Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Prop Box of Fun!

It seems like one of the newest (and most fun) trends of weddings is the photo booth.  A photo booth can be set up in a number of ways, but essentially it consists of a dedicated area (usually with a backdrop of some sort) where people can have their photo taken.  Ranging from formal to goofy, the booth can be designed in any way that fits the bride and groom.  During the wedding reception, it is almost guaranteed that if a person is dancing, his or her photo will be taken by the professional photographer.  But what about people who don't dance?  Often these guests are under-represented in the photographs which are taken throughout the event, and this is a sad thing to happen.  The photo booth is a way to make sure that people who are absent from the height of action are still able to participate in ways that are less in the spotlight and can be involved in the wedding.

Although we haven't gotten all of the details of our own photo booth planned out yet, we do have some ideas.  Our photographer, Tiffany Wayne, came up with the idea of hanging a wooden picture frame between the camera and the guests being photographed, which will give the illusion of our guests being a framed piece of artwork.  We love this idea!

We have a lot of guests (and one groom) who really hate dancing, and with a small wedding of only 40-50 people, we wanted to make sure that everyone has fun.  We are hoping to accomplish this through incorporating camping games such as Mad Libs, a scavenger hunt, and cootie catchers throughout the reception (this fits with our theme of the Adirondack Woods, which was inspired by our love of camping).  We are also hoping to accomplish this sense of playfulness by having a box of props available at the photo booth, so that people can dress up, relax in front of the camera, and act silly.  I, for one, am really looking forward to this, and my father mentioned that he thought it would be funny if the men had some sort of dress to wear and the women could wear some sort of tuxedo!  I don't know yet if that is going to be possible, but I do have some other ideas which I would like to share.

When thinking about what we have collected over the years, we found that we already have the following items which are perfect for this use:

angel wings
(black because they are from Halloween)

rabbit ears

cat ears

feather boa

Hawaiian flower leis

We are also planning to get these items for the prop box, which we don't already have:
giant clown glasses

masks on sticks (etsy seller)

fake mustache on a stick

cyclops eye on a stick (etsy seller)

That seems like a lot of stuff, but we are still looking for more ideas!  Perhaps some hats?  Maybe some more camping themed items?  Please leave a comment on this blog post if you have any suggestions!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A flowerless wedding...

Can it be done?

Should it be done?

In our case, the answer is most definitely... yes!  I have never been the type of girl who gushed over the idea of being sent roses.  Instead, I would feel bad that flowers had to die just so I could look at them inside my house.  Send me a potted plant that I can help to grow and enjoy for years and I'm yours!  So, the thought of killing tons of flowers just for a wedding ceremony and reception really rubs me the wrong way, at least when it comes to my own wedding.

The theme of our wedding is the Adirondack woods, so we are going to try to keep the decor natural, without having to kill any plants.  Our centerpieces (as I've discussed in an earlier blog post) are going to be living terrariums that people can take home with them, which will hopefully continue to live and grow for a long time.  We are also intending to use pine cones and leaves in some way on the guest tables at the reception.

At first I tossed around the idea of possibly having a flower bouquet to carry down the aisle, but I was never really sold on the idea.  Part of me felt like it was wrong for me not to carry one, but the other part of me rebelled against the idea of doing something just because everyone else does it, and the proverbial "they" say that I have to.  In addition, flowers are expensive!  Holy cow!  Still, I didn't know what else to do, and I thought it would be weird to walk down the aisle empty handed.  Where would I put my hands?

Eventually, after looking around on the internet for who knows how long, I fell back to my old friend etsy and stumbled across something that is perfect for me:

It's called a Rustic Firefly Lantern and is made by April Hiler Designs.  This completely fits our wedding theme, is really cute, and nothing needed to die in order for it to be made!  Better yet, it won't wilt a few hours after the wedding, and I'm sure I can find another use for it!  Inside the basket is preserved sheet moss, dried grapevine, and faux fern fronds, along with a little string of LED lights.

It may not be customary or commonplace, but it wouldn't really be our wedding if we did things like everyone else, now would it!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Officiant Success!

With the help our superhero photographer, we finally found an officiant!

This morning at our home we had the pleasure to meet with Miriam (Mimi) Phillips from Personally Spiritual Wedding Ceremonies.  Before her visit, Mimi and I were in contact through email, where I gave her some basic information about our ceremony.  While here, our conversation was able to flow very easily and smoothly and we were helped to realize that there are quite a few areas of planning that we had not considered before.  Mimi asked us questions, let us tell her information that we wanted to share, and she gave us a lot of materials to look at when we have some time, including copies of ceremonies which she has performed in the past and also a book about planning wedding ceremonies.  Mimi also provided us with documentation of her reverend status and explained the process she went through to be ordained.

