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Sunday, December 30, 2012

P.S. Save the Date

As I talked about here, we are doing postcards for our Save the Dates (unfortunately we don't get to save on postage because we chose over-sized postcards - reduced postage only applies to standard sized postcards).

As a reminder, here is the back side of our postcard.  Our return address was also printed in the upper left-hand corner (I just cropped it off, so I could post it on here).

The challenge was addressing the post-cards.  We were considering two options: (1) hand-writing the addresses or (2) buying the clear stick-on address labels that we could print the addresses on.  Looking for the easy way out, we had settled on option 2, but weren't sure if the labels would look tacky.

Then, my fiance came to the rescue with his brilliant idea.  Why don't we just print directly onto the postcards.  Why didn't we think of it sooner?  However, the postcards were too thick (we ordered the heaviest cardstock option so that it wouldn't get destroyed in the mail) and we couldn't get them to run through our printer.  Even better idea - have someone do it for us.  We took our Save the Dates and our list of addresses over to Office Max and told them what they wanted.  They said it wasn't a problem at all and that they would have them done in 1 day.  All we had to do was provide the addresses in an excel document and they did the rest.

And is was surprisingly inexpensive.  (Drumroll please....) It cost us $3.57 to have addresses printed on all 50 of our Save the Dates!  Maybe this will also work for the wedding invitations.  Fingers- crossed.

Testing, 1,2,3, Testing

Our wedding website is up and running.  We started our project by looking through all of the wedding sites:,, etc.  However, we discovered that nothing was really customizable, it was all too "cookie cutter" for us.  So after about a weeks worth of work, we were able to design our own site using Google Sites and we are so glad that we did.  The site turned out just how we wanted it to and we have received so many compliments on it.

Feel free to check out our site here!  Anything I should add or change?  Let me know what you think.

What we've included on our site so far:
  • Welcome
  • Ceremony & Reception (grouped together because they are at the same venue and immediately follow each other)
  • Our Proposal Story
  • Engagement Pictures (I wanted to do a slideshow, but am still in the process of figuring it out.  For now it's just a bunch of inserted pictures)
  • Information for our Guests: directions, hotels, transportation, parking, and things to do
    • Also inlcuded a Thank You to our guests along with a map of the U.S. with a pin for each guest to show where everyone would be traveling from!
  • Music Requests
  • Our Registries
  • Guest Book
What about you?  What does your site look like?  What did you include.  I would love to check it out!    If you'd like to share feel free to post the link to your site below!  

Saturday, December 22, 2012


So, I finally made the decision on the dress.  I am buying the one that I found online from  The dress itself is only going to cost me $800 (literally half of the original price).  I am so excited about this great deal!

AND I am ecstatic about the corset back.  If you recall my previous post about this dress, I was worried that it had a corset back because I had only tried on the dress with the zipper back.  However, I was able to find someone that had tried the dress on with the corset back and they sent me the picture below.

I LOVE the corset back, I think it just adds the the "princess-y" feel of the dress.  I can't wait to get my dress and try it on.

2012 Alfred Angelo Disney collection?? :  wedding 2012 1 alfred angelo disney fairy tale Photo

And now that I have a dress with a corset back, I MUST have this picture of the rings on the day of the wedding.  I saw it before, but completely discounted it because I had no plans of getting a dress with a corset back. I am so glad that I changed my mind.  :-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Do (Want You to Marry Us)

My fiance and I are beyond relieved to have found a reverend to marry us.  I am Catholic and he is Jewish, so we knew that we wanted to do an interfaith ceremony, but didn't know how to find someone willing to do it.  Thankfully, we discovered A Beautiful Affair of the Heart.  They are a group of ministers and officiants that all work together and conduct Celebrant weddings.  From the research I've done, this means that they conduct civil-secular, non-denominational  religious, spiritual, and multicultural ceremonies.  Loosely translated, they will basically do whatever you want done in the ceremony and incorporate aspects from whatever religion(s), culture(s), etc. that you want.   

This is exactly what we were looking for.  We've gone from being stressed about the ceremony, to being extremely excited.  We can't wait to work with our reverend to design our ceremony.  We will receive a survey that we need to fill out individually to help the reverend get to know us better and to provide him with a starting point for the ceremony. 

