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Monday, April 6, 2015

I'm not going to ugly cry down the aisle.

Confession: I'm an ugly crier.

I'm not kidding, its terrible looking. My face gets bright red, my eyes turn bloodshot and don't even get me stared on how big my mouth actually becomes when I'm heaving for breaths between sobs. Oh its bad, and I admit this.

I'd also like to admit a shit ton more sensitive than I thought I was. For example, last week I cried watching the ending of the Fast and the Furious 7, where they do the tribute to Paul Walker. I couldn't even help myself. But at least that was acceptable, because its sad as fuck that Paul Walker died and that the movie ended before Vin Diesel took his shirt off...but I digress.

I cry a lot. My recent list of crying episodes include (but is not limited to):
  • I cried because the Biore pore strip I used on Sunday was horrific looking and I thought I had nice skin. I cried in surprise at the shock of my surprise 27th birthday party.
  • The end of the movie 27 Dresses
  • I cried when I stubbed my toe last week. 
  •  How I Met Your Mother series finale.
  •  Star Trek: Voyager series finale.
  • I cried in happiness when I recently received receive a ballin' engagement present from my Phi Mu big sister, Shari. 
  • I cry every single time I drop my mom off at the airport.
  • I cry every single time my mom drops me off at the airport.
  • I cried because I know I need dental work and I'm scared
  • I cried because I know how expensive said dental work is and I want to spend money on my wedding.
  • I cried because so many of my sorority sisters are coming to a bachelorette weekend in DC because I'm getting married and I feel so spoiled/honored/elated/over whelmed by their excitement.
  • I cried because my venue doesn't want me to bring in an outfit vendor to provide the gold chiavari chairs of my dreams. 
Basically, I am the worst. Hot mess express.

So, because I cry all the time, it will be no shock to you that whenever the song I am walking down the aisle to comes on Pandora Wedding Station (aka the only Pandora station I listen to), I immediately start balling at the thought of walking down the aisle with the song playing. Just the opening notes give me the chills, followed immediately by tears welling in the eyes.

This cannot happen on my wedding day. Delicate, pretty tears, fine. But what happens now, #no. I am paying wayyyyy too much for a photographer to ugly cry my ass down the aisle.

So, as a result of my visceral reaction to this song, I am conditioning myself to NOT ugly cry, like Pavlov's dogs. I'm doing this by listening to the song at various times of the day, during various activities. Here have been my results thus far:

First time John & I heard it together:
We were in Home Depot duplicating keys (tres romantic). I started getting tears in my eyes and stated how much I love the song. Redneck lady behind us shouts, "AINT THIS THE SONG FROM TWILIGHT?!". I immediately give her the death glare and the tears stop.

Listening to the song in the car on the way to work the Monday after getting engaged:
Sobbing uncontrollably. Make up everywhere.

Listening to the song approximately 75-100 times since:

Listening to the song while preparing Easter dinner over this past weekend: 
Light, controlled sobbing.

So, see? I've had heaps of success controlling my ugly crying! I'm going to totally have this down by September, no problemo, a'ok, right-o. Just need another 300-450 listens. Yep, I CAN DO THIS.

I'll let you know how that goes.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Shed reveals how to be a great bride and even better bridesmaid.

Thanks to my funniest friend/fellow blogger/bridemaid Shed for taking over today. 

She's the best.

Hello! Bridesmaid Shed, here. I’m by no means as seasoned a bridal attendant as the {Not So} Single Girl, but I got married in 2013, and now I’m honored to be a member of our favorite wedding blogger’s bridal party. So, today I am going to teach you 5 ways to be a great bride, or an excellent bridesmaid!

1. Bridal party honors are not tit-for-tat. If you were in a friend’s wedding 10 years ago, and you don’t have the same relationship today, you do not need to ask her to be your bridesmaid. There is nothing wrong with that. Also, everyone’s bridal party is different. Some brides only have relatives as bridesmaids, while others have a mix of friends and relatives, or just friends. Some brides have no attendants at all. If the bride decides to have only her sisters or cousins in her wedding party, do not take offense even if you are close friends. Who comprises the bridal party is the bride’s decision.

2. Both brides and potential bridesmaids need to remember this: Don’t assume. Brides: Don’t assume that someone knows they are in your wedding. Potential bridesmaids: Don’t assume you are in someone’s wedding. It’s very important to formally ask someone to be in your wedding party. If the bride or the potential bridesmaid is unsure, it can create an awkward situation.

3. Planning a wedding is stressful enough; a bride does not want flaky attendants to make things more complicated. If you’re not sure that you can fulfill your duties as a bridesmaid, due to time or money constraints, be sure to give the bride a clear answer as early as possible.

If you are asked to be a bridesmaid, but ultimately decide that you are unable to, there are many other ways you can be involved in your friend or relative’s wedding. You can do a reading during the ceremony, you can act as an usher and help guests find seats, or you can escort a grandparent down the aisle. Your friend may ask you to give a toast at the reception. There’s an infinite number of ways you can be a special part of a wedding; just talk to the bride. She will appreciate whatever you two come up with, whether you help her pick out d├ęcor, or simply attend the wedding as a guest.

4. Bridesmaids, think of the bride as your boss, and you’re her employee during the wedding planning process. Hopefully you like the bride a little more than you like your boss at work! Either way, remember, the bride is dealing with a lot of stress, and needs you to help her, not make things more stressful. Be sure to occasionally ask, “What can I do to help?” She’ll be glad you did, even if the answer for the moment is “nothing.”

