Saturday, September 27, 2008

Butter, Sugar, Flour, Eggs, and Thou ...

I've been thinking a lot lately about cake. Mmmm ... I love cake. Or, more accurately, I love icing, for which cake is an excellent vehicle. However, traditional wedding cakes start at around $2.50 a person for a basic cake (meaning at least $350 for a cake) and I just think that's a lot! I know many people these days have just a tiny "wedding" cake and supplement with a sheet cake, but I really don't want to do that either ... enter ideas!!

One thought we had from early on is to do wedding cupcakes! Last weekend we visited a local bakery that specialized in cupcakes, The Flying Cupcake. They have amazing cupcakes in a wide variety of flavors. We bought four to sample: the Here Comes the Bride (almond flavoring in the cake and almond buttercream icing), the Chocolate Ganache (omg, fudgy and rich), a Key Lime (apparently an experiment, new to the menu, with mereinge icing), and the Razzmatazz (raspberry filled chocolate cupcake with raspberry buttercream icing.) All of these were AWESOME and we love that we could have multiple flavors to offer, however this option is not really all that much cheaper than a regular wedding cake. Cupcakes are $2 each when ordered in dozen increments, plus an additional $.50 per filled cupcake and lots of other tacked on fees if one wants them decorated in any particular way other than standard. And while we were there we mentioned the wedding idea and the clerk told us that they do lots of weddings, in fact they had done 5 that weekend ... I started to wonder if cupcakes were too trendy these days ...

The other idea we have is that instead of getting a "wedding" cake in all its tiered glory we will simply get several, lovely, tasty, round cakes and set them up on stands of varying heights. We could still offer several flavors of cake (maybe even a red cake, I know a certain mom who loves it ...) and there's somewhere to put a topper. Based on my calculations we will need one 12" cake, two 10" cakes, two 8" cakes and, one 6" cake ... a lot of cake, about half the cost of a wedding cake! I really think this is an elegant idea.

Which cake style will claim victory over our hearts? You'll just have to wait a few months to find out. As for the debate between fondant and buttercream, there is simply no contest in my book. Buttercream wins the day!!

Have you been to any weddings where the cake was non-traditional? (And are you craving cake as much as I am now?)

Sunday, September 21, 2008


One of our goals in planning our wedding is to make better choices when it comes to the environment and our community. This is not always easy because it sometimes means choosing to spend more money. For example, we plan to use recycled and/or tree-free paper for all the wedding paper-goods.

Now, we have been planning to DIY all this stuff but even so it still costs more to use recycled and tree-free products than to use standard products. And sometimes it is hard to resist a "bargain" ... just a few days ago we were at Michaels (buying more vases with our 50% off coupons! take that W.I.C.!) and I saw these really great invitation kits on clearance for, like, $17 for 30 invites. I am almost ashamed to admit that I loved any kit that is endorsed and produced by "Brides" magazine (oh, I am such a DIY snob) but they were super cute! Luckily I had FH along to persuade me that perhaps 9 months out was a little early to make an instant decision and hadn't we decided to use earth-friendly papers anyway?

Fast forward to this morning when I start thinking about what we've budgeted for paper-products vs the actual cost of recycled paper and ink cartridges and you'll find a brief moment of panic in which I start to think our pre-planned numbers may be unrealistic. (It's just amazing what little details can seem overwhelming, really.) Not incredibly unrealistic, just a little bit.

In the end, FH and I decided that postcard Save-The-Date cards are something we could do without and that e-STDs (sounds like a new computer virus, right?) will do just fine. And for the less e-friendly, shouldn't we just call or include a nice note in their Christmas card anyway? This decision will free up the additional $50 or so we want to put towards earth-friendly materials (plus the e-cards mean that many less pieces of paper and gallons of gas to deliver printed Save the Date cards.)

A little invite preview ... yes, I have already started ... geez, I thought we were going to do STD postcards, alright?? :P

Anyway, a few weeks ago I went around our venue (also my workplace) and took some close-up photos of art-deco decorative details (think tiles, capitols, corner details, etc.) I put the photos into photoshop and experimented with various filters. Hopefully I'll be able to use the images to create some interesting and unique invitations, programs, and place cards that really tie in to our venue!

Have you ever felt torn about making environmentally friendly choices? What did you choose?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Latest DIY

Another Friday night at home has come and gone and, as we all know I can't seem to sit still without making something, I have new DIY's to show you all!

Last weekend I was browsing JoAnn, shopping for stuff for work, and decided to use one of my 40% off coupons to pick up some wire. I had a big box of beads at home from, like, 7 years ago when I was really into making hemp necklaces for a summer.

Here's what I came up with!!

