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4.30.2009

Hallelujah!

I just have to share that I've been wearing the biggest, goofiest grin for the past hour because... WE HAVE A CAKE!!! I can't tell you what a relief it is to be able to say that. (I've stressed out so much more over this than I have about anything else... including my dress. Silly, I know!)

To spare you all of the sugar-coated details, Lucila is an absolute doll! Mr. Y and I met with her at lunchtime this afternoon and left feeling extremely confident in her abilities. She asked us so many questions and even drew diagrams of exactly what we want (my kind of lady!). If her professionalism and friendly disposition aren't enough, the amazing deal that she's giving us definitely is! (MUCH less than the previous bakery!) Did I mention that she has one of those nifty food-coloring printers to create our silhouette plaque with? Well she does! :o)

Oh, in case you've been wondering which cake we've decided to go with, the choice was simple. We'll take this one in all vanilla rum, please!

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Alright, now onto the rest of the to-do list! We've got a wedding to finish planning and it's getting down to the wire!

4.27.2009

Uh-oh...

Look at what I found on Style Me Pretty. Just when I thought that I was set with a cake design, K. Rose Cakes tempts me with this lovely creation! Ribbons and silhouettes? (I'm even loving the flower-shaped tier for the base. I've never liked the look of mixed tiers!) For an indecisive girl like me, this is bad... very bad. Ha! Good thing we haven't settled on a baker yet! :o)

Which do you like best?


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4.24.2009

The quest for cake continues... Ugh!

Well, Smarty and I had our cake tasting appointment at Edda's on Wednesday after work. I'll have to admit, it wasn't quite what I expected. (Kind of disappointing, to be honest.)

When we arrived, I explained to the woman behind the counter (not Edda) that we were there for the tasting. She quickly replied that it was too late and tastings were over for the day. (Hmm, even though we had an appointment for 5:00pm... and were on time? And they close at 6:30pm?) The woman then checked her book, found my name, and less-than-enthusiastically handed me a huge binder filled with photographs of their cakes. Somewhat confused, Smarty and I took a seat at a little table. Even though I knew exactly what I wanted and brought photographs to explain, we browsed through the binder anyway.

A few minutes later, the woman showed up at our table with a tray holding seven little dishes each containing a different flavor of cake, topped with a messy squeeze of white buttercream and two plastic spoons. She walked away and we got to tasting.

From the start, Smarty had in mind that we should get a traditional Cuban rum cake. They've become fixtures at all of our family get-togethers. The cakes are always nice and moist inside (especially when you get one that's really drenched!), plus it would be a real Miami treat for all of our out-of-town guests.

Edda's vanilla rum was on the dry side, but emerged as our early favorite, followed by amaretto and orange. Tasting each of the non-chocolate ones, I came to realize that they were all essentially the exact same cake. The only difference between them were the flavored syrups with which they were soaked (and at times, unevenly so). That struck me as a bit odd, since I'm used to baking flavors into cakes. In the end, we settled on a vanilla rum/orange/vanilla rum combination for our three-tiered cake.

I walked back to the counter to let the woman know that we'd finished tasting and were ready to talk business. I showed her the photographs and explained exactly what I had in mind for our simply decorated cake. I wasn't too sure that she understood everything I said, so I used some Spanish for safe measure. Even still, she couldn't quite understand what I meant by the word "taupe" and how it's not the same as ivory. So I promised I'd bring some paint chips from Home Depot that she could use as color samples.

When I was satisfied that she understood enough about the creation that I would like for her to make, I asked her how much it would cost. She punched a couple of keys on her pocket calculator and casually said "Six-hundred dollars". Huh? For 100 people? I was expecting more in the $400-500 range, but I didn't let on. I asked her what kind of deposit was needed to place the order and told her that I'd want to get the color samples for her first before actually placing the order. What I didn't tell her is what Smarty and I decided as soon as we got to the car: we're going to shop around with other bakers.

Had the woman's personality been warmer or more "Gee, I'm really happy you're here!", the higher-than-expected quote might not have shocked me so much. (Kind of how it went with my dress. Ha!) It felt like we were bothering her and she really didn't need our business. Maybe she was tired or having a bad day, I don't know. She just didn't make a good first impression. (Come to think of it, she is the first vendor I've encountered in this whole wedding planning process that didn't congratulate us on our engagement! Hmmm.) I guess I was just hoping for a little more enthusiasm... kind of like Martin Short's character in "Father of the Bride". :o)

One good way of looking at it is that there's more cake to be tasted, beginning with Lucila's on Tuesday night!

4.20.2009

Let them eat...

Cake, of course! :o)

This is one wedding detail that Smarty and I haven't yet checked off of The List. Soon enough! I've scheduled an appointment for a tasting (mmm!) at Cake Designs by Edda for Wednesday after work. I wonder if one tasting with one baker is enough. Is cake something that you should "shop around" for?

