Tuesday, November 27, 2007

i heart nyc

It is definitely crunch time for me, with finals and huge papers due within the next two weeks. I am going to take a little break from blogging so that I can try and maintain my focus. Nothing can be more distracting than pretty dresses and flowers! However, when I wake up from this school induced coma, I will be in Manhattan visiting my lovely bridesmaid Amelia and my brother. After a manicure and a wild night out for Amelia's birthday, I plan on sleeping. When I finally wake up, I plan on roaming around Manhattan and Brooklyn visiting all the fun wedding-y shops that I have been reading about. And going ice skating and tree visiting with Jake!

Here is my short list of shops. I thought I had more, but now I can't find my list!

Send me more ideas if you have them! Until then, take care!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

i heart pale pink and green

Jake helped me finish a new board this morning and I am in love with it. I dropped the yellow and picked up a little more green. I think it will really complement Cafe Brauer, my dress and the other accessories that I have been purchasing. There are lots and lots of flowers...

Images from
Martha: row 3, first image; row 4, first image
Livia Cetti: row 1, middle image
Petal Play Designs: row 2, last image
Bloom Room (thank you Daisy Chain): all other images

He also helped me make a few fun changes to the site in keeping with the theme. What do you think?

Friday, November 23, 2007

i heart my christmas tree

Jake and I put up our Christmas tree today. This is one of my absolute favorite days of the year. Three years ago, we started traveling to Tamen Treeberry Farm in Wilmington, IL with my family. Cutting down our first tree together was so exciting and so loving... then we came home and realized that we had nothing to hang on it. Neither of us had had a tree until that point and so we only had a few random ornaments that we had collected as gifts. We went to Menards and bought a few strands of lights and a bucket of colorful plastic ornaments. We weren't that crazy about hanging unsentimental plastic ornaments on our tree, but we didn't have a lot of money and it seemed strange to start buying a whole bunch on our own. We decided that each time we bought or received an ornament, we would take off one of the plastic ornaments until we didn't need them anymore.

This year we didn't have to hang one of those plastic ornaments. I am not even sure what to do with them. We have received so many as gifts and as a result of wonderful trips that our tree is full.

We hung a few ornaments from our very romantic trip to San Diego. We found ornaments from the ornament exchange that is part of his family's annual Christmas Eve party. There were ornaments from the exchange that I do with my girlfriends. There were cute bride and groom ornaments that we received as gifts last year. There was a few that included our dog, Maisy. We started telling stories of where they came from- and I just felt so fortunate. I am so glad that we get to do that every year and remember how loved and lucky we are.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays to everyone reading this! I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as ours.

And yes, those are actual wrapped gifts under our tree. I am also thankful for a fiance that loves to wrap presents because I HATE it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

i heart chicago

from my very talented photographer, Dean Thorsen

After seeing this post on Chitown Bride, I was inspired to start a little Chicago blogroll. Check it out on the right hand side. I LOVE my beautiful city and all the creativity it has to offer. I have been trying to include as much local stuff as I can, but I think I could do a little more. I have learned in the past few weeks that there are quite a few talented Chicago bloggers and I hope this will recognize their inspiration in a special way. If I left you off, I don't know about you! Please leave a note in the comments so that I can highlight your work as well.

i heart a good love story

How sweet are these two?

Can you believe that they are 84 and 93? I just love that she is all decked out with the white dress, fur shrug and tiara and he is wearing a hat and tails. I love this quote from London's Daily Mail, too:
Deputy superintendent registrar Christine Howle told the ceremony: "If you have an open heart love can find you whatever time of life you are in."
They just look so excited and happy. Go read the whole article for a little warm fuzzy.

Monday, November 19, 2007

i heart personlized napkins, take two

I posted awhile ago about the adorable personalized napkins that my mom purchased for our engagement party. I received an email today from For Your Party announcing a few new additions to their site. The site has received a pretty major overhaul since I ordered last summer and it is definitely for the better. Everything is very interactive and creative. I think they have really changed up the old personalized matchbooks and their new products are pretty gorgeous.

Click on "Get the Look" to see the results of their partnerships with Hello!Lucky and Cid Pear. Here are my favorites-

It is a little too easy to coordinate everything... this might be addictive. I love the coasters n the last design. Speaking of coasters, these leather beauties would make a fun gift-
I also love that you can send them an image that you created for your wedding and they will work with you to incorporate it into your printed items. If you designed a monogram or a brand, you can create all kinds of fun things with it.

Oh, and they are based out of the Chicago area. Bonus!

Friday, November 16, 2007

i heart fall colors

Elizabeth at Elizabeth Anne Designs created this gorgeous fall inspiration board. I love the warm colors and, as she noted, the lack of leaves. I love fall leaves but it is a pretty common item of decor when someone is aiming for the fall look. Its fun to see something that gives off the fall glow without actually using leaves.

