Archive for the ‘My Wedding’ Category

Signing Off

May 27, 2010

Ok, so obviously I am the worst blogger in the history of blogs.

This seemed like the best idea when I first got engaged.  I was spending hours a day looking at all things wedding.  I had such grand plans to neatly compile everything here in a charming, entertaining way.  It so totally did not happen.

About half way through the engagement, I got completely sick of looking at photos of other people’s perfect weddings; dreading the inevitable imperfection of my own.  I thought wedding blogs were the solution to the over-the-top, completely unattainable image bridal magazines promote, but in fact, it was quite the opposite for me.  I was way more jealous about some fabulous hipster bride’s DIY save-the-dates than I was about a designer wedding dress I could never afford.  I stopped reading blogs (with the sole exception of the lovely and real Cupcake Wedding) and stopped writing my own.  Instead, I focused on planning my wedding without the influence of way-too-pretty pictures and way-too-perfect projects.

So here I am, about two weeks away from the big day.  I randomly checked good old Whoa Wedding to see that I still had a decent number of people dropping in here, and even a few comments to keep it up.  I figured I should at least explain myself.

In conclusion (unless I become overwhelmed with the desire to post recaps), here are all of the location details that I strangely never revealed.  I hope they might be helpful to some other budget-minded Boston bride.

Rehearsal/Welcome Party (night before): private event room at Tavern in the Square, Central Square
Ceremony: MIT Chapel (mid-century awesomeness pictured above)
Lunch Reception (family only): Oleana
Party that night (friends only): Gallery 263

The decision to split our celebration into two separate events was a big one, and I hope everyone understands.  It saved us GOBS of money, which was a very important factor.

So far we’ve spent just under $7000, and when all is said and done, I hope we’ll be under $15,000.  That includes all four events listed above.  My original budget of $10,000 was only for the ceremony/lunch reception, so I can deal with this.

If I’m ambitious, I’ll tell you how it all goes.

| photo from Viejito’s Flickr |


Color Collages

February 8, 2010

** As always, please excuse my crap photography **

I have always been crazy about the little color cards brides make for their bridesmaids.  Any excuse to craft something lovely out of paper and I’m there.  Sadly, I didn’t think this project was necessary for my wedding since my sister is my only bridesmaid and she’s choosing her own dress.  But, as my DIY list continues to grow, I’ve slowly started to enlist the help of my mom and sister (MOH) on a variety of projects.  I live far from home and have made most wedding decisions – like the final color palette – independently, so it turns out these little color guides were appropriate for my wedding afterall!  Now my gracious helpers are up to speed.

I sealed the color swatches (yellow, blue, ivory, and two shades of gray) in a little vellum envelope and attached it to a card that showcases other wedding details (vintage book pages, vintage buttons, Etsy calligraphy, and my lovely leaf-shape hole punch).

So happy I found an excuse to make these!

Save the Dates revealed!

October 15, 2009

Despite my lackluster photography, I am thrilled to show off our handmade save-the-dates!

The cards – which have already been mistaken as store bought! – were a total collaboration.  We sat in front of the computer for a couple hours before getting them just right.  The project also forced us to pin down our final color scheme – dusty blue, yellow, and gray.  (I would absolutely recommend stationary design as an essential exercise for all couples about to tie the knot.)  And! — When all was said and done, the pre-postage cards/envelopes came in at only 60 cents a piece!

SaveTheDate_blueCompare our file to our inspiration below…

Planning exhaustion

August 31, 2009

I’m back.

So my vacation ended a week ago, and I admit I’ve been neglecting my little blog.

The truth is I am 100% wedding-ed out.  This is the first time in my 6 months of engagement bliss that I’ve felt this way.  I needed a little break.