I've never been a fan of those fussy, frilly, taller-than-the bride creations that you see all of the time in magazines. It's just not my style and I honestly don't see the point in shelling out that much money on a cake. Plus, I know that some people just aren't that into cake. So rather than having cake as our only dessert, I'm opting for a smaller scaled cake and offering an array of fun bite-sized sweets, like key lime pies, fruit tarts, chocolate eclairs and mini cupcakes for our guests to choose from.

Back to the cake, though. My ideas for our cake have always been rather simple, though they've definitely become more defined as the months have passed. My original plan for our cake (or cakes) was inspired by this photograph from Jordan Ferney's wedding (Oh Happy Day!).


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My heart just about stopped when I first spotted this lovely arrangement on her blog (shortly before Smarty and I started dating). For our reception, I imagined a display of assorted cakes made from recipes that have been passed down through the generations, which would tie in perfectly with o
ur vintage-styled, family-themed wedding. I love the charm of homemade things, especially cakes! Single-tiered, multi-layered goodness, slathered in chocolate and buttercream frosting. Mmm! At first, I thought of baking the cakes myself. Just as soon, though, Reality reared her little head and reminded me that I'd have so much already on my plate, that I couldn't possibly bake the cakes and keep my sanity. I knew that I would likely have to hire someone to do the job, and because of that, multiple cakes were probably out of the picture.

So, my search continued... and it led me to Elisa Strauss' Confetti Cakes. My goodness, can this woman make a beautiful cake! Take a look for yourself...


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As the saying goes, though, beauty comes at a price. And the price for that pretty square cake on the bottom (which serves 100)... $1,200. Yikes! That's $12 a slice! When it comes to wedding cake, I've learned that a "slice" is roughly equal to a piece about as wide as my pinkie and as long as my pointer. Hmmm.

I now knew that I needed to find a cake that was very simply decorated, perhaps with ribbon or something else rather inexpensive. I found these great examples in the Summer '04 and Spring '05 editions of Martha Stewart Weddings. Not surprisingly, they are both from Confetti Cakes! I guess I have pretty specific tastes. :o)


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A combination of these two cakes would be nice. The simple ribbon border from the one on the top paired with the dotted royal icing detail from the one on the bottom. All I needed to do was find the right ribbon. Easy enough, right? Not quite. I looked everywhere for jacquard floral ribbon in tones that would match our fuchsia/taupe palette... and nothing. I searched on eBay, Etsy, M&J Trimming, but couldn't find that just-right ribbon.

So, I scratched the ribbon idea and kept looking. Boy am I glad that I did! Because just at the moment that I stopped looking for it, my perfect cake design found me. I stumbled upon it through Brooklyn Bride's Facebook photo album. I couldn't quite figure out how I never happened to see it before, considering that I've read that blog ritually since Smarty and I got engaged. When I found the original post where Vané featured the photo, I realized that it was dated July 10, 2008. Exactly one week after Smarty got down on bended knee! That's how I missed the cake! I was still floating around somewhere on Cloud Nine! :o)

Well, without further delay, I present the inspiration for my wedding cake (with slight modifications, of course).

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The only changes that I can foresee having to make (other than the colors) are to scale it down and cover it in fondant (unfortunately), since the heat and humidity of Miami in June would surely make a mess of buttercream. I'd also reconsider the gumpaste bow cake topper. I'm not sure what I'd replace it with, if anything, but I'm just not feeling it. The silhouette plaques are absolutely perfect! Don't you think? The only other thing that I would do is display it on a pedestal cake stand. I guess there's still something left from my Jordan Ferney inspiration photo after all! :o)

What are some examples of wedding details that have evolved during the process of your wedding planning?

4.19.2009

Color us happy... literally!

I'm so excited about how the coloring book pages have turned out! The steps are unbelievably easy and the outcome is so much better than I anticipated. The hardest part has been narrowing down our collection of photos and figuring out which ones will make the cut.

By following the steps in Jennifer Apple's Photoshop tutorial (which also works for PaintShop Pro), I was able to use this photo of Smarty and I taken up in the Sierra's last summer (the day before we got engaged)...



...and transform it into something full of great coloring potential! :o)


4.17.2009

A little something for the young (at heart)...

There's no doubt that our wedding is going to be a kid-friendly event. With eight little ones ranging from the ages of 3 to 10 in the wedding party, how can't it be?

Smarty's three neices and my cousins' combined three daughters and two sons will form the petite parade that will lead us down the aisle, setting a light-hearted and joyous tone for our beachside ceremony.

In hopes of keeping these special little guests happy (and out of trouble) during the reception, I've been collecting ideas for fun activities to provide at their table. One of the things that I'm planning to do is make custom coloring books out of digital photos of Smarty and I with our family and friends. I'm sure that the kids will get a kick out of seeing themselves in a coloring book. Heck! I'm excited about it and I'm almost 31!