5. Also remember that you’re going to be part of the bride’s wedding memories forever. If you’re mad at each other the day of the wedding for some reason, she will remember that every time she looks her wedding photos. Speaking of photos, if you plan to make any extreme changes to your appearance right before the wedding, it’s best to make sure the bride is okay with it. She may love your new green ombre hair, but it’s always important to ask first.

Keep open communication with the bride, and the rest of the bridesmaids to make sure everyone is happy on the day of the wedding. Don’t be disappear and be unreachable. Don’t complain about the dress, shoes, venue, order of the processional, etc. You’ve been asked to be in this wedding because you are an important part of the bride’s life, and you should respect her choices. It’s her wedding, after all. However, you should be able to talk out any major concerns. If you can’t afford to go to Cancun for a bachelorette weekend or to buy Jimmy Choo shoes for the wedding, talk to the bride about it. Any reasonable bride will understand and help you work something out.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Sorry, Your Redneck Wedding isn't Elegant

Just own your what your wedding is. Stop pretending.

So, I belong to a Facebook group that is an offset of the popular WeddingWire forums. The group is used primarily for women reselling their used wedding items after their wedding. Its a great place right now if you love burlap, lace and DIY wooden signs (which is on trend with everyone's love of the rustic wedding). The group is an interesting assortment of women from all walks of life, having weddings of all themes, colors and budgets. Everyone is looking for a a good deal and the admins keep vendors off the page, which is pretty refreshing. I've never personally purchased anything but I enjoying see the posts from a fly on the wall perspective more than anything.

Usually, I keep my mouth shut when someone posts "like real" blue plastic roses or tries to sequin table runners for twice retail price, alas a post caught my eye over the weekend that I just couldn't ignore.

So many feelings about this post. I just could not even. Then shade got thrown. It happened. I'm not proud of it, but seriously, people need to just own their wedding choices and stop pretending to be something they are not.

The definition of Redneck is:

1. an uneducated white farm laborer, especially from the South.
2. a bigot or reactionary, especially from the rural working class.
Tell me what a theme with that definition looks like. It doesn't event make sense. Is the wedding on a farm? Will there be racial slurs in the vows? Banjos playing? Confederate flags?
Other group members encourages the original poster to elaborate on her "theme" ideas and she mentioned she was considering purchasing some items from the Oriental Trading Company Camo Wedding Collections.

WHY DOES THIS EXIST? Oh god. It hurts my eyes. Whatever. To each their own.

There is literally no way to have both a redneck and elegant wedding. There is not. Just no. And that is okay-- have your redneck wedding decorated in full camo print, but don't pretend its elegant.

The point of all of this is, if you're going to have a themed wedding-- own it for what it is. Don't tack on extra words because you think a wedding should be elegant, classic, timeless, fashionable-- whatever it is. Take your redneck wedding and own it-- whatever it is.

I'm totally guilty of this with the descriptive term Avant Garde. Most people don't even know what this means, so for those who don't, it means "new and unusual or experimental ideas, especially in the arts, or the people introducing them". I so badly wanted an avant garde wedding. I said it approximately 700 times when looking for a wedding dress. 

Let me show you what Avant Garde wedding dresses look like in practice:

 Can I just say that I am absolutely not looking to wear an Avant Garde wedding dress? In the end, I chose a wedding dress that was most certainly not Avant Garde, but was my style-- whatever that style is categorized as. I think I picked a unique, classic wedding dress that looks like me and reflects my style, but its a wedding dress....not something off a runway.

That said, nothing about my wedding is Avant Garde. I've accepted this even thought I regularly used the word to describe what I wanted in a wedding at the beginning. I'm learning to own the fact that I'm having a pretty traditional wedding, with a bit of my own flare, but you'll definitely know you're at a wedding...there isn't any experimental bikram ceremony yoga, a bridal march played by didgeridoos, no bridal party fashion show or otherwise off beat, Avant Garde aspects.

So, I stopped calling my wedding Avant Garde and owned it. Its my traditional, royal fairytale wedding. That's the theme. No better or worse than "redneck", but it is what it is. I'm not pretending its anything else.

Its your wedding, do what you want. Not everyone is going to love it. I will never be encouraging of including camo in a wedding, but that's what great about planning your wedding-- you get to do you! Whatever you want! Its your day. So do it. Own it and have no regrets.

But seriously, no camo.

Monday, March 30, 2015

5 Reasons I Hate Talking About My Own Wedding

Discussing your own wedding planning is the worst.

For the better part of the last decade, I have dreamed, imagined, discussed, re-dreamed, planned a fairytale wedding. Because of my own passion for event planning, which magically enough, I managed to turn into a fairly successful career, and because I'm basically a professional bridesmaid, I have no shortage of resources, ideas and inspirations for my own wedding. You'd think, with all that buzzing in my head, that I would be super keen to discuss my own wedding plans at length with anyone who would listen.

But I don't. I literally hate talking about my own wedding plans. Here's why:

No matter what, I get deemed a bridezilla.