Are you having a non-traditional wedding ceremony?  Let's hear about it!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Something old, something new, something pre-owned?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am considering buying a wedding dress from  The store price for my dress is $1600 after taxes.  The seller on the site is asking for $800, so I could get my dress for literally half the price!!  According to the information on the dress it is a sample dress that the seller had bought, but ended up finding another dress.  It is new with tags and still in the bag that she got it in.  No alterations have been made to it.  I also e-mailed the seller to ask about any stains, tears, etc. (especially make-up stains near the top of the dress).  She responded back and said that the dress is in, "pristine condition" and that she couldn't find a single mark or tear, etc.  Everything sounds great, but you still never know.  What do you think?  Any other ladies out there that have gone pre-owned?  Tell me about your experience!

To Buy or Not to Buy?

So here's the deal.  You already know that I found THE dress: Alfred Angelo Style 217 (the premium Belle dress).   When I tried the dress on in the store it had a zipper back, so I didn't even consider any other option.  However, I found THE dress, new with tags and in the bag, on sale on for exactly half of the price of buying it in store.  I can get the dress for only $800!!  The only problem is that it has a corset back instead of the zipper and I don't know how I feel about it.  Time to make a decision....any thoughts?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Say Yes to the Dress

I posted here about THE dress, which I found back at the end of September (while I was home for our engagement party).  I realized though that I never posted about my dress shopping experience.  So, here it goes.

  After getting engaged, I pictured my dress shopping experience as many future brides probably do.   I imagined my mom, my sisters and my bridesmaids there with me.  Then when I stopped daydreaming about going dress shopping and really thought about it, I was pretty bummed out.  Just over a year ago we moved out to Michigan for my fiancé's work, which meant leaving all of our friends and family.  What that meant for me now?  Nobody to go dress shopping with.  

However, my awesome Maid of Honor pointed out that we were all going to be in Maryland for a few days for the engagement party and we could do shopping then.  I don't know how I didn't think of that.  Well I guess that's why she's my Maid of Honor.  I immediately began working out a schedule with my family and bridesmaids immediately and calling around to places in the area.  

After making some appointments I realized that I was going to have a very limited amount of time for dress shopping (I'd only be in town for 2 days and one day was dedicated to the engagement party).  With that in mind I got onto Pinterest, printed out a few pictures of dresses that I liked, and headed over to David's Bridal.  I decided to take a solo trip while in Michigan to get a better idea of what was out there, what I liked, etc.  I figured that would make things easier when I went along with everyone else.  I didn't like most of the dresses that I tried on that day.  Here's one that I did like and I have the saleswoman take a picture of.  In fact, at this point I was even considering that this was THE one.  So glad that I moved past that!

After this trip the dress shopping was put on hold until I was back in Maryland about 3 weeks later.  As I said in my previous post I had 2 appointments - the first was at David's Bridal and the second was at Alfred Angelo's (I had discovered their Disney Princess collection).  

And so the adventure at David's Bridal begins......

 I tried on somewhere between 15 and 20 dresses there.  I found many myself that I wanted to try on and the saleswoman was also extremely helpful in picking out some dresses based on pictures that I had brought in.  Without further ado, here are a few of the highlights.

 Dress #1:  I liked the general idea of this dress, but it jut wan't quite right.

Dress #2: This dress was similar to the dress that I found at the David's Bridal dress back in Michigan.  I did not like this dress at all.  Somehow in just 3 weeks I had done a complete 180 in regards to what I wanted in my wedding dress.

Dress #3:  I really liked this one for some reason.  I think it was because it was so different.  

Dress #4: I hated this one, I couldn't get out of it fast enough.  My MOH insisted she get a picture.  You can't tell in this picture, but the skirt is very.....interesting.  There are feathers and sequins on it.

 More of dress #3.  I had to try it on again.  Everyone really liked it.  This was again possibly THE dress, but still not sure.  Again, I'm glad this is not where it ended.