We felt very comfortable with her and knew right away that we want to work with her.  (Also, her fees are extremely reasonable, especially considering the costs we had been quoted from other officiants!)  Our plan is to have a simple rehearsal, for which we are not being charged extra because it will only include three people or so.

One of the best things we liked about our meeting this morning is that Mimi did not push us at all to make a decision today, and even offered to provide us with references for other officiants if we felt that she was not right for us.  She did not want us to sign a contract today and wanted us to think about it for a little while first.  Ultimately, we spent about 30 seconds thinking about it after she left before we decided that she was perfect for us - which is probably not what she had in mind, but this is the way we work.  I've learned throughout this planning process that we can almost always tell right away which vendors and professionals are right for us, usually within the first five minutes of meeting with them.  Follow your gut has been our rule all along, and I think it is some very sound advice.

Overall, we are thrilled to have found Mimi and we could not be happier that she will be the officiant for our ceremony!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Help us win our wedding invitations!

My Design Sensations Custom Handmade Stationery is giving away a $350 gift certificate for a couple who needs wedding invitations!  Couples submit an engagement photo and then people are able to vote.  The couple with the most votes at the end of November will win.

Right now we are in 4th place!

Please help us to reach the top!  Our budget is extremely tight.  If we were able to win our invitations, then we might have a little extra money leftover to add something nice to our reception.

All you have to do to vote is follow these simple steps:
  1. Go to the My Design Sensations facebook page.
  2. LIKE the company's page (at the top).
  3. Go to our photo in the album entitled "Holiday Giveaway 2010."  Ours is photo number 4 (Kristen & Ryan).
  4. LIKE the photo.
That's it!  Thank you!

photo by Tiffany Wayne

Monday, October 25, 2010

No one wants to (re)marry us...

Of all the many steps involved with planning a wedding, I never thought finding the officiant would end up being the hardest part!

The first thing we did was try to contact the judge who married us the first time at the town court.  After emailing and sending a written letter (because I didn't get an email response after a week), then waiting another week, we finally got the following response through email:

"Unfortunately Judge S******** in not available to do the ceremony next year.  She can only perform civil ceremonies if there is a valid marriage license.  Good luck." 
[spelling error left in on purpose]

I had never heard of such a thing, but I didn't want to fight it, so I moved on.  I googled "wedding officiant near North Creek, NY" and was directed to a few different places.  I looked at several and picked three to show Ryan, then we narrowed it down to two that we wanted the contact.

The first people we contacted were the Reverends Mary and Denis Cole.  Mary was extremely fast, courteous, and professional in her email response to me, but I was shocked to find out that they would charge us $400.  This fee includes consultations, preparation, and the ceremony, but is way out of our budget.  We aren't looking for anything extremely personalized, and we really felt that $400 was too much for 30-60 minutes worth of work, so we moved on...

The next was Victoria.  We really liked her blog, especially one post where she described her joy at helping a married couple with their vow renewal ceremony.  Again, she was quick, polite, and professional in her email, and again we were horrified at the fee.  This time it was $650!

Are we wrong to think that a judge or minister for a simple vow renewal ceremony should not cost this much?  We are stuck now and do not know what to do next.  Does anyone out there on the web have an idea?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Package in the Mail = Excitement!

Everyone loves to get mail, but it is even more exciting to get a package in the mail... especially when you have been waiting for your pictures to arrive from a photo shoot!  Even though I only had to wait less than two weeks, the anticipation was almost more than I could bear.  I looked at Tiffany's blog almost every day to ogle over the scattering of photos she posted as a preview, because I just couldn't wait to see the rest.  When I finally got the box it was even more fun than I imagined, because she packaged it so beautifully...

Even after I carefully slid off the ribbon and removed the lid, there were still more surprises...


For about an hour and a half's worth of time shooting pictures, we received a disc with 88 amazing photographs, with which we can now do whatever we please.  This is really important to us, because it bothers me when photographers force people to order prints through them, instead of being able to print them out on their own.  Here are a few of my favorites from the day (that I didn't already steal from Tiffany's website)!

Monday, October 11, 2010

You know your photographer's good when...

...she posts a blog less than 24 hours after your photo shoot!
AND, you both look amazing!

Here are some of my favorite shots of both of us, just from what was posted on the blog.  I had to make them smaller to fit my blog template.  To see more, visit Tiffany Wayne's blog post about our "I Love You" shoot.