Even when I'm trying to be ironic, in conversation or on social media, I get accused of being a bridezilla. For example, I posted the following status regarding invitation stamps to Facebook on Saturday:

Like, okay, clearly it was in jest. It wasn't even a real point of discussion in our household-- it was quite humorous in fact. The result ended up in 24 comments, mostly from former or fellow brides saying "no one cares about stamps" or "you're so ridiculous to think of spending $200 on stamps". So, as usual, I am the unreasonable bridezilla. I own that name most of the time, but in this case, I really was making a joke.

Also, I'd like to note that $200 is not unreasonable for stamps, if you need 150 stamps, at 70 cents each. Paying a little extra for something glorious looking is not unreasonable. And yes, I do look at stamps.

I don't care that "nobody" cares about that detail. I care.

I guess this is sort of an extension of being constantly deemed a bridezilla, but I feel like in the world of Pinterest, many brides get caught up in details. Some matter, some don't. It actually doesn't matter if you think details are important or not, because its my wedding and I do care about them. Most recently, my grandmother told me that it was ridiculous to purchase table overlays for the ivory banquet tablecloths at our venue because nobody cares about tablecloths. Well, I do. And its my wedding. So we're buying champagne sequin and purple satin overlays. They're going on the tables and its going to make the white tent our wedding is in pop in opulence just how I want it.

Also, still trying to figure out who all these "nobody" people are. Case and point: I spend a little extra on my Save the Dates to buy purple monograms envelopes and printed oval glossy addresses labels with a violet and lavender frame. It was such a simple detail that many would assume "nobody" would care about. That said, I got tons of compliments on them.

People did notice. Sometimes they just don't know its the details they're noticing.

Nobody cares about your wedding as much as you 

You will always care more about your own wedding than anyone else, because, well, its your special day and you are spending a ton of money and time to painstakingly plan and host an extravagant, once in a life time event. It is a life consuming task that is part of your every day for over a year. Of course its important to you...but don't expect everyone to care that much.

I know that I care the most about my wedding, but that doesn't keep my feelings from being hurt that it isn't everyone's priority. Its hurtful when my already married friends don't inquire about my wedding or seem excited after I was in their wedding and planned all the "details" they have now deemed totally unimportant post-wedding. Its hurtful when family members aren't on board with your color theme or  bridesmaids don't want to wear gold shoes.

Because of this, I just don't want to talk about my wedding with certain people any more. They never have anything nice to say when I do, so why continue to get my feeling hurt?

I remember what its like to be the constant sounding board.

I've been a bridesmaid a lot. I love weddings and I love the smallest of details. And I am more than happy to listen to anyone and everyone's wedding plans. I've spend probably months, if not years, of my life in the weeds of wedding plans, listening, advising and having my hands covered in glitter and glue for days. But not everyone is that into weddings all the time.

I remember being a bridesmaid while I was going through a particularly shitty stretch of dating and temporary broke-ness (primarily due to flying around the country attending weddings). The bride was so wrapped up in the details of her wedding-- she discussed nothing else with me. She never asked how I was, anything about my life, etc. And I just remember thinking, "Seriously, can you just ask what's going on with my life, for once?!". This isn't unique to one person or one situation, really. The point is everyone cares most about their own wedding and its easy to get wrapped up in it. Its not intentional or evil spirited-- it happens to the best of us.

I really don't want to be that bride. I don't generally bring up the wedding unless they ask. Because I don't want my friends to feel like the constant sounding board that I was in 2013-- left asking, "why am I doing this? This person doesn't even care about who I am anymore. They just care about their wedding and what I can do for it."

I literally don't care about anyone's opinion.

I will preface this point with the fact that I have some amazingly supportive friends who are a constant source of support, positivity and sunshine in my life, no matter what the topic. I don't care to abuse those relationships with wedding banter, but I do get excited to discuss some wedding aspects with them at time. Its still fun and exciting to share, just not as frequently as I thought I would want to.

But, this is what it all comes down to-- I literally just don't care about anyone's opinion regarding my wedding. I don't care if my grandmother hates my color scheme. I don't care if my bridesmaid thinks that having pocket invites isn't necessary. I don't want to hear that no one is going to return an RSVP card. I don't give any fucks that someone on Facebook thinks spending a little extra on stamps is absolutely ridiculous. Sorry you don't think purple and gold is classy. Sorry that you don't think centerpieces add to decor. Its my wedding and I'm doing what I think is perfect for our day to make it the very best day. Everyone has their own definition. This is mine.

I encourage fellow brides to take these thoughts to heart as you plan your wedding. Not everyone will be on your side or share your excitement. Everyone has their own shit-- the wedding is your shit. No matter who the sourpusses are in your life, there will be amazing and supportive people who will want to hear about your life, including wedding plans. And its okay to revel in your wedding plans with your support system. Its okay to ask for advice from these people. Seek them out, but don't abuse them. Take advice others give you with a grain of salt. Remember, its your day.

Make it what you want without regreat, because you're the one who remember the ugly stamps 20 years from now.

Friday, January 23, 2015

NotSoSingleGirl.com FLASH Giveaway: VOTE VOTE VOTE

Not So Single Girl Fan Appreciation Flash Giveaway!

Due to the AWESOME success of my Fabletics Giveaway, I'm giving away YOUR choice of any JustFab.com shoes (up to $39.95) between NOW and February 2nd at 5:00 PST. 

Thank you to everyone who is making NotSoSingleGirl.com bigger and better than I ever could have imagined!!!

{Not So} Single Girl's First Giveway of 2015!