After 2 hours at David's Bridal we went across the street to Alfred Angelos.  The saleswoman there (who we later found out was the manager of the store) was not so great at, well, sales.  I showed her pictures of the dresses that I had brought with me and she told me that I wouldn't like any of their dresses.  Nobody knew what to say, we all just stared at each other confirming that none of us could believe she had said that.  I finally convinced her to get me a few dresses to try on, explaining that I wouldn't know if I liked it until I tried them on.  In particular, I was interested in their Disney collection.  Here it is....

 The first 3 didn't work out so well.  I believe that they were Jasmine, Ariel, and Rapunzel.  The worst was Ariel (the second row), the skirt actually looked like pieces of seaweed.

But then, I tried on the Belle Platinum dress and I knew right away that I had found it!

 I'm so happy to have found the dress.  I haven't ordered it yet, but plan to soon.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Franklin Plaza Rave

In my post yesterday, I talked a little bit about the history of the Franklin Plaza, but I wanted to add to my reception hall rant.  Aside from the building itself, the people at the plaza are phenomenal.  We have been closely working with Joe before signing our contract.  As I said earlier, our wedding will be on a Sunday and we are planning on having 110 guests.  Our all inclusive price (tax, tip, etc.) is $11,000, coming out to exactly $100 per person.  And, since we are not 100% on the number of guests, if we go under the planned 110 guests, Joe has offered to throw in something extra.

I guess I should explain what we get for $11,000.  First, that includes our ceremony costs (we will be having our ceremony there as well).  That means the set-up and break-down of the ceremony, flowers for the ceremony, the podium, stands for the unity candles - all included.  Next, after our ceremony downstairs, we will head upstairs to a selection of 15 horderves (8 of our own selection and 7 of the houses picks).  Also, the house will provide music for the 1 1/2 hour long cocktail hour (that means less money on a DJ).  Oh, and of course, full open bar.

After cocktail hour then its time for dinner.  We start with a champagne toast, followed by a choice of appetizer, choice of salad,  and a choice of 3 entrée selections.  Aside from the 3 entrée selections there is awesome a fantastic selection for vegetarians and vegans.  We just have them call and talk to Joe and they will have a choice of 4 vegetarian and/or vegan entrées.  I don't think we even have any vegetarian or vegan friend or family, but I love that they aren't limited to just one dish, they get a variety just like everyone else and at no extra cost.  Also, the Franklin Plaza provides a wide range of options for their horderves, appetizers, salads, and entrees.  However, if we want something off the list they can do it, again at no extra charge.  How awesome is that?

Also, they will do speciality meals for our immediate family members (bride, groom, and our parents).  If one of use wants a special appetizer, salad, entree, etc. they will make it just for us!  Of course, you guessed it, this is all done at no extra charge.  Oh an did I mention that they feed all of your wedding professionals for free?

Back to the reception, following our entrees there will be our choice of dessert served with coffee and tea.  And if we want our guests to have a choice of two deserts, we can.  They will make their desert selection when they select their entree.  Finally, because I love hot chocolate, I asked Joe if we could add that in with dessert.  Of course, Joe said it was no problem.  In fact, he is now throwing in hot chocolate, cappuccino  espresso  and cordials all at no extra cost.  Oh, we are also have open bar the whole time.

OK.  I promise the rant is almost over.  At our fist meeting, Joe repeatedly told us to make sure that we ask him before we buy anything because they might have it.  For example, we our doing a cupcake "cake" - well they have the stands for it.  We are considering a candy bar - they have the variety of containers for it.  Toiletry baskets for the bathrooms - they have the baskets.  Centrepieces   They have gorgeous candelabras already included.  And for any of those extras Joe said all we have to do is bring what we want added (i.e. the cupcakes, candy, toiletries, etc.) and they will set all of it up for us at no extra cost.  Oh, it also turns out that they have dark purple napkins that perfectly match our wedding color!

Well, if you haven't already figured it out, I am obsessed with our venue.  I couldn't be happier with our decision.  We were able to get everything that we wanted and much, much more for less than we had budgeted.  If you have any questions about the Franklin Plaza please feel free to ask.

So, what about any of you ladies?  What do you love about your venue?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Reception Hall

We finalized our reception hall decision today.  We visited the Franklin Plaza to meet with Joe, ask our final questions, and SIGN OUR CONTRACT!  It's finally official.  We will be getting married at the Franklin Plaza on September 29, 2013.  Just 314 days to go.