On a recent trip to Target, a single pink enameled pail on a shelf in the $1 Spot caught my eye. Immediately, I knew that this lonely little bucket was going to serve a purpose in my wedding... housing colored pencils, of course! Because the shade of pink doesn't quite match the fuchsia color that has become prominent in our details, I came up with the idea of helping it fit in by decorating the pail with what has become our "official logo".

With a few supplies that I already had on hand, I was able to complete this simple DIY project in under 15 minutes! All it took was a print out of our digital silhouettes scaled to size, a small piece of black adhesive-backed vinyl (I used ProvoCraft's Cuttables for the Cricut), a craft knife with a new blade, and some tape. Here's how it all came together...





All it needs now is a fun grosgrain ribbon to dress it up a little more. Polka dots, perhaps? :o)

Will you be welcoming children to your wedding? If so, what kinds of activities are you planning for these youngest guests?

Weekend Wrap-up and a WIP

This has been quite the busy week! On Monday the first of our RSVP cards showed up in the mail. (I've received seven back so far, only one of which was a "regretfully declines"!) Then Tuesday, Smarty and I had our last money management session with the financial planner. That has been one of the best investments of our planning time and I would highly recommend it to any couple getting married. On Wednesday night, my mom and I attended The Wedding Salon Mini Bootcamp on Miami Beach. After our post-work run yesterday, Smarty and I got together for our traditional Thursday TV fare (My Name is Earl, The Office, 30 Rock). Just so that the night wasn't completely wedding-planning free, we compiled our invite list for the Rehearsal Dinner during commercial breaks. :o)

The weekend will be just as busy, I'm sure. Tomorrow after my morning run, I'll head home to (hopefully) wrap up a handful of DIY works in progress: the drink menu, aisle runner, seating card tree, and lacy luminarias. Then I'll be getting together with my training group to celebrate finishing the ING Miami Marathon (almost three months after the fact). Better late than never, right? As of now, the only things on the slate for Sunday are church, yet another bridal show, and The Amazing Race.



Here are a couple of photos of the drink menu that I've been working on. (The shadow box and decorative paper are from Martha's collection at Michaels, of course!) I'm not quite happy with the layout and spacing of things just yet. I also plan on adding a little extra dimension by placing pop dots between the menu and background. What do you think?

What are you looking forward to this weekend? Whatever it is, I hope you have a great time! :o)


4.16.2009

Recap: The Wedding Salon Mini Bootcamp



I remember, once upon a time, when the thought of attending a bridal show seemed about as appealing to me as going to a Star Trek convention. (Not that there's anything wrong with it, it's just not for me.) I pictured masses of out-of-control brides-to-be, obsessing over the smallest details, crowding booths offering over-priced goods and services disguised as great deals. I'm sure that the images from Filene's annual Running of the Brides event contributed some to the mental image.

Well, I'm now one of those brides-to-be. While I have been known to obsess over small details that no one else will probably even notice, I don't quite think of myself as out of control. The truth is, I've never been a fan of the wedding-in-a-box. I don't want what so many others seem to have: bubble favors, silver bells, Jordan almonds, and personalized bedazzled tank tops for me and my bridal party. Like the Trekkie conventions, it's just not for me. For this reason, I've chosen the DIY route for most of our options.

There are aspects to the wedding, though, that I just can't do myself (though, believe me, I've given it some thought). After researching sites like Fifty Flowers and Grower's Box, I admitted that with limited help available, arranging my own ceremony and reception flowers (in the heat of summertime in Miami) probably isn't the best idea. And while I've taken two cake decorating courses and have baked several lovely creations over
the years, I'd be taking on way more than I could manage by making my own cake. The same with the photography, as Smarty's brother is a professional photographer but also happens to be the Best Man. So began my search for the florist, the baker, and the photograph taker.

In November, I received an e-mail from The Knot informing me of The Wedding Salon event planned at The Biltmore Hotel. With a little hesitation, I signed up for Smarty, my mom and I to attend. I didn't exactly know what to expect, but based on the venue, I anticipated something well-organized and was hopeful to meet some decent vendors. Little did I know that I would have an AMAZING time and find both my photographer and my florist! Smarty even admits to enjoying himself. Plus, the great gift bags were an unexpected incentive (filled with lots of great goodies!
).

Well, when I heard that The Wedding Salon was hea
ding back down south for a Mini Bootcamp, I registered immediately. The event was held last night on Miami Beach at Casa Casuarina. The venue's name didn't immediately ring a bell, though, on the drive over I realized that I was heading to the former Versace Mansion. (Fancy!)