Who else is Sweating for a Wedding in 2015?

First, I was selected as one of 5 finalists to win a Maggie Sottero gown and $2000. If you could go to instagram and "like" our photo, that would be amazing!!! Here is the direct URL if you'd like to do it from a PC as well: http://instagram.com/p/yNiJUAmMh9/ 

Or maybe you have a bridesmaid dress to squeeze into?

Or maybe you're a regular gal who wants a really fabulous outfit from Fabletics? No matter who you are, you're going to love this give away. {Not So} Single Girl and Fabletics have teamed up to challenge you to start your 2015 off right and participate in the #StayMotivatedFabletics winter fitness challenge. {Not So} Single Girl is all about this challenge because let me tell you, this booty needs to kick it in gear to look as fit as possible by my first fitting in July.

Try a few out new exercises, take some pics, post on your social media (IG, Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter) with  #StayMotivatedFabletics #NotSoSingleGirlGiveaway.

Whether you're up for the fitness challenge or not, enter my contest to win a Fabletics outfit right down there below the challenge


There's about a bazillion ways to enter and for each entry, I'll personally donate $1 to Girls on the Run, an awesome Non for Profit organization that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy 2015 (aka the best year ever because I'm getting MARRIED)! 
Look out for more fun giveaways from {Not So} Single Girl soon! 

**Prize was provide via the Fabletics Brand Ambassador program. Void where prohibited. Winner will be chosen at random. Winner will be announced within 5 business days of contest end. Winner will be contacted via social media or email, as well as identified on a blog post in February** 

Friday, January 16, 2015

{Not So} Single Girl's Weddings in Review: Kelsey's Under the Sea Bridal Shower

Kelsey's DIY Under the Sea Bridal Shower

If you recall, I was Maid of Honor in two wedding's one week apart in August of 2013. While it was certainly a busy time for me, it was one of the best experiences I have had as a bridesmaid. Kelsey and I are the biological sisters neither of us ever had. We've been best friends since the third grade and I was more than excited to plan a DIY Under the Sea Themed Bridal Shower at her home in Iowa City.

I first got the inspiration for the shower because of her love of tropical and vibrant colors. You can see the official inspirations for her shower here.

The Blushing Bride and Maid of Honor (why am I so tall? GAH!)

With about 20 ladies in attendance, I had my work cut out for me. Because I was literally a fish out of water planning this shower from Phoenix, I decided that going the DIY route would be a fun way to get the entire bridal party involved in the day. This included food and drinks, decor and entertainment for our guests. Kelsey and her (now) husband, Matt, share my love of food and drinks so I wanted to be sure we had plenty of it and everything delicious.

Brunch is Queen for Bridal Showers

Because who doesn't love brunch? Its the perfect opportunity for finger food, meal items, desserts and most importantly, CHAMPAGNE.

I'm a huge advocate of the more food, the better. I never want anyone to feel hungry at events that I'm organizing.

Our tasting menu included:
  • Bacon, Egg and Cheese "cupcakes"
  • Zucchini Quiche
  • Fruit Salad
  • "Octopus" in a Blanket (made with little weiners)
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Veggies with Garden Dip in a Bread Bowl
  • Italian Meat, Cheese & Tortellini Skewers
  • Hashbrown Casserole
  • Deli Sandwiches
  • Fresh Strawberries in Champagne and Cream
  • Olive Tampanade
  • Mini French Toast and Pancake Skewers
  • Candy Sushi
  • Cake
I wish I had a better photo of all the details of the spread, but I was super busy cooking.

The cake was absolutely incredible. I had it b
aked by a local business in Iowa City, who captured my vision of brightly colored goldfish swimming perfectly! The cake was delicious even with a fondant base, which can make cakes taste absolutely horrific. Her price was also quite reasonable.

But how cute are those fishies?

Some of the desserts we crafted beyond the cake came out far better than expected. I'm really not huge on DIY from Pinterest because I most always fail at it. However, two of our DIY dessert creations came out swimmingly, so I have to share. 

DIY Candy Sushi


1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
12 regular marshmallows
2 cups puffed rice cereal (recommended: Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal)
4 fruit roll-ups (pressed dried fruit rounds, 8 inches) any brand, any flavor
8 strips licorice candy (recommended: Twizzler's brand), any flavor – pieces should be 6 to 7 inches long, trim to match width of roll-ups


Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat and add marshmallows. Stir marshmallows until completely melted. Remove mixture from heat and add cereal. Stir to coat cereal evenly in melted marshmallows.

Roll out the fruit roll-ups. Place 1/4 of the coated cereal onto each fruit roll up and spread and gather toward 1 side of roll up. Place 2 licorice twists onto the center of the spread out cereal mix. Wrap and roll the candy and fruit, maneuvering the licorice to the center of the roll, so that the finished product resembles a sushi roll. Repeat with remaining rolls.

Place a sharp knife into a bowl of very warm water. Cut candy sushi with warm knife and arrange on a plate then serve.

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

DIY Beachside Pudding Cups


6 cinnamon shortbread cookies
3 packages instant pudding, you choose the flavor
24 teddy graham snacks
12 drink umbrellas
1 Box of Fruit Roll ups
Assorted fish or seashell gummies


Place cookies in small resealable food-storage plastic bag. With hand or rolling pin, crush cookies. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon crushed cookies on top of each cup of pudding.
Cut chewy fruit snack into 12 (1-inch) pieces. Peel each piece of fruit snack from plastic backing; place over crushed cookies on pudding for "beach towel." Top each "towel" with teddy bear and umbrella. Scatter assorted seashell gummies in each cup.

