Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our Photographer

After looking at a TON of photographers online, Mr. Riley and I narrowed it down to about ten that were located in a two hour radius of the wedding location and that we could afford. After that I started calling around, of the ten, three were available for our day. The first appointment I made was to meet Brian Lusby of Brian Lusby Photography.

My mom and I drove two hours to meet him at his studio, which is out of his home. After almost two hours of gabbing about everything I was in love.... not with Brian, although he is pretty handsome, but with his amazing photographs. He got me, got my ideas, and focuses on the format that both Mr. Riley and I enjoy, photojournalistic. I hate looking through a wedding album and seeing tons of the same pictures you saw in the last wedding album you looked at... the bride and groom under the brides veil, the bride seated looking up serenely, the groomsmen all holding the bride up on her side, etc.... I wanted REAL photos. Someone to truly capture the moment. Not someone to pose us all to look like we are having the moments you are "supposed" to have on your wedding day. I wanted to see those things people secretly do when they think no one is looking.... like the ring bearer asleep on the pew because it was past his nap time, the groomsmen goofing off while getting ready, the anticipation and angst and joy in our parents face. All of it.

But I couldn't very well book Brian right then, I hadn't even looked at the others. After a few weeks of procrastination I set up an appointment with one of the other available photographers. I went to their studio and although they were very nice we just didn't click. All of their photography examples were very outdated and pretty posed. Plus their prices were OUTRAGEOUS, like triple everyone else we had looked at.

Once I left that appointment I just knew. Before I even got to my car I was dialing Brian to get a contract and deposit in the mail and I couldn't be happier with our decision (well mine... sorry Mr. Riley) even though I didn't even get to the third photographer.

It did help that Brian shot Chris Cooley's wedding (TE for the Washington Redskins) and Mr. Riley and I are HUGE Redskins fans. So I'm sure there will be a ton of questions for Brian in regards to Chris and probably a rousing rendition of "Hail to the Redskins". So for those of you who don't know the words, start learning...

"Hail to the Redskins!
Hail Victory!
Braves on the Warpath!
Fight for old D.C.!
Run or pass and score -- we want a lot more!
Beat 'em, Swamp 'em,
Touchdown! -- Let the points soar!
Fight on, fight on 'Til you have won
Sons of Wash-ing-ton. Rah!, Rah!, Rah!
Hail to the Redskins!
Hail Victory!
Braves on the Warpath!
Fight for old D.C.!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Floral Inspirations

I was having a really hard time finding green flowers, number one and BRIGHT green flowers number two. I eventually found these great inspiration photos that I shared with my florist.

I love the simple and clean look of the Bells of Ireland flanking this ceremony. They're no fuss but still interesting and draw your eye. We will be incorporating some Bells of Ireland into our ceremony arrangements but we will have centerpiece very similar to this used at our reception site for the place cards.

The Bells of Ireland centerpiece will replace this busier centerpiece at our reception. The place cards will just be lined up around the centerpiece on the table (not in wheat grass displays) and black framed copies of our menu will go in the spaces between the groups of place cards.

I have also discovered through this process that I LOVE LOVE LOVE MUMS, every single variety, button mums, spider mums, football mums, ALL OF THEM!! The bridesmaids will be carrying bouquets similar to this one. I will also carry a bouquet similar to this one expect mine will be slightly larger and have more white varieties of mums/roses instead of green.

Here I go again with the mums... they're so freakin' cute! I don't think flower petals would stand a chance against our two adorable but precocious flower girls so I decided on pomanders. They're cute and easy... all they have to focus on is walking up the isle. Although, I'm sure these will become weapons of mass destruction sometime in the night (probably against the ring bearers)! :)

Our table arrangements will look something like this but will be mini green hydrangeas with some white roses in it. The bases will be of similar porportion but black (these look grey to me).

The gentlemen will be wearing simple green dendrobium orchids like these possibly with some hypericum berries mixed in.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Gift Bags

My mom and I found these great reusable grocery bags at A.C. Moore last weekend. They were only $4 (for the pair) and best of all they're "green"! We will be using these for the bridal party gifts and the out of town (OOT) bags to go in the hotel rooms.

Unity Candle Base

I have not been impressed by ANY of the unity candles I have seen in the stores. They are a little too "busy" for my tastes... too many sparkles, pearls, etc. So I decided I was going to make my own. It is pretty easy and will show you how mine turns out in a later post.

In addition to not being happy with the candles I was REALLY not happy with any of the bases. I wanted to use a "traditional" base that held two taper candles with a large pillar candle in the center but I also wanted it to be black to make the candles "pop" and tie in that color. Those two things are no where to be found. So I decided to make my own. I ended up using three pillar candles, two shorter ones and one taller one instead of taper candles.

