Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My love for IKEA continues

Right before the wedding my mom and I took off for Chicago to pick up an inumerable amount of boxes and bits and pieces for our new cabinets. It's really a pretty cool, affordable way to do cabinets. You download their planner program, choose your cabinets in 3D, then go to the store and have an expert check it over and make the order. Then you go load up the most boxes you can actually imagine.

Once we got it all home, out of all of those boxes, there was only 1 that didn't have a part that we needed, and IKEA sent it to us in a couple of days' time. Dad was cursing when putting them together, but honestly they went pretty darn easily.

Yes, we're living in my parents' basement, but we are getting a brand new kitchen out of the deal. We call it the "apartment". It's really pretty great living here. I don't have to mow the lawn or cook dinner. Now, if I could just sell that house in Nashville.

As awesome as my mom's cooking is, I feel really weird without a kitchen of my own. I got a brand new Kitchenaid mixer that I'm SOOOOO excited about--it was the one gift that I wanted above all else on the registry--and I haven't even gotten it out of the box yet! What a crime!

And for some reason I really want to make fish tacos with guacamole. Strange. I know I could cook in my mom's kitchen upstairs, but it's just not the same.

Check out my cabinet up there--it's my happy place. It's full of nothing but brand new, beautifully organized wedding gifts! Thank you to everyone! I'm working on the thank you notes!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 7:35 AM :: (2) comments

Monday, September 29, 2008

Say what? No wedding brain?

Life in the country--finally a sense of what's "normal".

Yes, yes, it's true. For the first weekend since probably May, I didn't have anything I HAD to do. As I've told a couple of my friends--my period of extreme self aborbtion is over. And it's really nice. I'm glad everyone wanted to throw me lovely showers, etc, but it's just not my gig to the center of attention at all times.

Jason had to work at his new job--at the Geek Squad at Best Buy, and don't tell him, but it was nice to have a few moments to do some crafty work without feeling guilty for not paying attention to him. Not that he really wants me to pay attention, I just feel weird holing up with my sewing machine when my new husband is sitting around, seeming bored.

This weekend really felt like a breath. Like my mind could dare to dream about new projects and actually finishing others. I worked on the thank you notes--well, not nearly enough--but some, and I started a BIG new project which I hope to do a tutorial on. I'll give you a hint: it's a quilt-related thing.

And, I went to visit my friend Carrie's family farm and corn maze. I have a camera from work that my boss told me to "make friends with" so I went and shot around a little bit. We drove around the farms in the area a little and generally enjoyed the last of summer warm weather.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:26 AM :: (2) comments

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Last Wedding post--probably

All the DIY projects: We saved a TON of money--probably thousands of dollars--by doing things our own little way.

Here's the rundown:

1) The "guest book" I silkscreen fabric squares for people to sign and will be made into a quilt in the future.

2) the paintings: I wanted large splashes of wedding colors on the walls, so I used a hair-dye bottle to "draw" abstract designs, then we all pitched into paint in between the lines.

3) The table numbers: Made by my awesome friend Carrie, (she finally has something I can link to!) she got hunks of a branch and carved her own set of numbers to make printed table numbers and she hand-lettered the place cards, too!

4) the Centerpieces: Tissue paper flowers made by me, my mom (mostly), and anyone else who would sit still for long enough. I bought a Martha Stewart kit, and then went freelance from there.

5) The quilt: I didn't even plan this, but I got it done in time, and it made a great focus point for the room--and it was just so...me.

6) The punch. I didn't really make it myself, but I really loved the idea. Check out how we used up the extra flowers!

7) The invitations-
-that was a mother of a project, let me tell you.

Really, the whole wedding seemed DIY because it was exactly how I pictured it, and I feel like I made all the right decisions--not to toot my own horn or anything. I just couldn't have been happier with the way it turned out!

I think I'm wedding blogged out, at least for the time. Next week we'll be moving on to honeymoon.


Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:07 AM :: (0) comments

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Food--and the Cake

The cake was one of the things that I put on the "I'm not going to obsess over" list. I hardly remember the cakes at the last several weddings I've been to. It just gets cut so early, and I remember more about how it tastes than how it looks. I told my sister that and she reeled off the last 6 cakes she's eaten, and I had to take a second thought.

The day of the wedding, the cake was one of the things that made me super happy. It was just gorgeous! It was just exactly what I wanted, but didn't know it. I think the the decorator didn't want to do beige for the background, but it turned out wonderfully.

The cake came from Chez Monet in Jefferson City, Missouri. Joan did an amazing job. I'm trying to get her to let me design her a new website. It tasted unbelievable, too. We had 150 people at the wedding, and had cake for 220, but there were only 7 or 8 servings left of wedding cake. The proof is in the frosting, I guess.

