a very posting mood, maybe because I am stuck in the house dealing with allergy and sinus issues with the changing weather! Ugh!
Anyway, I posted earlier my engagement/proposal story, now I thought I should take some time to chat about my wedding party, specifically my bridesmaids. I always knew after college that I would have certain people apart of my bridal party. And now that that time has finally come, I began going to work on how to ask my friends and family members to be my bridesmaids. Let me first say that I had no idea about the bridal etiquette of asking people to be bridesmaids. My cousin, who will be one of my Matron's of Honors asked me few months after I had gotten engaged how I was going to ask my bridesmaids. I simply told her, I was going to call them ask them. You should have heard the dead silence on the phone. She said, "What call them?" She proceeded to educate me on the bridesmaid etiquette and gave me some awesome ideas of her own, told me what she had done, as well as pointed me in the direction where I could gather more ideas.
Fred and I discussed our wedding party, how many people to have and who would those people be. Earlier in our relationship before our engagement we had talked about this kind of thing. I told him that I always wanted 7 because numbers mean things to me from the biblical sense and 7 is the number of completion. At first he thought that was way too many and said he could not even think of 7 people he would want to ask to be a groomsmen. I was a bit disappointed by his response, but I this disappoint would change in the future after our engagement.
Back to the present... After creating a Google joint account designated for joint things and all things wedding, I started a Google document for our wedding party. I wrote down all the people who I wanted to be in my wedding. Off the top I knew 5 of the 7, but I was having difficulty figuring out the other two people to have as part of my bridal party. I was quite conflicted over who to and not to ask. I thought long and hard and prayed over it as well, because even though it may not seem to be that serious, your bridesmaid can really make or break the wedding planning experience. I heard horror stories over bridesmaids egos, attitudes, lack of assistance, etc. My cousin, also my Matron of Honor gave me some great advice based on her experience. She said don't ask anybody that you have doubts about, question, or second guess having them. Those people are usually the ones that you end up regretting asking them to be apart of your special day. That advice along with my own prayer over it helped me select my wedding party.
My wedding party consists of: 2 Matron of Honors, 1 Maid of Honor, 4 Bridesmaids and 1 Jr. Bridesmaids
My first Matron of Honor is my Cousin-in-Law ( I selected her because she is great at this wedding planning stuff, she is the only person in my bridal party that lives in Atlanta with me, she also likes to do this kind of thing as well)
My second matron of honor is my bestfriend from college and my Line sister. We are very much alike and she always gives sound advice even when I don't want to hear it... We have been though a lot together
My Maid of Honor is my longest, and oldest best friend. We have been friends since elementary school. We share a lot of the same values, goals, and aspirations. We are also very much alike in the way we see the world and see life. No matter how long we go without talking it's like we have never missed a beat.
My Bridesmaids- 2 are my best friends from High School and another one is my Line sister and dear friend from college and the other one is my fiance' best friend and my neo/spec (sorority sister)
My junior bridesmaid is my fiance' niece.
Now as far as asking them to be apart of my wedding party, I have composed a unique letter to each person stating our friendship and relationship and why I want them to be apart of this day. I also wrote them each a poem tailored to them. I got them individualized "Will You be My _______" cookies and 2 charms -- 1 that describes their personality and another that goes with the theme of our wedding.
I am going to send them their packages next week, but I wanted to have my location and date set for the wedding before then. I am super excited about my bridesmaid gifts and I cannot wait for them to receive them in the mail.
I will post pictures of everything together as soon as I receive the Bridesmaid Cookies in the mail!
Our 4 Year Anniversary
March 7, 2011 marked our 4 year anniversary. Since the start of our relationship it has been one of long distance. At first the distance was as far as Florida and Tennessee, and after that we got a little closer with North Carolina and Georgia. And now we are anticipating the next month when Fred moves to Georgia! At that point that will be the first time in our 4+ year relationship that we have lived in the same location. We could not be anymore excited about this!