When we first started venue hunting and called the Franklin Plaza (one of our top picks prior to visiting) we were upset to hear that there was a 200 person minimum and that they didn't have any more Saturdays available in September.  However, we decided to visit anyway and we   are both very glad that we did.

Fortunately, things just worked themselves out.  We decided to go with a Sunday in September.  This meant a much lower minimum and more freedom to do exactly what we want.  Since we will be there on a Sunday, we will be the only wedding that day so we can choose any time of day that we want.  That also means that we can be there whenever we want for pictures that day!

Now, to talk a little bit about the Franklin Plaza.   First, the building is absolutely gorgeous, both inside and out.  This beautiful building, built in 1833 and restored in 1992, was a great financial institution located right in down-town Troy, NY.  Now known as the Franklin Plaza Ballroom, this building has been the site of wedding receptions and ceremonies for the past 30 years.  For a quick history lesson, the original Monitor Room (now used as the gift room) has been preserved because of its unique history.  In that very room the plans and financing for the Civil War ship, the "Monitor", were carried out. The original bank vault now serves as a coat check (and a great spot to grab some pictures) and the pink marble bank teller's counter serves an elegant bar.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guest List

Now that the Save the Dates have arrived, the dreaded topic of the guest list has come up again.  We have made multiple drafts on various occasions.  We now have our A list (wouldn't get married without them), B list (would love to have them there) and our C list (not too sure about them).  The problem now is deciding where to make the cuts.  Also, I have recently started  a new teaching job at small school (I only have 8 coworkers).  I have become friends with 2 or 3 of the ladies that I work with and would love to invite them.  However, there are two problems with that:

1.  We haven't been friends very long.  I don't want them to think that I expect them to travel 12 hours from Michigan to New York just to come to the wedding.  And then I don't want them to think that I expect them to not come and still give a gift.  They are just B list people - would love to share the day with them, but it won't be the end of the world if they can't make it.  In fact, as I said it's so far away that I honestly wouldn't expect them to make the trip, but would still love it they did.

2.  I only have co workers.  That means that everyone will know who I invited and who I didn't.  This is my first year there and I don't want to cause any trouble with the groups dynamic.

We don't need a final list until January, but we both find the task overwhelming.   Please share your thoughts and advice. How did you make the cuts?

This Just In!

So our Save the Dates arrived in the mail today (you can read about them here and here).  I wasn't expecting them until next Tuesday, so that was a nice surprise.  They turned out EXCELLENT.  I couldn't be happier with the quality \and design of the cards.  If you want to know what the look like, check out my last post.  We went with all black and white for the cards, so now we really want black and white stamps (personalized ones maybe?).  Has anyone else done this?

The deal on the Save the Dates was too good to not pass up, even though our wedding isn't for another 11 months.  Now its so tempting to start showing everyone, but I have to wait.  We aren't planning on sending them out until February (7 months before the wedding).

I'd love to see some more Save the Date ideas. Feel free to share! :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Our Save the Dates!

The following is our Save the Dates that we ordered (read about that here).  They are oversized postcards.

This is the front.

And this is the back.  The upper left-hand corner also has our names and return address printed on it.

I am so excited to have these done!  I can't wait for them to get here.  The latest is going to be next Tuesday.  I will let everyone know how they turn out.

The next challenge is going to be finalizing the guest list, so that we know who to address all of these postcards to!

Save the Dates - Great Deal

We have officially purchased our Save the Dates.  

Staples currently has a 40% off of custom prints offer, PLUS 6.5% cash back through EBates, PLUS if you buy 250 colored prints you get another 250 free.
So, that means you can get 500 colored cards for around $80 including tax. And you get free shipping (cards arrive in 7 business days). What a steal.

I opted out of the colored prints (we wanted black and white) and got 250 prints for $65.

In case you don't know, EBates is a free way to earn cash back. You create an account (which automatically earns you $5) and then you earn a certain percent back on on-line orders (this varies by store and changes throughout the year).
If you're not already a member and want to sign-up I would appreciate if you use the link below (everytime someone uses your link to sign-up you earn another $5). It's a great site and everything adds up. And then every so often (I believe every 3 months) the site just sends you a check for the amount that you've earned.