I found these bases in the Halloween section at Michael's.... haha.

The little purple skull heads had to go... but that was pretty easy with a pair of pliers. I touched up the marks left by the my yanking the skull heads out with a little bit of black spray paint and VOILA....

a whole new purpose... and theme!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bridesmaid Dresses

I basically gave the bridesmaids free reign on the dresses (I did pick out the fabric) and this is what they came up with (Did I mention I couldn't be more excited? I think I'm going to buy one too, just to have!)....

The dresses are both from J.Crew, are silk tafetta, and will be worn in black. Five of the ladies will be wearing the top dress (Lorelei- item 11922) and two of the ladies will be wearing the bottom dress (Delores- item 98979).

Wedding Favors

These stunning votives are Kate Aspen creations that I am OBSESSED with. We will be using these as favors for all of our guests!

Wedding Stationary

I just wanted to share with everyone some of the great buys I purchased at Michael's over the weekend. I will repost with mock-ups once we get closer to the big day but I couldn't help sharing all the great damask products out there.

These were originally supposed to be invitations but we will be using these DIY invitations as our menus at the reception. These were $39.99 for 40 count. This is a little pricey but Michael's always has coupons.
These placecards are a little hard to see but they are white with a little damask border along the left side. These are also DIY from Michael's and cost only $6.99 for 40 count. I think we will add a green bow along the crease of these placecards to jazz them up a little.

These will be the wedding programs. They are simply a black cardstock with layers of white cardstock and finished off with a little bow. They come with white bows but I think we will use our green ribbon to tie in that aspect of our color scheme. These programs came in at $39.99 for 40 count as well.

Damask Linens

These are the table runners we are getting custom made for our recepetion. They will go on the all the tables. We are also getting some table squares made for the sweetheart table and cake table. The fabric is 'Dandy Damask' in black/white by Michael Miller. The vendor, DarlingDamask, at Etsy was kind enough to even throw in two coordinating ring bearer pillows for me! She offers tons of different fabrics, colors, and prints. Love it. Enough said.

Damask Inspiration

I originally planned to do a "preppy" themed wedding with lots of navy blue, grosgrain ribbon, and subtle accents of yellow and green but when I stumbled upon the damask themed weddings those thoughts went completely out the window. I love the table runner and clean lines of this table setup.

The damask with green apple accents is what I am actually going to be using. I'm getting table runners made in this same fabric and hope it looks half as good. I'll put up another post with info about the wonderful Etsy vendor that is making them for me.

I just love these no fuss but classy looking centerpieces. They're just so yummy!!

These table loook so elegant I plan on doing something similar in the foyer and cocktail area at our reception.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wedding Invitations

The damask wedding invitation kit is from Target. It was $24.99 for 50 count DIY Invitations, Lined Envelopes, Response Cards, Coordinating Envelopes, and Seals. I did not realize that the Response Cards included with the kit were fold-over and they were rather large just to include response card information. I am repurposing those cards to include reception, hotel accomodation, and transporation information.
I then picked up some black and white all-purpose cards made by BRIDES from Michael's. They were $14.99 for 40 count and I will use them for response cards. Viola! A complete wedding invitation set for around $0.87 a person.
**UPDATE** Although I loved this invitation set, once I bought all the other stationary from the BRIDES collection these just seemed out of place. The BRIDES Collection paper was a slightly different shade of white and was textured while the Target paper was not. We decided to return these and use the BRIDES invitation set that we were going to repurpose as menus as the actual invitations. We will now print a few menus on cardstock and frame them. These will be arranged on the place card table and on the bars.

About Me

I’m Miss Riley (real names have been changed) and I currently live in Virginia with my fur baby, Liberty Belle (she goes by Libby for short). Mr. Riley is in the Army and is currently deployed to Iraq but the countdown to his return has already begun. I have pretty much been a one-man wedding planning show but look forward to the day when we can share this experience.

Mr. Riley and I are both from Virginia, it is where we grew up, fell in love, and now will be getting married. Although when Mr. Riley returns he will be stationed in Kansas and about six months prior to our wedding I will be moving there to live with Mr. Riley and start nursing school. It will be hard planning a wedding from, literally, half-way across the country but I think we are up for the challenge!

Keep checking back to see where along the "Road to Matrimony" we are.

Wedding Accessories

The veil I chose is also from David's Bridal. It is fingertip length, U-shaped, one layer, and made of tulle with a satin band around the edge.

The Dress

This is the dress. It is from David's Bridal and I absolutely love the simplicity of its design and button details on the back. I purchased the dress in white but it also comes in ivory. It is made of satin and features a dropped waist, chapel train, strapless neckline. I will be wearing the dress bustled during the reception.