Now back to the proposal, but I thought she should have some background information first. So, we had made plans for me to drive up to N.C. to spend the entire weekend and week there to celebrate our anniversary. Fred had planned this romantic getaway for the weekend at the Biltmore; however, those plans quickly went out the window when I was schedule for a job interview. So reluctantly, I took the interview which was schedule on Monday morning, the same day as our anniversary date . So once again, Fred had to change his anniversary surprise plans with me because I would not get to NC until the evening. I took my interview that morning which started late because they had a different time that was told to me. Needless to say, all the trouble was worth the wait because I was offered the job. After the completion of the interview and running around after to complete some errands, I was finally on the road, almost 1 or 2 after my predicted time. Once Fred heard about all the drama going on back in Atlanta, he once again had to alternate his plans for our anniversary celebration.
Fred told me that we had dinner reservation at 7:00 pm and don't you know that after 6 hours or so of driving up to NC, I made it there at 6:40 pm. I hopped out of the car and into his car and off we went to have dinner that would be unforgettable! I had no idea what was in store for me at dinner. Because I was late I was oblivious to all of the signs... For example, when I arrived to his apartment, he didn't even give me a hug which was unusual, but he had already jumped into the car. I didn't think anything of it except the fact that oh it's probably rushing me because we have 7:00 dinner reservations when in fact it was because the ring was in his inside coat pocket (he he he).
We arrived at the Brazilian Restaurant in Raleigh, NC called Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse. I was super excited once I found out that we were going to be eating at a Brazilian steakhouse. I have been to one before Fire of Brazil back home in TN, but it has been several years since then so I was ready to dig in! Eating at this place was also a pretty big deal because my fiance' was stepping out of his comfort zone and trying a new place with different cuisines. I am always encouraging him try new foods. As we were getting out of the car to head into the restaurant, my anniversary present was in the trunk of the car and apparently it was too big for him to hide so he made me close my eyes and walk in front of him so that he could carry it behind me with out me sneaking a peak.
We went inside Brasa and the hostess took us to our reserved table. Once we got to the table, there were a beautiful set of flowers on the table. I was super geeked because I absolutely love flowers and because getting them from him is rare and a special treat. We sat down at the table and ordered a bottle of wine and the gold plate dinner. The food was absolutely fantastic as well as the wine.
Around half way though dinner, Fred asked me if I wanted my anniversary present. I declined and said that I wanted to wait until the end of dinner or around dessert. After my response, the conversation between us went kind of dead, so I asked him, "Do you really want me to open up my present now?" He replied, "Yes I really would like you to open it now," so I conceded to his request. He pulled from under the table a Build a Bear box. Immediately my face lit up because I am a stuffed animal fanatic and especially towards Build-A-Bears! I opened up the box and pulled the bear our and read the Birth Certificate and proceeded to ask him a million questions about the bear. The tan colored bear was dressed in a black tuxedo and black bow-tie. Once again oblivious to the attire of the bear, I simply thought he was dressed in a suit and bow-tie. Nothing unusual because my fiance' wear bow-ties frequently.
I put the bear back in the box and Fred looked at me like "Are you serious, did you just put the bear back in the box when there is more?" He kindly told me, "The bear talks hunny." I replied quite ecstatically, "Oh really it does!" I quickly pulled the bear back out of the box and looked eagerly for the button to hear what the bear had to say. I looked everywhere on the bear from hugging him, to pressing his foot, arm, and paw (but just not the right paw). After all my searching and his anxiety over me looking for the button, he told me that the button was on his right paw. I pressed the bear's right paw and out from it was Fred's voice saying "Will You Marry Me?" I was in shock, stunned, and I looked up at him and there he was with a beautiful cherry wood ring box and the most amazing and gorgeous ring ever! I said yes of course, but he didn't hear me so he had to ask me again after I asked him all the questions about preparing for the proposal, asking for my parents blessings, among other things.
The ring was truly stunning. I was quite surprised not by the beauty, but because it was not the ring I thought it was going to be. I love this ring over the one I thought it was going to be and over any of the rings that we looked at when we went engagement ring shopping. My engagement ring encompasses everything that I had expressed that I wanted in the rings I had looked at prior. I am so happy with his hob of picking out the ring all by himself. And of course he stuck with our favorite designer, Scott Kay.
After dinner and dessert, we went back to his apartment and I called my parents, close friends, and relatives to share the good news. It did not take long for the news to spread in my family even though I have a really large extended family. And then for the rest of the week, I spent time composing a nice text message including pictures of the ring to send to my other friends and family whom I didn't not call.
My only regret from the entire experience was that we didn't take any pictures of our proposal night.