No Bridal Shower is complete without champagne and punch.

And we had plenty. We offered mimosas to our guests as well as a full size fish bowl punch for the Bride. I used scrap booking materials, crystals and rubber cement to decorate the bowl itself.

The Ultimate Fish Bowl Punch


½ cup Nerds candy
½ gallon goldfish bowl
5 oz. vodka
5 oz. Malibu rum
3 oz. blue Curacao
6 oz. sweet-and-sour mix
16 oz. pineapple juice
16 oz. Sprite
3 slices each: lemon, lime, orange
4 Swedish gummy fish

Sprinkle Nerds on bottom of bowl as “gravel.” Fill bowl with ice. Add remaining ingredients. Serve with 18-inch party straws.

Myself, sampling the goods.

Bridal Shower Entertainment

I would not say I am generally a fan of games at any sort of shower, but in a group of people who do not know each other very well, come from all parts of the country and have mostly never met before, games can be a great way to get everyone socializing. Drinking also helps get everyone socializing, but to each their own...Here's a couple of my favorites.

Toilet Paper Wedding Dresses

Pretty self explanatory. Break into teams. Create the best dresses you can from rolls of toilet paper. Award prizes for most beautiful, most creative, trainwreck dress, etc. 

Marriage Advice Treasure Chest

Sticking to the Under the Sea theme, we set up a treasure chest display with the request that each guest submit a bit of marital advice for the happy couple and place it in the chest for them to read later.

I would say Kelsey's Bridal Shower was the most DIY shower I have ever done, but I loved the theme and how many of theme elements we got to incorporate. It was such a fun day of delicious food, extra strong drinks and so much laughter.

If you'd like any of the recipes or further directions on how to recreate something seem here, please comment below!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I'm rarely a trendsetter...

But seriously, this is the next trend in Bridesmaid dresses

I'm kicking myself for not thinking of this company myself because they're going to make a bazillion dollars.

So, I've been on the hunt for THE bridesmaid dress that would satisfy all the needs of my large bridal party. I'm one of those mean brides who is insisting everyone wear the same dress even though they are of all heights, weights, body shapes, skin tones, etc. SORRY FRIENDS. 

So, I started the bridesmaid conversation with a few of the girls to see if there were any styles or fabrics they absolutely could NOT manage to swing on their body. The replies I got were:
  • I will wear ONLY strapless.
  • I will wear ONLY something with at least 1 strap.
  • Nothing too low cut in the back so I can wear a bra.
  • Nothing too low cut in the front because I'm too busty.
  • Something requiring minimal alterations.
  • Something under $150.

The struggle was about to be real. But wait...Enter: Azazie.com.

I am literally enamored with this site. The dresses are sassy, elegant and they have literally every single color you could ask for. There's lots of options that the bigger retailers like David's Bridal don't even come close to offering. 

So here's how it works: 

They are based in California and just launched just this year. All of the dresses are handmade by small tailors – no factories in CHINA. The prices are low because unlike other bridal retailers, they don't maintain a huge marketing budget. You can get ANY Azazie dress handmade to your custom measurements (re: less/no alterations) for no additional cost. It takes about 3 weeks for your dress to arrive after you've purchased it. 

They also have an option to order color swatches in any fabric they make dresses in AND you can order sample dresses to try on at home, on your own, for $10, with free shipping and free return. 

So, that's what I did. I ordered swatches and samples. I knew I wanted purple, but which purple...Don't even worry-- Azazie has like 5 frickin' purples to choose from. 

All the PURPLES. All the CHOICES.

My samples arrived last night. Tiffany and I broke into the box immediately of course. The sample dresses came in a very classy and well made garment bag. Certainly much nicer than the the dress I paid $200 for at David's Bridal recent that came crumpled in a damn plastic bag and looked like an animal attacked it (aka I returned it, DON'T WORRY). We ordered two dresses in two sizes based on their sizing chart on their website. Their dresses, like many places, run in bridal sizes so we ordered about 2-4 sizes up to get an idea of their fit. 

I found the dresses to fit true to their measurements on the website. The quality of the seams and zipper were perfect. The chiffon was soft and elegant. The satin was rich and flowy. I was overall very impressed. The strapless dress even had a built in cup/bra latch on the inside as well. 

I will say that they are very long dresses. I'm 6'0 and I put on heels and the dress was still floor length. However, because they offer custom measurements for free when you order an actual dress so it shouldn't be an issue and should reduce most (if not all) alterations for bridesmaids. Here's a couple of photos from our fashion show of bridesmaid dress samples.

While neither of these is THE bridesmaid dress, I have decided on a different style from Azazie.com. I'll be outfitting my bridesmaids and junior bridesmaids in Azazie dresses and I plan to purchase a reception and bridal shower dress from them as well.

I'm telling you that the service they provide and the dresses they make are unbeatable for the price. I own a closet full of bridesmaid dresses that cost more, have far lower quality and took damn near 4 months to come in after I ordered them.