Beaded accents to go in the corsages. I took the idea from a book I checked out at the library, Beaded Weddings by Jean Campbell. I have to admit, I found most of the projects in the book to be very cheezy, but the techniques were great and gave me some good ideas.

Here are the boutonniere accents:

Very quick and easy, I am pretty happy with the results. I think the twists on the wires would be more even if I'd bothered to dig out the right tool for the job (needle-nose pliers!) but most of that gets covered by the stem wrapping on the corsages/bouts anyway.

Now I just have to make some similar little accents to go in the bouquets!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Food, glorious food!

So, we got our catering quote a week or two ago and much to our relief it was pretty much exactly in line with what we'd budgeted. Call it luck or call it good planning but we were happy indeed. Except ... there was one small hurdle that just HAD to be cleared: Bill desperately wants, no, requires, for there to be kummelweck rolls to go with the beef carving station. Yes, the infamous beef-on-weck.

So, our rockstar caterers (whom we haven't even officially hired at this point) did a trial run of rolls for us! Anne from MBP catering dropped them off to me at work at the end of the day Friday, I quickly called Bill who picked up some beef and horseradish on his way home from work, and we had beef on weck for dinner.

Luckily they passed the test (though Bill did say the salt granules should be bigger ... I'm guessing they'll be more receptive to that note once we give them the deposit ...) Yea!! There will be food at our reception! And for those members of my family who read this and went "Ew! Horseradish? And caraway seeds? On a roast beef sandwich?" don't be alarmed, there will be regular rolls too. And turkey. And lots of other yummy good things that I'll tell you all about another time, like after we actually sign and return the contract.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Weekend Update

Hi all! Things are starting to calm down a little with the planning (okay, perhaps a more accurate statement would be I am starting to calm down a little bit with the planning.) We've got most of the major things checked off our list for the moment: venue, date and time, officiant (more on that another day), flowers (definitely DIY), photographer, and veeeery close to having the caterer signed (by the end of the week I'd say). Oh, I've also got a prelim design for the Save-the-Date cards and have started compiling the all-important wedding guest database! (well, actually it's just a spreadsheet, but database sounds more impressive, no?)

My amusing wedding planning neurosis story of the week: so, as I told you about last weekend Bill and I came up with a centerpiece design that we really like. I had a coupon for 50% off one item at Michaels from the paper so we bought a vase to test the idea. It was a success, yea for checking another thing off the list! Now, we're going to need at least 20 of these vases, and I loooove a bargain so I've hatched a plan to obtain them all by buying ONE every time I have a coupon. I've even enlisted the aid of my boss at work whereby I will trade him diaper coupons (his wife just had a baby) for Michaels coupons! It seems like a new coupon comes out just about every week so we should be set. The hard part, of course is resisting the urge to buy lots of other unnecessary things each time I go in. But, my will is strong and my desire to one-up "the establishment" will prevail!

Luckily I very frequently need to shop either AT Michaels or at stores near Michaels for my job so I'm not making lots of extra trips just to get these vases one at a time. I think they have the same vases at JoAnn too, I could be doubling my coupon power by hitting up both stores! Sigh, I think I'm going to need a whole extra room for all the supplies I'll accumulate over the next year. :P

Monday, September 1, 2008

Book recommendation: The DIY Bride

Today FH and I were out doing a little window shopping. We stopped at Michael's Craft store since I had a 50% off one item coupon and was thinking I'd like to pick up a vase to practice the centerpiece design I'd been considering. While I stood pondering the differences between two vases for like 20 minutes Bill wandered off and happened upon this book that I think is FABULOUS.

The DIY Bride, by Khris Cochran. 40 projects, complete with step by step instructions AND directions on how to delegate tasks if you have helpers. Now, I am usually quite critical of DIY books. I have a very creative job and it takes a lot for me to find a project in a book to be unique or inspired. I can sucessfully say we plan to steal AT LEAST 2 or 3 ideas from this book (including my, i mean OUR, new centerpiece design, which is much more low-maintainance than a floral arrangement.) And I love that it helps people who don't normally tackle creative projects break things down into mangeable bites for multiple people.

My fave: the wedding time capsule! Next to the guest book you have some little slips of paper, 4 choices in different colors to signify different lengths of time. Guests choose whether they'd like to write something that will be read in 1, 5, 15, or 25 years and then write a prediction/happy wish/message for the couple to read at the appropriate time. Just reading the idea made me tear up! Omg, I spend a lot of time tearing up lately. sigh.

In any case, we liked the book enough to actually buy it (albeit with a 50% off coupon), instead of trying to find it at the library, which for us is a ringing endorsement! I highly recommend it for any bride-to-be.