I bought the topper at my favorite Nashville store--Pangaea. And I really loved it too. I have always loved the little bride and groom, so it was one thing I did that was very traditional, just for the fun factor.

The other big idea I had for food was the punch. I saw this punch in a jar idea in a Martha Stewart Wedding book, and we searched high and low for the containers--finally found them at Crate and Barrel. The punches are all in wedding colors, and were so delicious--at least that's what I heard--I only had a sip or two. I kept getting a glass of something and then setting it down to go out on the dance floor.

The catering was done exceptionally well by The Gourmet Guide from Jefferson City. I'm trying to design her a website also. We had appetizers down on the patio after the wedding--bruschetta and other crostini type stuff. The menu for dinner was their famous roast beef, this awesome bread-crumb chicken, twice baked potato casserole, green beans, and corn succotash like the Cheesecake Factory's.

The food was sooooo delicious. My dress was a little snug, or I would have had third helpings. As it was I couldn't even finish my entire meal. But we got to take the leftovers home, so I had it for the rest of the week. Except for the potatoes---they were devoured!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:02 AM :: (1) comments

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wedding Attire

Probably the most gut-wrenching part of having a wedding for me was the dress. In the beginning, there were lots of tears. I'll try to not go nutso on this aspect of things, but let me tell you--finding a dress for someone who is 6ft tall and built like a football layer with a killer rack (hehe)--is really difficult. So many of the styles these days are strapless, and while I think that's totally fine and beautiful for most people, I need some serious hardware to keep things up and at attention.

I think the first mistake I made was that the first place I went was a really upscale boutique in Green Hills in Nashville. The dresses were made for a 5'4 person, so when I put them on, no seam hit me where it was supposed to. The very sweet and apologetic sales girl told me that it would have to be custom made, and oh yeah, cost $5000. Hmmm. For a $10,000 budget, that just wasnt' going to work out. Insert much tears, talk of making the dress ourselves, and general drama.

Then I walked into this place in Nashville called Bridal Warehouse. And I walked out with my dress in my arms and without $600 in my wallet. I know lots of people find dresses for less, and on the sale rack, etc. etc., but after countless bridal stores, tales of 16 week "if you're lucky" wait lists to get your dress, I was thrilled. This was a dress that I had torn out of a magazine because I thought it would be flattering. I didn't even realize I had pulled the same dress off the rack when I tried it on, but immediately I felt at home in it and so closed the book on the dress drama. It's a Casablanca from 2006, by the way.

Kim and my mom made the veil, which was lovely, and definitely didn't cost $200 like the ones in the store. It is totally doable to make your own veil, and totally crazy that some people spend that kind of money. And I don't know about anyone else, but mine was trashed by the end of the night--torn, stained, you name it.

And now for the attendant's outfits. While I have seen plenty of examples of brown bridesmaids and black tuxes, for our outdoor wedding, I just didn't feel settled about that. Coupled with a less than stellar staff at Men's Warehouse, our trusty pal Chris Cannon (left in the above photo) took us to K&G menswear in Nashville (but they're all over the south) and we picked out lovely tan suits and green ties. Total cost for suit, tie and shirt? $125. And they got to keep them.

Jason's sister was a groomswoman, so she got a special wrap made by my mom to match the guy's ties.

The girls' outfits were just awesome. We went for the JCrew Ballerina in brown, paired with some cute pumps. I have a horrible hatred for bridesmaids dresses--you can spend $275 on a dress just to feel and look so terrible in it--and the seams weren't sewn to boot! The bridesmaid dress industry is really really shitty, pardon my french. They use totally crap materials, sew them badly in a way that is so not flattering and takes advantage of the poor helpless bridesmaid. Nothing says you're one of my closest friends like "Will you please stand up with us for our wedding and wear this hideous plastic death trap and pay $200 for it?" I know that's not anyone's intention at all, it just seems impossible to avoid, especially when you're inundated with wedding stuff.

I think if I had had more attendants, they might have worn different outfits in the same color, but as it was, my sisters really liked their dresses--right?

Anyway, everyone looked just beautiful and amazing, and hopefully liked their outfits also.


Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:00 AM :: (2) comments

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Flowers from Heaven!

Our wedding flowers were one of my favorite parts of the whole day. I knew I loved flowers, but they weren't at the top of my priority list. I totally underestimated the visual power that flowers have. They really set the color scheme for the event, and they show up in every photo! Besides the bridesmaids dresses (and I wasn't going to make them wear orange) This is truly one of the most important places to introduce and establish the day's color choices.