Save your ladies time, money and alterations. They'll love you for it and you won't feel nearly as mean about forcing them all into floor length chiffon gowns that match. I have yet to find a company that offers the same services Azazie does. It may not be the traditional way of finding your bridesmaid dresses but it sure beats the competition. #azazieobsessed #moardressesplease

Now to decide which dress I'm going to order for myself...mwhahahaha.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Best of {Not So} Single Girl's Wedding Inspirations: Kelsey's Under the Sea Bridal Shower

**This Inspiration was originally published on 8/28/12**

I have a feeling this is the perfect themed bridal shower for Kelsey, who is the perfect off-beat bride...

Kelsey and I have been friends since the third grade. We've been through leggings, cat/wolf shirts, cross country moves, heart breaks, high school dances, drug addict friends and now, here we are, growing up together some more as Kelsey plans her spectacular backyard nuptials, set to take place in the Fall of 2013. She's having a semi-casual shindig in her huge, beautiful backyard with an array of paper flowers (yay for us who suffer from allergies) and catering by a favorite local restaurant of her and her Fiance, Matt. 

For as long as I've known Kelsey, she's lovely vibrant, fun colors and all things slightly quirky, so when I started thinking about bridal showers. I thought a really fun "Under the Sea" themed party would be perfect. Bright oranges, vibrant blues and tons of cute sea critters...perfection. 

Let's jump right in and get our feet wet with some beautiful decor inspirations...

I love the gerber daisy accents in orange on this first inspiration board. The orange, blue and violet work really well together and the unique, minimal patterns are perfect for a timeless, not tacky, touch, even though the colors are not a "typical" color palette for any event.

How cute are the goggles around the blue vases? So cute. I also love the big blue lanterns because they remind me of bubbles. I think it'd be super neat to actually create the feel of being under the sea, which could easily be accomplished with a little draping, balloons, lanterns and the color scheme we're going for. I especially love the photos hanging from the balloons in the bottom right corner...they remind me of looking at lily pads from the bottom up.

What is a good party without fabulous food and drink? Luckily there's plenty of fish in the sea to find the perfect combination...

Kelsey and I both love a good cocktail. So, instead of the typical mimosas, I propose blood orange mimosas, orange dreamsicle martinis and blue hawaiian punch, complete with shark fin ice cubes and floating fishies. These drinks are just too cute to pass up and are also absolutely delicious. They'll add to the orange and blue accents in the decorations too.

Is it wrong to serve up seafood and an Under the Sea celebration? Regardless, I'm a huge seafood fan so a big sushi platter to share is a must have at this bridal shower. I'm also recommending Lobster Mac & Cheese, Scallops Benedict on Crab Cakes and Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Mango Black Bean Salsa. All of these are super easy to make and make great finger foods at a party. They're easy on presentation and look as delicious as they taste.

I also thought that a few "sea creature" look-a-like foods could be served up, for those who don't indulge in seafood dishes themselves. Serving crab-shaped croissant sandwiches, calm and star fish crackers with spread and a beach ball fruit salad will spice up the menu for sure. I love how everything has the cute little cartoon eyes-- they're almost too cute to eat!

Speaking of adorable foods, these sweet treats are perfect for not only the theme, but also the color scheme. I literally cannot wait to make the marsh mellow goldfish pops. The orange soda in a custom labelled bottle will make for a tasty take home souvenir for guests as well.

As I mentioned before, I love sushi, so a desert sushi platter make from some of my favorite candies will be a great snack throughout the day. The watermelon shark in the middle of the inspiration board will be an awesome centerpiece on the dessert table as well. Pretty sure I'll cut my finger off carving that thing, but it will be WELL WORTH IT. Anything for my friends.

While this might not be the typical bridal shower theme, it certainly is vibrant, creative and adorable, much like Kelsey is herself. Between the cartoon-y sea critter foods and a decor that makes you feel under the sea, this over the top bridal shower is the perfect way to show Kelsey that life is better under the sea!

The Bridal Expo is the Pandora's Box of Weddings

Five Reasons to Attend a Bridal Expo

And Five Mistakes NOT to Make at a Bridal Expo

On Sunday, Tiffany and I decided on a whim to attend the Phoenix Bridal Expo even though I'm not get married here and have most of my vendors selected. I really, really am glad that I did. There was literally a bazillion people there and every type of vendor you can imagine. If you were a Phoenician bride who was truly looking for a one stop information shop, this was it. If you're on the fence about attending a Bridal Expo, check out this handy guide.

1. You get to wear your Bride swag and no one will judge you at all.

Most every bride to be is obsessed with the insane amount of adorable Wifey and Bride swag there is available out there. For the well seasoned bridesmaid, chances are you have at least one item of clothing that declares your bridal party role in rhinestones. I literally love this stuff even if I'll never it again after my wedding. Bridesmaid Shed gifted me a great bride tank top and velour zip up. To initiate Tiffany into the Bridesmaid Professionals Club, I also made her a Maid of Honor tank to wear to the expo with me. I didn't want to be the only overzealous bride. Turns out, literally 97% of brides and bridesmaids attending had their bridal swag on. If you didn't have any, there were a dozen or so vendors there selling it. Plus it makes for pretty cute photos that you can use your Wedding hashtag on later.