I love the hem of that gown. I also love the loose arrangement of the centerpiece and the bouquet. Thank you for the inspiration, Elizabeth!

i heart the violet hour

There is a GORGEOUS bar in Chicago that I have been itching to get back to- the Violet Hour. The whole time I was there I could not stop thinking about the amazing wedding reception that I could throw there. Talk about design inspiration! When I saw photos on Apartment Therapy- Chicago I could hardly contain myself. One day, I will have a room that looks just like this:

It reminds me of Versailles. I love those deep blue velvet curtains and the white framing on the walls. If I were to plan a wedding reception there, I would swap out those tall, dark chairs for cozy white couches. The flowers would be soft pink with hints of silver like this bouquet from housemartin.

If you have not been and you live in Chicago, you need to go. If you have not been to Chicago... well, you are missing out on many levels! The customer service at Violet Hour unreal- the doorman apologized for not being able to seat us, then escorted us inside to a spot at the bar and handed us a menu. The drinks are original and delicious. I am looking for an excuse to go back!

i heart christmas desserts

As I had previously mentioned, I am a total pushover for anything Christmas related. Jake and I were in a local home store last night to check out their Christmas decor. The store is warehouse sized and their Christmas items fill up an entire room. It is like my Candyland. I realized that my decor standards drop a bit when it comes to carved wooden Santas and glitter encrusted ornaments. I don't think that I need to compromise, however, when it comes to these gorgeous cakes from the Cake Girls in Chicago.

These would be a lot of fun for a winter wedding. That wreath would be beautiful on top of a larger tiered cake- even if you changed the colors to fit your wedding. That snowman is my favorite. I love how he looks like he is dancing!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

i heart yellow

In an attempt to find a little more yellow inspiration, Jake helped me put together another inspiration board.

I think I need to keep working on this. I'm not sure the images flow together the way I would like them to, and yet they are some of my favorites. Making this board also taught me that I need to do a better job noting where my images come from (if they aren't from Martha)!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

i heart holiday cards

I am a total sucker for Christmas- the music, the decor, the baking, the family time- and when I heard about a holiday card swap on Brooklyn Bride this morning I was pretty excited! Head over there if this is something you might be interested in!

This will motivate me to get a little more creative on the cards this year and it will probably give me an excuse to get out my favorite crafty tool, the embossing blow dryer. I went to town with this thing while making our engagement party invitations. Now I get to start thinking about design...

i heart atelier isabey

So, back to my dream wedding. I found these gorgeous invitations on {frolic} from Atelier Isabey today and they would be perfect! I looked at the design and thought, "oh, I could use these for my imaginary English wedding!" and then I looked read the invite and realized that that was exactly what these were designed for.

I absolutely love the color, the texture and they style of these invitations. The detail is gorgeous, particularly the return address label on the rsvp card. I never realized how difficult it would be to choose invitations. There are just so many lovely options. These are definitely on the list!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

i heart hidden chicago venues

I wanted to highlight a few of the amazing places to get married in Chicago. When I was writing about how I chose our reception venue, I realized that there were quite a few notable contenders that I didn't mention. The search for "a hall" (as Jake kept calling it) was a little overwhelming because there are so many options. Here are a few more to keep the newly engaged guessing.

Women's Club of Evanston

I did not hear about the Women's Club until after Jake and I had booked with Cafe Brauer, but it definitely would have been a contender! This historic location is in beautiful Evanston, a suburb just north of the city. The ballroom, which holds up to 250, reminds me of an old dance hall. I LOVE when there is a stage for a band. If you are looking for something uniquely vintage and classic, this is a great option.

Cortelyou Commons, DePaul

I used to walk by Cortelyou Commons everyday on my way to the Red Line, but I had no idea what was inside until I worked on a wedding there. Located in the historic area of DePaul University’s Lincoln Park campus, this building is set in a courtyard surrounded by gorgeous, old homes built around the turn of the century. The dark wood, fireplace and antique chandeliers would set the stage for a gorgeous winter wedding. I never hear about this place on the wedding sites and I don't think that DePaul does much to market it, so it would be perfect for someone looking for a beautiful and unique space.

A New Leaf

A New Leaf is tucked inside a beautiful flower shop on Wells Street in the Old Town neighborhood. There is an outdoor courtyard and garden, perfect for Chinese lanterns. It has a the feel of a large loft space, with lots of exposed brick and modern lines. The only downside is that it was a little too small for our group, only 150 can fit. It would be perfect for a more intimate wedding or a cocktail or station style reception.

Murphy Auditorium

This is a relatively new space for the Chicago area. It used to hold meetings for the American College of Surgeons until it underwent renovations to serve as an event space. Gorgeous brand new hardwood floors, stained glass and a jaw dropping front hallway. Strangely enough, I really loved the bathrooms! The reception room itself has a unique round shape and seating upstairs for guests looking to watch the action from afar.

Architectural Artifacts

This is one of those amazing modern places that is just a blank canvas for a creative couple. Hang greens from the columns, candles in the window spaces or just leave it clean and you can set any tone for your wedding. The space includes an impressive garden with 25-foot columns, archways, marble urns and seasonal green foliage.