Anyways, once you have your account set up (or if you already have one) just type in Staples Copy and Print into the search bar (you will see a 6.5% next to it), CLICK on this. On this new page you will see various coupons/coupon codes. The top one says 40% off custom prints (exp. 10/31/12). Click on the corresponding button that says shop now and you will be taken to the staples web-site. Start your oder and you will automatically get the 40% off and 6.5% added to your EBates account.

Again, here's my EBates link. Click on it to start an account (plus you'll earn $5 for yourself and $5 for me). Start saving today!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dress Disaster

As I talked about here, I have already found THE dress.  However, I found it while I was  home in Maryland for my engagement party, but I plan to buy it here in Michigan.  THE dress is part of Alfred Angelo's Disney Fairytale collection (Belle's dress).

So I called Alfred Angelo's a few days ago and basically told them that I knew what dress I wanted and was planning on coming in to try it on one more time/figure out all of the logistics of ordering.  They set me up with an appointment earlier today.

After an hour drive I arrived at their store.  I wasn't greeted for at least 5 minutes even though I was the only customer in the store (they had recently opened for the day) and the sales women was only a few feet away from me.  Finally, after introducing herself, she went over to the computer to check me in.

Apparently, I wasn't in the system for my appointment.  I explained that when I had called to make the appointment the women on the phone was having some trouble with the computer and kept losing my information.  She told me that she would write it in though and that I would be all set for my appointment......apparently that wasn't the case.

So, after waiting at least another 10 minutes, the sales woman agreed to take me for an appointment (still no one else in the store).  She kept asking which dresses I'd like to try on and I repeatedly told her that it would only be one dress - THE dress.  After that was established, she took another 10 minutes just to find the dress (after getting one wrong dress and bringing it to me).  I had even pointed right to the rack where the dress was, shown her a picture, and given her the style number.

Then came her attempt at getting the gown on me.  She seemed to have no idea what she was doing.  I ended up just telling her what to do.  She then proceeded to explain how she was still very new.  This was her first week of work (and she was apparently just left to figure things out on her own).

Fortunately, none of that mattered after I had the dress on.  <3  While admiring the dress (and myself in the dress I suppose) I asks the sales woman what the policy was on keeping the dress at the store between alternations.  I had read this particular stores reviews online and a common topic was that the stores gave you "x" number of days to pick up your dress after it arrived and then you were stuck with it.  It was your job to bring it back and forth for alterations and such.

That would not work for me since I live in an apartment (that's already too small) with my fiance.  She kept repeating that, "usually brides want their dress with them , so they keep it at home," avoiding answering my question.  I eventually gave up and decided I would ask someone else later.  Finally, she got me out of the dress and I was ready to order.  She then explained to me that they don't do dress orders on Sunday because there is no one there to do measurements.  I was confused as to why they had scheduled me for a Sunday then, when I had made it clear that I was planning to order the dress that day.

With that, I politely thanked the sales woman for her time and headed home.  Unfortunately, this is the only place within 200 miles of me that sells my dress, so it looks like I just have to suck it up and deal with them.  I am considering finding a local shop for alterations.  Then, after the dress comes in I won't have any reason to go back there.

Any dress stories? Feel free to share.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Engagement Party and Dress Shopping

My fiancé and I just got back home late last night after our engagement party.  We had so much fun.  It was so nice seeing all of our friends and family.  All of our immediate family was there, along with the majority of our wedding party (everyone but the best man was able to make it)!   Now that it's over, that means that we have just under a year until the big day- WOW!  Where did all of that time go?  We were talking on the flight home last night, and neither of us can believe that we've already been engaged for 2 months.  With that said, we are getting back into wedding planning mode.  As I mentioned here, I did go dress shopping while I was home in Maryland.  And, it just so happens, I found THE dress.  It's part of Alfred Angelo's Disney Fairytale Wedding Collection.  It's called the Belle Platinum.  I will add pictures later!  I can't believe how easy the whole process was.  I began my search at David's Bridal where I tried on about 15 dresses.  My next appointment was at Alfred Angelo's where this was the 3rd dress that I tried on.  I was supposed to have two appointments later that day, but I immediately called and cancelled.  Between the engagement party and the dress, everything is coming together and making me realize that this is actually happening.  Less than a year away, we can't wait!