I Love You: A photo shoot with Tiffany Wayne

What do you call an engagement photo session for people who are already married?  You call it an "I Love You" shoot of course!  That's what we did yesterday with our amazing photographer Tiffany Wayne.

In keeping with our obsession with being outdoors, Tiffany had the great idea to shoot us in an apple orchard at the peak of fall foliage in our area.  After scouting around, she came up with Indian Ladder Farms.  I had heard of it before, and I know a lot of people who enjoy picking their own apples here, so I figured it must be good... and it was!  Although, I can honestly say that I have never before seen such a wide variety of people at a farm before (and I had never seen anyone wear a dress to go apple picking until yesterday)!  In looking at past blogs I discovered that I have actually expressed my thoughts on this before!  (see "Clothes Shopping")

We were a little nervous and a lot stiff when we first got started, but Tiffany gave us a lot of directions and made it really easy for us to loosen up.  Right away we left the crowded area and found a quiet place to acclimate to our environment.  Tiffany took some photos of things around us to get started, while we doodled things that were meaningful to us on a dry-erase board (which was later used as a prop in some of the photos).  The doodling was a great idea, even if it wasn't going to be used as a prop, because it gave Ryan and I a few quiet minutes together to remember some of the things that brought us together and some of the things that we both share a love for.

We took shots all over the place on the farm for almost two hours and Tiffany allowed us to act like children (which is how we really are anyway), so we had a lot of fun... even when I got too close to a cow and it horned me in the hip bone!  Apparently those signs that say "Watch Out For Horns" aren't joking!  I can't wait to see the photos and I am really glad that we were able to have this photo shoot.  It was definitely one of the things that I feel like we missed out on when we eloped, and I have a great feeling of satisfaction that we had such an awesome time.  ♥

PS:  This place even has Fainting Goats!  Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs would love it!

photos from the Indian Ladder Farms page on Facebook

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Guest List Woes

I'm sure I am not the only bride who has ever felt like this, but boy the guest list is stressing me out!  We have so many factors to consider when deciding who to invite and who to leave out, and it pains me every time we decide that we just can't invite one person or another for any reason.  We have to consider money (why are catered meals so expensive?!), how close we are to certain people, who would be a loner and feel really awkward, etc.  How many people should we invite from work?  I teach, and I feel that I am friendly with a lot of my fellow teachers... but do I actually socialize with them outside of work?  Should I invite my mother's friends from church who I haven't seen in several years, just because she wants me to?  What about my relatives that live across the country in Hawaii and California?  How about friends from across the state where we used to live, who we only contact through Facebook now, but who we still feel deep friendship for?  Ultimately, I believe that every couple has to decide what is important to them.  We would rather have an intimate occasion and share it with the people who are our absolute closest friends and relatives.  Other couples might value having the biggest wedding in the world.  I think sitting down and talking about these things can help put perspective on the whole thing and take away some of the guilt associated with leaving people off the guest list.

If you are still stuck, I recommend this really genius flowchart from the blog of wedding planner Emma-Carly Williams!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bead Flora and Jewels

While perusing posts on Brenda's Blog, I came across Bead Flora and Jewels by Fen Li.  This shop had the perfect flower to wear in my hair for the wedding!  I'd  been searching all over the place, and I even posted an Etsy Alchemy request, but I could never quite find what I was looking for.  Fen Li had created a gardenia out of velvet with a green stone in the center and green and blue feathers accenting the back - all attached to an alligator clip.  Her work is the most creative that I have seen in a long time, and I had never before seen flowers intricately made out of beads.  She even included a little beaded flower hair tie with my order, as a thank you for reading Brenda's Blog!

Extra little gift...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Apparently I'm an inspiration...

I feel all warm and fuzzy inside, because my friend Erin started a blog and mentioned me in her very first post!  We've been helping each other through wedding planning bliss and wedding planning hell, and I seriously think I would have gone insane if I didn't have her to bounce ideas off of and vent to.  Even though we have some very similar tastes in style and aesthetic elements, Erin's wedding is very different from mine.  Ryan and I are having our ceremony up in the Adirondacks, Erin and Mike are getting married downstate.  Erin and Mike are also catering to the desires (demands) of their parents, while Ryan and I are independent - as we should be, since we've been living together for the last seven years, and married for the last four.