Good luck to anyone searching for a reception space. I hope this helped!

i heart housemartin

I have been scouting the housemartin site for awhile now, waiting for my bouquet. The writer, who owns ink & peat home and floral in Portland, makes THE most gorgeous bouquets. Each one is so unique, with amazing texture and color. I am always sooo in love when I see a new post in my Google Reader with another wedding bouquet or centerpiece that she designed. As amazing as they each were, I sat waiting. None of them quite hit the mark as far as printing it for discussions with my florist until I saw this beauty:

It is just what I have been waiting for. Done and done.

i heart THESE garters

I decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to have a garter toss at my wedding. The whole "husband's head under my dress in public" thing in the middle of my lovely reception strikes me as a little crass- and I am going for class. I know its tradition and a lot of people include it as part of the entertainment for the night, but I have been ignoring tradition left and right so I am at peace with this decision. Then Jake told me that he planned on going under my dress and then coming back up with a HUGE pair of underpants (and some other symbolically dirty things that I won't mention here) and that sealed the deal- no go on the garter toss.

A post on Monolo for the Brides today made me think twice about skipping the garter all together. These etsy finds change up the traditional image of a bridal garter.

From Bayou Bijoux

Peacock feathers! From MiaVonMinx

From Primrose Bride

From piperewan

It might be fun to hide one of these under my dress. I just won't show Jake, because next thing you know the Bulls theme song will be playing and giant underpants will be flying.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

i heart sylvia weinstock

I kinda wish Sylvia Weinstock was my grandma. I love those big, funky glasses that she wears and I love her attitude about her cakes. She is confident, no nonsense and she knows her stuff. Her cakes are unique and gorgeous and apparently they are delicious, too. One day, perhaps, I will find out for myself! I was reading an interview with her in the latest Martha Weddings and I literally started underlining things and taking notes. The article is a great read for anyone shopping for a wedding cake, but also just for anyone planning a wedding and preparing for a marriage. These were some of my favorite quotes, I just kept thinking- YES!

Here are my notes:
Some brides exhaust themselves running around to places and miss out on the joy of planning the celebration. This is an important event, but its a wedding; its not a marriage.

I don't believe in compromising on quality. If I couldn't have a giant perfect diamond, I'd take a little perfect diamond. Competing with your neighbor over who had the bigger wedding is silly. Do it smaller, do it finer, do it well.

I encourage clients to choose seasonal things whenever possible- a strawberry in January isn't going to be as lovely as one in June. Even though our cakes are pretty, I want them to taste like food- delicious food.

If the reception is in a clean, modern room or a grand, rococo one, the cake should follow suit. You don't want it to look like the cake was delievered to the wrong party.
There are some really beautiful pictures of her making sugar flowers. I would love to spend a few hours in her kitchen! Then we would go get coffee and I would soak up all her stories about over the top weddings and demanding brides. Visit her website for some of her most jaw dropping designs.

Friday, November 2, 2007

i heart the english countryside

Bridal magazines keep telling me that I can have my dream wedding. To me, "dream wedding" means no budget and I can be as bridezilla-ish as I desire. I can't really ever have my dream wedding because I have a budget and I want to keep my friends. I can, however, dream- and this is my dream:
That, my friends, is Hartham Park. The estate is in Wiltshire, England and it reminds me of every Jane Austen novel I have ever read. Mr. Darcy is just waiting behind those doors. The wedding would start with a welcome dinner at Hartham Park on Thursday night, with white gloved servers and lots and lots of champagne. Friday would be full of cricket playing or long walks on the grounds. On Saturday, horse drawn carriages would take everyone to the ceremony, held at a stone chapel kind of like this one-

My dress would be enormous and lace and I would wear a loooooong lace veil. The bridesmaids could wear whatever crazy thing they wanted to, as long as they agreed to the one rule for all the lady guests: hats required (that is where I would lose most of my guests in the real world, but I am still dreaming).
After a little carriage ride back to Hartham Park, guests would be greeted by yummy comfort food hors d'ouvers and cold glasses of Fat Tire beer. For dinner, I hate English food and since this is my dream everyone would eat sesame encrusted seared tuna, sweet potato fries and grilled asparagus. Dessert would be Bailey's Irish Cream ice cream cake, McD's shamrock shakes and my mom's cranberry and white chocolate cookies. There would be a barista from Kaldi's coffee making lattes and mochas for everyone. Michelle Rago would be on hand to design my flowers and lighting. Guests would receive Cartier cuff links or earrings on their way back to their rooms.

Our honeymoon would last months, starting with a tour of Europe including a week in Lake Como. We would then hop a plane for a tour of Australia and a few days at Bedarra Island. I guess we would come back home after all that fun. No one would be upset with us for making them wear hats and fly to Europe because we paid for the whole thing. That was fun to think about, now back to planning my pretty Chicago wedding with as much of England as I can bring into it.
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