When I headed home two weeks ago, I was super excited to do some quality wedding planning with my mom and sister (MOH) – it was the first solid chunk of time I had with either of them since becoming engaged.  We had discussed various wedding details over the phone, but no one really knew the extent of my wedding visions.  However, this dedicated planning time turned out to be pretty draining and included:

  • The justification of my color palette contenders
  • My first stab at trying on gowns (both in a boutique and some purchased online).  For now, I’ll just say that one of these occasions ended with me nearly hyperventilating
  • Agonizing over and second guessing my petite guest list
  • Pressure to make hotel arrangements for out-of-town guests (which is all guests)
  • In response to people needing hotel reservations, it was decided we would indeed do save-the-dates (we were not planning on this)
  • A lengthy discussion about my bridal shower and whether family and friends not invited to my tiny wedding should be invited to the shower (I say no)
  • Hints at a bachelorette celebration in the making
  • Stirrings of plans for a rehearsal dinner
  • Discussions about whether it’s really realistic to DIY my flowers
  • The kind donation of a snazzy, new printer to my wedding cause
  • Grappling with whether or not my totally practical nature is going to prevent me from having the wedding I really want

Seriously, this all took place over the course of three days.  Suddenly everything seemed SO real and SO soon.  With my mom, grandmother, and sister in the mix, the planning process escalated from me sitting in front of my laptop daydreaming, to a full-on, full-weekend event requiring tons of coordination, travel arrangements, and money.  But I keep telling myself the wedding is 10 months away.  Surely there is enough time to deal with all of this, right?

I’m still recovering, but hope to recap everything here soon.

Also coming up – our engagement photo session!  We have a month to choose where to shoot and what to wear.

Stay tuned!

Hunt for the Perfect Palette

July 20, 2009


We are still 11 months away from the big day, but I’ve become obsessed with finalizing a color palette.  Now that the most basic details (ceremony and reception sites, photographer, and officiant) are taken care of, I’d like to focus on the more aesthetic elements of our wedding.

When it comes to colors, we don’t want anything too sweet or predictable.  And although my fiancé might be happy with a palette of grays and gray-blues, I would like something more lighthearted.

These criteria kept bringing us back to some of our favorite things.  For my fiancé: Russian Constructivist posters.  For me: the age and color of vintage postcards and other ephemera.


An inspiration palette of poppy, honey, ivory, and black was posted on The Bride’s Guide back in May.  It has the vintage feel and classic design/typography that we both love.


My only hesitation is that it seems like more of a fall palette than an early summer one.  But it serves as a start – I’ll have an easier time passing up minty-greens as I scour the internet for invitation inspiration.

| Poster 1: Desain Grafis Indonesia Poster 2: Art Attacker Postcard: eBay Inspiration Board: The Bride’s Guide |

Wedding Photographer – check!

June 30, 2009

Today we signed the contract and put down the deposit for an absolutely amazing wedding photographer.  Unlike my previous post, our meeting with Lisa Rigby went off without a hitch.  We sat and drank coffee like old friends while she explained her services and style.  She was so warm and genuinely excited for us that we left the meeting feeling totally giddy and newly excited about our wedding.  We figured if she’s this talented, and she made us feel this good, we had to have her there on our big day.  Visit Lisa’s blog for more romance and loveliness.  I am thrilled beyond description!


Budget Time

June 18, 2009

Ok, it’s time to put these numbers together and publicly declare our wedding budget.

First, here’s a typical wedding budget breakdown taken from “Bridal Bargains.”  These numbers are based on a wedding for 150 guests:

Apparel: $2120 (7%)
Rings: $6280 (20%) – this includes engagement rings
Music: $1120 (3%)
Ceremony/Officiant: $800 (2%)
Flowers: $1103 (3%)
Cake: $692 (2%)
Reception/Catering: $12,722 (40%)
Photography: $2650 (8%)
Videographer: $1450 (5%)
Invitations: $407 (1%)
Limo: $610 (2%)
Misc: $2049 (6%) – license, gifts, taxes, tips, etc.
TOTAL: $32,003

Here’s what we’re anticipating for our nuptials (based on a 70 guest-afternoon luncheon in crazy expensive Boston):

Apparel: $1000 (7%) – splitting this 50/50
Rings: $1000 (7%) – we’re not including engagement rings
Music: $0 (0%) – iPod
Ceremony/Officiant: $800 (6%) – hopefully this will be less!
Flowers: $200 (2%) – arranging my own
Cake: $0 (0%) – part of our restaurant’s per person price
Reception/Catering: $6150 (48%) – including food, alcohol, rental fee, tax & gratuity
Photography: $2800 (21%) – take a deep breath
Videographer: $0 (0%)
Invitations: $200 (2%) – making our own
Limo: $0 (0%) – everything is within walking distance
Misc: $1000 (7%) – license, gifts, taxes, tips, etc.
TOTAL: $13,150

This is $3,150 more than we originally wanted to spend.  But within a mere three months of wedding planning our guest list has grown by 25 people and we were introduced to the insane world of wedding photography, both of which upped our numbers.  It completely blows my mind that this budget does not even include a honeymoon!