With that said, allow me to introduce the newest wedding blog on my bookmark list...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Save the Date

A short one today.  I stumbled upon a printing company that had Save the Date cards to match our theme.  They were so cute that we both fell in love with them right away.  To make it even better, they are printed on 100% recycled paper and come with envelopes.  When I made a user account, they sent me an email right away for 20% off my next purchase, which I was able to use on this order of cards because I hadn't finished completing the order yet!  You can find the cards at VistaPrint.  (That link is a friends reward link, so you will get extra savings if you click it.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Clothes Shopping

Since we are already married, but still want to have all of the things we missed out on when we eloped, we are going to have a photo shoot in October.  Ordinarily this would be called an engagement session, but since we don't like to do things the way the rest of the world does (and we aren't engaged) we are going to call it an "I Love You" shoot.  Our plan with our amazing photographer - Tiffany Wayne - is to shoot in an apple orchard (and doesn't everyone deserve new clothes when they are going to have professional photos taken?), so yesterday Ryan and I went clothes shopping!  I went in with a bunch of ideas for specific items, but when I actually looked at them in the stores, we didn't like them and we had to decide on something different.  I think we came up with some awesome choices that fit our personalities well!  Tiffany suggested I use shoots posted on the Green Wedding Shoes blog to get inspiration, and I chose these as my favorites:

A Fun Camping Engagement Session
A Pillow Fight in a Field of Yellow Flowers
A Romantic Engagement Session with a Piano – in a Field

We started off wanting to really dress up, but after thinking about it for awhile, we decided that our shoot might actually turn out better if we are wearing clothes that we are completely comfortable in - so we bought these:

Who wears a dress to go apple picking anyway?

PS:  I bought the same shoes in grey felt too, and I will actually wear those unless it is muddy.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Hour at Michael's

I went to Michael's craft store today to browse and get some ideas for the wedding.  My goals were:
1. Scope out the DIY invitation kits
2. See what kind of materials they had for making centerpieces
It's important that I make as many things for the wedding as I can, since we are on a budget, but I also want everything to look nice and fit with our theme.

I started with the invitations.  There weren't as many as I had hoped for, but there were enough for me to get some ideas.  Before going to the store I had looked online to see what I might like, and I set my eye on a bunch of eco-friendly materials they had.  It's too bad that I looked online a few weeks ago and didn't check again before going to the store today, because Michael's no longer carries these products.  Bummer!  I thought it would be perfect to have eco-friendly paper since we are having an Adirondack theme to our wedding and giving tree seedlings as gifts.  I may just have to look elsewhere to find these.  I did find three invitation kits that I thought were interesting, though... (and I apologize for the poor photo quality - I took them with my phone).

I've listed them here in the order that we like them.  The fern invitation on the right is good, but we aren't sure about the mint colored ribbon.  The one in the middle is a nice brown (even though it looks black here), but it's a little too dull - we'd like more color.  The green and brown one on the left seems really great and has both of our wedding colors, but it doesn't really seem to express our theme.  We'll have to ask ourselves a couple questions before making our decision: 
1. Are we dedicated to eco-friendly paper?
2. Are we willing to trade out our theme to have the right colors at a price we can afford?

The next task on my list was to check out centerpiece materials.  We've decided that we really want to make living terrariums, and I am using these ones I found on the Indie Bliss blog for inspiration.  This part was actually more fun for me, since I'm the kind of girl that would much rather play with dirt than frilly ribbons.

I found Ball Jars which I think would be really cool, and were sort of reminiscent of something I might find in a mountain lodge filled with fruit or something yummy.  I also found these square containers which I didn't like as much as the Ball Jars, but would also work.

Michael's also has a relatively large selection of river rocks and moss - although I don't think moss bought in a bag is really alive any more.  I will have to look into getting this from outside or a garden store.

I saved the most fun part for last - looking for the interesting detail pieces to make the terrariums awesome!  Our first thoughts were to create miniature camping scenes (out of doll house pieces), or put small Adirondack chairs, but we are having a very difficult time finding those things.  Our next option is to include little woodland animals - which Michael's actually had quite a few of!

First I found little feathery birds (although I'm not sure the feathers will work in the moist terrarium)...

Next I went to the kids' section where I found animals in tubes, aptly named Toob Animals, but they didn't really have the specific kind of animals I was looking for and they were also on clearance sale...

And my favorite was the little plastic moose and deer figurines, which remind me of toys I might have actually played with as a kid (in the dirt)...

I'm not sure that I will actually buy anything that I found at Michael's today, but all in all I found my trip to be very productive.  I had a lot of vague ideas tumbling around in my head and browsing enabled me to obtain a visual grasp on what I it is that I would like my end products to look like.  After seeing all this stuff I can't wait to get started!