I was so very lucky to have my cousin Kim fly in from New York for the wedding. She would have come anyway because she loves me, but I also asked her to do my flowers. She has experience working for Martha Stewart Weddings--and is generally brilliant where all things artsy/craftsy are concerned.

Here's how we did the flowers:
1) We only did attendants flowers, I didn't ask the flower crew to also do alter decs or table centerpieces
2) I did a dry run to the St. Louis wholesale flower mart of Baisch & Skinner, then I ordered $80 worth of roses, fern curls, thai leaves for greenery and billy balls.
3) The remaining flowers--80% of the total flowers--came from my mom's amazing garden.
4) Kim had an awesome floral crew of her mom, Susan, and my dear friend and high school art teacher Barb Peck.
5)The day of the wedding, they went out into the yard and cut away. I really didn't see a whole lot of the process, but according to my Mom, Kim kept sending Susan out into the yard to get just the perfect bloom for the spot she was working on. This is where Kim and I depart ways--I don't possess the capacity to be a perfectionist like that. It paid off!
6) I chose some ribbons to hang off the bottom of the bouquets because I like the blowing in the wind effect--and because I'm tall I did everything I could to LENGTHEN. and Kim picked up some great ribbon in NYC for the boutennieres.

So from my mom's garden, we knew that we wanted TONS of zinnias--they're one of my favorite flowers, in all the right colors, and they are easy to grow in great quantity.

But Mom also had lots of other plants just because she likes them, and I don't even know what all got cut and put into bouquets--goldenrod, hosta leaves, pincushion (those little purple balls) and who knows what. We save thousands of dollars by doing things this way!

I was just thrilled with the flowers all day long, and especially looking back on the photos of the day. They were totally the focal point of the wedding attire!

I know I could never have found such a talented florist anywhere in Mid-Missouri, but besides that, I feel so blessed that people I love made the flowers that day. I felt so loved and taken care of. I told you---acts of service!


Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:42 AM :: (2) comments

Monday, September 15, 2008

in the rearview mirror

Well, we're two weeks in and so far, being married is pretty great. The Italian honeymoon was everything we could ask for, but we're so glad to be back home. I know a lot of people say that it's kind of a let down after all the parties and hoopla. I really just feel peaceful and I'm happy to be able to look back on the wedding and the honeymoon and know that it all went beautifully and blissfully. It's so great to look forward to findin the new "normal" for our new lives together and in Missouri.

This morning driving to work I thought "Hey, look! It's fall and I'm in Missouri." Like for some reason it just clicked that I just up and spun my whole life around. I guess while the carousel is spinning, you just hold on. Maybe it's only when your ride is over that you realize you stepped off into a whole different pair of shoes that the ones you started in. In my case, it's to old tennis shoes with clumps of mud on them from the strappy sandals of Nashville life. And these old sneakers feel great.

I'll try to relate to you the monumentality of the wedding in easy-to-digest tidbits. For right now, here are some of the photos I've picked out of 3,000. I can't seem to look at the photos without shedding a tiny tear for the beautiful day that it was. It was so fun, so happy, so colorful. Just like we wanted it. My mind's snapshots of the day are looking out into the crowd and thinking that all my very favorite people were there (a few only in spirit), and that there was glorious bright color everywhere. Perfect.

In looking back, I am so thankful to all the people who went above and beyond to make the day just perfect--really, you just don't find friends like we have everyday. I give and receive love in the form of acts of service. I feel most comfortable working to DO something for someone, and I feel extrememely grateful to all the angels out there who worked their tails off just for our wedding day. It meant so much more to have all of you use your talents to contribute than for me to hire some stranger. I love you all!

I'll be going into more details about individual aspects of the wedding in the next few posts--then it will be onto the honeymoon!!


Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:11 AM :: (3) comments

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Where I'll be for the next week

The Gladiators and Terrapille-DSC0223
Originally uploaded by Giuseppe Toscano

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm taking off on my honeymoon. We're going to this amazing corner of the world: Pienze, Italy. This is a home and farm called Terrapille. They filmed one of the last scenes of Gladiator there. It's also known as an "Agriturismo" in Italy--a working farm that also allows boarders. My cousins Mark and Jessica stayed here back in the spring and highly recommended it.

We're renting a car in Rome at the airport--funny since the most crazy driving I remember from the first trip I made to Italy happened right outside the airport. I'm a little concerned, but determined to stay strong!

I could write so much more, and I wish I had had the time to schedule out posts for the next week to keep you interested, but alas, it's busy time at work and I needed to pack!!

Have a great week, and be ready for a barage when I get home!!


Posted by Beth Howard @ 7:40 AM :: (1) comments