#MoralesPartyofTwo swag in action

2. You'll get inspired to go bigger, more detailed and add extra frills.

You will not even know how many frickin' options you have until you attend a bridal expo. Seriously, I'm a professional event planner and I didn't even realize how many frilly options exist in the wedding world. My biggest dilemma this week is centerpieces. What's too big? What's not big enough? What colors of flowers to use? Is it too much purple with the lighting? Which shades of purple can match my table clothes? The expo had so many displays, in my colors, with tons of inspiration for what I can do at my own venue. I promise, you will get inspired to do more, go bigger, add detail at the expo. I would advise snapping photos and uploading to Pinterest later under their appropriate categories so the ideas are not forgotten.

 3. You're going to have a great time.

If you take nothing else away from the Bridal Expo, take away a good time. Bring your bridesmaids or your mom. Take advantage of all the sights and sounds.

Just me being HOVA.
Go judge the Bridal Fashion Show and dance along with the DJ's. There's a ton of weird displays and beautiful displays alike. There's also a ton of great people watching. You can literally go into a dozen photo booths and take whacky photos with props. I promise, you will share many laughs throughout the day.

Can you tell what part of the Expo we liked best?

 4. Eat, drink and be merry.

As a guideline, I would come to the expo with a fairly empty stomach. We literally ate so many catering samples and tasted everything from pink basil lemonade to margaritas to champagne. We ate every flavor of cake you could fathom and tried samples from at least 5 food trucks. We stuffed ourselves stupid, so much so that we couldn't even go out to lunch afterwards as planned. We also visited the champagne vendor a few too many times and he eventually just gave us bottles to take him. That's defiantly the best thing we took away the expo.
Party favors?

5. You'll get information on what you need most.

There are an overwhelming amount of vendors for everything category at the expo. I would recommend focusing on the ones you need most help with. For myself, I've struggled to decided what style of cake I want to go with. Something simple and sophisticated versus something more blinged out and high fashion? Decisions, decisions. While sampling cake, I got to snap some photos of some of my favorite cakes that they had decorated. I kept in mind throughout the entire expo that that's what I was on the look out for. While this could be something like tuxedos or maybe even men's wedding bands, I suggest you set a list of priorities and browse from there. It'll keep you focused on what you need and what's important for YOUR day. Here are a couple of my favorite cakes that I saw.

All this is great, but don't make mistakes that ruin the memories...

There are a few things that will put a damper on your Bridal Expo experience, leaving you sweating, overwhelmed and regretting your decisions to attend. Make these simple adjustments and avoid these feelings all together.

1. Go on the second day of the Expo, if possible.

If there is a two day expo, choose to go the second day and avoid a lot of parking mess and over zealous crowds. There's still plenty of information, samples and prizes that are readily available. If vendor have extra swag, they'll be giving it out late in the day rather than packing it up and hauling it out. That's how we ended up with free bottle of champagne.

2. Don't bring a purse.

Shove whatever you need in your pockets or bra. Make sure you bring your ID so you can sample alcohol. Bring your credit card for any purchases. Leave the rest at home. They'll give you a huge tote bag (or three) to haul around the pamphlets, samples, business cards and wedding magazines you'll collect. If you have a purse on top of this, its just a pain in the neck literally. Also, you're in a crowded place, less belongings means less likely to loose it, leave it or get pick pocketed.

3. Don't pay full price for your tickets.

In most cities, tickets are available for a nominal fee or FREE of charge. Like the Expo's Facebook groups, join their email list serve and listen for promos on the radio. Paying more than $5 per ticket is absolute silliness.

4. Bring pre-printed address labels with your name, wedding date and wedding email.

There's literally over 100 raffles, drawings and contests to enter at any expo. Save yourself time and bring pre-printed labels with you name, wedding date, and wedding email address on them. Don't add your phone number unless you love promotional calls. I used my Google Voice number that is available for free and leads right to voice mail on the off chance a vendor I want to hear from calls or I win a real prize. Email spam is easy enough to get rid of, but calls are a different ballgame.

5. Don't get pressured into make a decision right then and there.

Wedding expos offer many great special pricing options from Vendors, but don't be pressured into placing deposits and booking vendors on the spot. Most of them will honor their expo pricing options for up to 30 days after the event. Just because a vendor is at an expo and has a pretty booth set up, doesn't mean they're a reputable company. Anyone who pays a fee can be an exhibitor at a wedding expo-- ANYONE. In the frenzy of the expo, there's no way that you can get all the questions you should be asking of a vendor answered. You'll want to check their website, reviews and BBB profile before booking them, no matter how good the deal seems to be.

Please, please, please do attend a Bridal expo. They are a great resource, really a lot of fun and super inspirational for ideas for all types of brides. I feel like the expo is sort of a right of passage to being a bride-- it was so weird to hear vendors say "Are you the Bride?" (DUH, look at my bedazzled tank top). All part of it becoming a reality, I suppose.

Did you love the expo? Hate? Think it was useless? Share your experiences with NotSoSingleGirl.com!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Best of {Not So} Single Girl's Bridesmaid Woes: "Just Pick Your Own Dress"

 **This post was originally published 10/2/12**

I hate it when a Bride says "Just pick your own dress"

At some point, my BFF Bride Amy decided that her bridesmaid styles are all just way too different and no one dress would be good for all of us. I completely understand and respect this, but now I have dilemma...I have to go find a blush dress that looks good on me AND fits the style of the wedding AND fits the taste of Amy, because, hell its still her wedding and even if I have free reign of dress styles, I would obviously want her final approval (and I assume she'd want the final approval as well). 