Keep your eye on the sidebar where I’ll be tallying our costs as we go!

The Too Timid Bride

June 12, 2009


Both my beloved and I are keep-the-peace kind of people.  We generally avoid conflict and try not to make a fuss.  We hate the idea of inconveniencing or offending anyone.   So wedding planning, by its very nature, has been a tricky thing for us.

Slowly but surely, we are beginning to write deposit checks for elements of our big day.  Most of our experiences with vendors have been straightforward and reasonably painless, but I can’t help but wonder if we are doing this right.  I’m so focused on not being a “bridezilla” that I’m starting to wonder if we’re going to be taken advantage of.  It’s clear that planning a successful wedding requires some amount of edge, or business savvy, that I’m afraid I just don’t possess.

For instance, we had a meeting with a potential photographer the other day that didn’t go so well.  First, we showed up empty-handed.  No planning binder or inspiration boards.  We took a seat in the studio and the photographer proceeded to show us her portfolios and a slideshow.  Her photos were undeniably incredible, so my first and natural inclination was to admire her as an artist, not some person I’m going to pay to provide me with a service.  In my wide-eyed haze I totally failed to ask critical questions about assistants and wedding day timelines.  She gave us a brochure outlining her photography packages that we accepted in silence.  Basically, for the majority of the meeting we both sat there completely terrified and mute.  It was not good.

So, I’ve got to work on this.  I’ve got to be more prepared for these meetings.  I need to be armed with questions and a clear, concise vision of what we’re looking for.  I have to be ready to discuss money and negotiate where appropriate.  Hopefully these things do not equal a scary, demanding bride – but rather a happy, smart one.

| Angry bride from The Frisky |

Budget Boston Wedding Venue #1

May 26, 2009


According to the many wedding budget guides I have read, your reception venue and catering should account for 40% of your total wedding budget.  Given the average American wedding is pushing $30,000, many couples are looking at a $12,000 allotment for dinner, drinks and dancing.

$12,000 is more than our entire wedding budget combined.

Boston tends to be an expensive city and Boston weddings are no exception.  I knew we would have to think outside of the box when it came to our reception.  Could we afford to have it at night?  Was it realistic to have a sit-down meal? What about having it on a weekday or during the winter months?

Each of these possibilities was carefully scrutinized as we narrowed down our venue options.  Sometimes family (and their visions of crisp formal linens and a tiered wedding cake) proved to be an obstacle, but I also had to make compromises with my own ideas of what my wedding would be.

Ultimately, we found the perfect reception location for us.  It sits happily within our budget, has some of Boston’s best food, and – if the weather cooperates – we’ll be celebrating al fresco.

But first: a series of posts highlighting the contenders.  All budget friendly and fabulous.

Budget Boston Wedding Venue #1
The Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center

This historic building was once the Middlesex County Courthouse and its grand interiors are intact and available for rental.  The CMAC Theatre, with its painted ceiling and Victorian charm, can accommodate 150 for a seated dinner.  The weekend rental fee – which gives you 8 hours in the space – will be $3200 after July 1, 2009.  If you opt for a weekday, you can get the theater for $1800.


These rental fees were hard to swallow for us, but we played with the idea of this venue for quite a while.  If you did a brunch, hors d’oeuvres or dessert reception it might be doable on a tight budget.  While you have to use one of their partner caterers, it seems like you might be able to supply your own alcohol.  Hello Trader Joe’s.

The CMAC also has a landscaped outdoor area available for ceremonies.


Check out CMAC’s event rental photo gallery to get a better idea of what the party might look like.  And unlike many venues that I’ve researched, the CMAC graciously lists all of their rates, fees and regulations.

Interior shots by Matt Hakola | Outdoor picture by Abena’s Photostream

Spiral of Love: The Proposal

May 22, 2009

With some stealth planning (I always ruin surprises), my fiancé arranged the perfect proposal at Dia:Beacon in the Hudson Valley.  It was just the two of us inside one of Richard Serra’s massive Torqued Ellipses, and the best part is I never saw it coming.


| Photos from Renee and Dave’s photostream & Ranting Details |