The Mini Bootcamp promised the latest tip and trends in wedding planning, as well as access to leading industry experts and top local vendors. This was accomplished through a series of Q&A sessions with representatives from various bridal industry sectors, such as catering, event coordinating, linen rentals, photography, skincare, and travel planning.


After the sessions, brides-to-be were invited to sip champagne and sample hors d'ouevres, meet with the presenters, browse the lovely gowns on display from Chic Parisien, and tour two of the luxurious (yet pricey!) hotel suites avaialable at Casa Casuarina.


I really enjoyed speaking with the agent from the Barbados Board of Tourism, who helped me to realize that an all-inclusive resort is probably not the best bet for our honeymoon (which has yet to be determined). Since Smarty and I would be interested in activities far more adventurous than just lounging poolside, we'd end up having to pay additional for our excursions if staying at a Sandals-like resort. Good to know!

My impression is that The Wedding Salon Mini Bootcamp is a great experience for brides-to-be just beginning the wedding planning process. For those who are quite a ways into their planning already, there may not be too much to learn at the Mini Bootcamp. For brides-to-be in any stage of planning, though, I would really suggest attending The Wedding Salon's regular events. The next one in South Florida is scheduled for Monday, June 15th at The Gansevoort Hotel on Miami Beach.


After the show, my mom treated me to dinner at Loftin's 1116 inside the Casa Casuarina courtyard. What a beautiful place!

What are some opinions regarding wedding planning and the industry that you have changed your mind about since becoming engaged?

4.14.2009

"Stories by Everyone" Giveaway on The Indecisive Bride

Hop on over to The Indecisive Bride and help her celebrate her first giveaway! Through April 24th, you can earn up to three entries for a customized guestbook from Stories by Everyone. What a fantastic way to add a personal touch to your special day! Don't miss out!


A labor of love

I've always been the artsy-craftsy type (no big surprise, considering the nickname!). As a little girl, I could usually be found off somewhere in a corner coloring and pasting to my little heart's delight. There's just something about creating things that I've always found to be personally satisfying. Whether it's beading jewelry, crocheting doilies, embossing paper or any other of a number of crafts... I'm up for it!

Needless to say, as soon as Smarty and I got engaged, I started my list of DIY projects. While I was never the kind of girl that dreamed of her perfect wedding and all of its littlest details, I have always known that I want our special day to be unique and a reflection of us as a couple. This wedding has become the ultimate opportunity to craft for crafting's sake. The best part has been that no one has asked me whether there's something more important that I should be doing! :o)

I decided to tackle the biggest of the DIY projects first: designing the invitations. I knew that I wanted an invitation with a vintage feel that would hint at the wedding's semi-formal tone. This is important since our ceremony will be on the beach and the reception will be outdoors, and the last thing I want is for someone to show up in a loud Hawaiian shirt.

With a little inspiration from Brooklyn Bride and Laura Hooper, and the perfect font and graphics from Veer and Dover Publications, I designed my invitations using the free trial version of Adobe Illustrator CS4. The invitations and RSVP cards were flat printed on smooth cream-colored cardstock. The envelopes, maps and directions were printed on a laser printer. I decided to package all of the pieces in pyrite (a shimmery champagne color) pocketfolds from Envelopments, layering the invitation on their azalea cardstock and using azalea envelopes for the RSVP's. For the finishing touch, I used a sheer golden ribbon tied in an interlocking loop to hold each pocketfold closed.

Here they are, from the outside in.

















For all of the printing, trimming, pasting and tying that went into these little bundles, I must say that it was worth the work! I delivered the little "babies" to the post office last week, where they were hand-cancelled and shipped off to our guests. Whew!

What DIY project has become your labor of love?

4.10.2009

Let's do this thing!

Well, after several months of faithfully following the likes of Brooklyn Bride, Once Wed and the ladies over at Weddingbee, I've decided to join the ranks of the blogging brides-to-be. I've learned so much from others' adventures in wedding planning, that I figure it's about time I pay it forward and share my own lessons learned.

With only 64 days left until the wedding, most of the major details have already been decided upon. There are still a bunch of loose ends that must be neatly tied, though, so there's no doubt that I'll have plenty to write about.

If I expect that anyone is going to bother reading my ramblings at all, I'd better start by sharing a little bit about myself. I'm a quirky 30-year-old native Miamian who loves making "stuff", researching family history, baking, traveling, photography, crossword puzzles, and tall non-fat chai lattes. While I've run four marathons to date, I have a hard time thinking of myself as a runner. I teach Sunday School to the two-year-olds at church and I find it to be the most rewarding (and challenging!) hour of each week. I'm engaged to the wonderful and thoughtful Smarty, who is originally from the Bay Area. I find that we complement each other perfectly in so many ways. (For example, he's organized and I'm trying.) Together we're planning a June wedding filled with special details and handmade charm.

I think that's as good of an introduction as I can manage right now. Let's do this thing! :o)
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