Amy is like, really, stylish. She makes a white v-neck t-shirt look like a million bucks and can wear a pair of skinny jeans better than anyone I know. As for me, I have to try really hard to be stylish. I need sequins and leopard print and really high heels and all that jazz or I just can't even begin to look sub par. Amy, on the other hand, can go out looking effortless and gorgeous without all the tacky details I love and embrace. Where can I find a bridemaid dress that will make both of us happy?

Let's have a look at a few of my original ideas:

You had a good laugh. I know you did. Let's be real...none of those are REALLY my style at all, so we can all rest assured that I won't be relying on bows and ruffles to make my Maid of Honor title proud.

Anyways, most bridesmaids feel opposite of me. They would love to just go out and pick whatever they want to wear, but I'm not that way. I mean, I'll do it gladly, but I would like it much better if the bride told me what to wear, where to try it on and I can hand over my credit card and order it. I just feel like, hell, I don't want to disappoint. I want to wear something that the bride likes me in and I don't want her to be nice and let me look like a frickin' hoochie because she didn't want hurt my feelings or tell me that the dress I choose doesn't match the style she's going for on her wedding. 

I'm sure that everything with be fine with Amy's bridesmaid dress and I've found a couple of acceptable candidates already, although I have some time. I'm really just most worried with disappointing her with what I pick. Its a tough situation because she's my best friend and I want her wedding to be everything she wants it to be, without worrying if her bridesmaid's dresses are going to be a hot mess. I love her and the last thing I'd want to do is add MORE stress to her wedding saturated brain than already exists.

Opinions? Should all bridesmaids match? Should a bride have the final say? 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Saving on Save the Dates

Saving on Save the Dates

On that not, our Save the Dates are in the mail!

Its John and I's one year anniversary today...and today, our wedding Save the Dates went out in the mail. Talk about things that change in a year, huh? But, man, what an incredible year its been. I cannot wait to celebrate with the love of my life this week. He is seriously my better half at least 97% of the time.
Sneaker game on fleek. Only I could find a man who loves shoes as much as I do.
This morning, I dropped off our Save the Date postcards at the post office. What an awesome feeling! Its basically one of the first things I've done that really feels like "whoa, I'm getting married. This is real life". That said I wanted to share my process in creating and sending my Save the Dates.

 I really believe that Save the Dates are one of the easiest places to cut on your budget for a few reasons. Although some people might disagree, Save the dates are largely option to send at all. Traditionally, they were only sent for the most formal weddings or to out of town guests who might need to book travel or accommodations earlier than the invite is sent. In a world where weddings are incredible money making machines, Save the Dates have become the norm.

When you start to research Save the Dates, you'll see everything from flat cards for under $1 in a plan white envelope to extravagant full color cards with laser cut imaging in formal envelopes for $3-$5 each. If you have the money, I say go for what you love because I always error on the side of extra extravagant; however, if you're most brides, you're on some kind of budget. Any money saved here can be reallocated elsewhere and I promise you can get a professional and adorable memento to send your guests for much less than you think.

We decided right away that we wanted a magnetic 5x7 inch postcard for our guests. Because we have a heavily out of town guest list, I also knew that we need to get these babies out as soon as possible to give people plenty of time to plan ahead. I headed over to my old friend Vistaprint.com where I have gone in the past for many budget customized printed items. There, you can upload your own design or use one of their templates. They also almost always have a 50-60% off sale going on...don't even bother purchasing if not.

We modified the fonts and colors on an existing template to use a few of our favorite engagement photos. We also planned ahead of engagement photos and wore colors similar to our Wedding Brand, so we could be sure to incorporate our wedding colors into the Save the Dates without clashing. This goes back to building the foundations of your wedding theme to create a comprehensive guest experience from the start.

Your Save the Date cards are also a great place to feature your Wedding Website and start getting information about your wedding out to your guests. There obviously isn't enough room to write all the details on one small card-- that's what the invite is for-- but adding the website gets the ball rolling.

For 200 Save the Date 5x7 Magnet Postcards with plain white envelopes included, we paid under $70.
Tah dah!

Because I can't just leave anything alone. I opted to order custom envelopes in purple and ivory with a custom monogram and return address printed on the back. We also opted to have the security tint on the envelope printed with our names. Just a couple of extra touches that I feel really pull together the entire package and emphasis our wedding brand overall.

For 200 Custom Printed Envelopes, we paid under $45.
Proof of Backside of Envelope
 But wait, there's more. I had two final touches. Because my hand writing in horrendous, I opted to use Avery oval labels ($15 for 180 at Staples) with a colored template (free online) to design my address labels. I topped off my Save the Dates by ordering Ivory Wedding Roses stamps from USPS.com instead of using American flags or State Birds or whatever the damn post office had in stock at the time.

Herro. We're coming to your mailbox soon.
In my opinion, I think I got a great finished products for just over $100 (not including postage), it doesn't get much sweeter than that. If you have less guests, this is obviously going to be much cheaper for you; however, Vistaprint does have unusual quantity pricing style-- where 200 is sometimes cheaper the 150, etc.

As I said before, Save the Dates are a great place to be budget friendly without looking budget friendly. You can get a beautiful product for relatively inexpensive and reallocate that money elsewhere in your budget. For me, I'm allocating it towards champagne. Because when given a choice, always choose champagne, right?

Please feel free share in the comments any images of your Save the Dates or the ways that you plan to save on your wedding.