Anyways, time to get to work on some Thank You cards for gifts from the engagement party.

EDIT:  Read about my dress shopping adventures here.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I'm excited to announce that our engagement was features on the blog Wedding Thingz.   It includes a brief description of our proposal and our engagement pictures.  The link is below:

I just wanted to give a big thanks to Wedding Things for including our engagement story on their site.  If you have time check out the blog.  It's full of some great ideas, helpful reviews and some awesome giveaways.  :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dress Shopping

I forgot to mention yesterday that I have plans for dress shopping!  I am going while I am home in Maryland for the engagement party.  Oh, I also forgot to mention that all of my bridesmaids are going to be able to make it to the party - I couldn't be happier!   The best part is, that since I will be at home in Maryland, my mom and grandmother will also be there.  I was so worried about having to go dress shopping alone, but it looks like it all worked out.

Anyways, in order to prepare myself for dress shopping, I have been stocking up on bridal magazines and obsessing over Pinterest.

After looking at literally hundreds of dresses, I noticed that pretty much all of the dresses that I picked out looked very similar.  From what I've read, it seems that I want a strapless ballgown with pick-ups.  I also like some beading, but nothing over the top.   Who knows if any of this is what I'll actually want once I get to the salons and start trying things on.  Anyways, I have to start printing/cutting out pictures to bring to my appointments, so that I have somewhere to start.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

So, I haven't posted in quite a while.  As I said, I've started my new job, so I've been super busy.  We basically haven't done anything wedding related since the engagement pictures (OOPS!).  However, I was just on my "Team Bridesmaids" site today and saw my countdown for my engagement party - only 12 days away!  WOW!  Time does fly.  My fiancée and I realized that we've almost been engaged for 3 months, where did the time go?

As many people, I am using as one of my go-to wedding planning sites.  According to my checklist on there, we have a few things to start working on:

  • sign our wedding reception/ceremony venue contract
  • start deciding on our reception menu
  • find an officiant for the ceremony
  • finalize our guest list
  • search for a DJ or band
  • visit florists
  • start planning out save the dates and invitations
  • start dress shopping 
  • work on our registry
What a list!!   Fortunately, we already have some of that planned out.  We will be signing the contracts in November when we are back in the New York area for Thanksgiving.    We have also decided where we are registering and have started the process, but need to get it all finalized.  So, I guess we've got a good start on things.  Not to mention, we have the next 3 months to work on the list.  Time to get back into wedding planning I guess!  

Monday, September 3, 2012


Who's there?  My fiancé and I....time for some more engagement photos.

These were taken at my colleges brownstones.  The others with balloons were just around outside.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Vacation Mode

So after lots of delayed flights and waiting for shuttles to our car, I finally got back to my apartment and in my bed around 4AM last night.  That left my plenty of time for a refreshing 2 hour nap before I had to go in for the Welcome Back breakfast for the school year.  (Not so great to get up at 6AM after only 2 hours of sleep, especially when you're still in vacation mode.)

I don't know if I've mentioned it yet, but I graduated with Masters in Teaching back in 2011.  I spent last school year subbing and ended with a long-term sub position at a school where I was offered a job for this school year.  I officially accepted my very first teaching position and today was the first day of work.  No students this week, just us teachers getting ready for the start of the year.  It's going to be a VERY busy week!

That said, I have pictures of my vacation to Tampa (a.k.a. pictures of my trip to Disney world - for the first time!)  I will be posting them soon.  Unfortunately, like I said this will be a busy week, so I probably won't post until the weekend.  Maybe later depending on our plans for the long (4 day!) weekend ahead.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I will be in Tampa, Florida for some much needed vacation time.  I won't be back until next Sunday!  That means no wedding planning for a while, just 9 awesome days of "us time" for me and my fiancé!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Engagement Pictures

So my dad (i..e my engagement pic photographer) has been slowing sending me the pictures.  He took over 5,000, so he is going through them and editing the good ones.  Below are a few that I've got so far.