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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.


BEST OF {Not SO} Single Girl: Saying "I Do" to Tattoos

 **This post was originally published on 8/7/12, but remains extremely relevant**

Choose those Bridesmaids carefully. 

You get their good, bad, ugly...and their tattoos...

I have to preface this blog with the fact that I do not hate tattoos. I even have one. I could care less what you want to put on your body in your own free time. However, tattoos in weddings are an entirely different story. 

I did some preliminary research on this topic, talked with my Brides, read some wedding message boards and blogs as well. Almost all of them have the complete opposite opinion as I do. They think that when you choose your bridesmaid, you can't tell them what to do because they're doing you a service by being in your wedding. You can't tell them how to wear their hair, to get a spray tan or to cover up their huge tattoos because they're your friend and you should love them as is.

Alas, I disagree. You are the bride. You get one wedding to make perfect. You have to pay the exorbitant photographer fees and even more ridiculous prices for professional photos. Those photos should come out with the happy couple as the center of attention, just like your wedding day should focus on the two of you. 

Let's have a look at this photo:

What's the first thing that catches your eye here? Mine is..."What the frick is that ugly blue blob on that bridesmaid's arm?". Overall, its a fun picture. Pretty girls, beautiful bride, colorful flowers. Unfortunately, that tattoo doesn't really fit with anything else in the picture. Its not colorful, fun, classy, whatever. It just doesn't work. Clearly this could've bee solved by swapping her position with another bridesmaid, but that only works for so many photos. That tattoo is going to be front and center your entire wedding, Ladies.

Now, I'm not saying tattoos NEVER work in a wedding. Here's a couple examples where its clearly a theme within the wedding, and turns out looking very, very cool.

Errrrrrbody got tattoos. Big, visible ones, at at. And that's alright. It works with the colors and the clear atmosphere of these weddings. It doesn't look trashy. It still wouldn't be my pick for a wedding, but hey, my wedding plans aren't for everyone either. I think whether a bride says "I do" to tattoos in her wedding truly depends on whether she has large, visible tattoos as well.

Like in this photo, the bride has a half sleeve on her arm. Seemingly none of her bridesmaids have any blatantly visible tattoos at all; however, they are all wearing a small, heart shaped temporary tattoo on their forearms which pulls together the bridal party into one cohesive team to match the bride's style. I really like this idea.

Now the hard part...When you tell your bridesmaid to cover up.

 This can be tricky, I suspect. Tattoos are a very personal thing for most people and they wear them very proudly. Most tattoos are meant to be seen. However, like I said before, this is your day as a bride and you should have what you want (within reason). I've come up with two easy steps to make sure your bridesmaid knows her tattoos are a no-go on your day in the least uncomfortable way.

Step 1: Talk to her right away.

Don't let this go for long. Be honest and real with your bridesmaid. Most likely, she'll understand your dilemma. Whether its because of family opinions, religious choices or just because you don't want tattoos in your forever memories, if she is your good friend, she'll respect your wishes. Obviously you don't expect her to get them surgically removed, but brain storm some ideas she would feel comfortable with. Maybe that's a small jackets over her bridesmaid dress, or maybe its covering them with make up. There are tons of choices. Its best to just be open and real about the expectations you have for your bridesmaids.

Step 2: Make "Bridal Emergency Baskets" for all your Bridesmaids, complete with Tattoo Cover Up in your Tattooed Beauty's basket.

Bridal Baskets for the bridesmaids are a super popular way to surprise your bridesmaids with a little treat to show your appreciate for being in the wedding. One quick search on Pinterest and you'll find dozens of options for how to create these cuties. Some of my favorite items to include are: a personal bottle of champagne, sparkly flip flops for dancing all night, a few cute cookies or sweets, a personalized hanger for their dress,  nail polish to wear the day of, a personalized tumbler, a personalized thigh flask and some lip glosses/make up to match their dresses.

 This is the perfect place to slip in Tattoo Cover Up. There are heaps of products on the market now to help people cover tattoos for a period of time. Many of these products are water proof and come in about 6-8 skin tones, so you can find your perfect match. By putting this product in her bridal basket, you are taking the financial burden of finding and purchasing the product off of her, without singling her out in front of the bridal party. Its a nice gesture, as long as you have already talked to her about covering them up. Let's not go the passive aggressive route, because it will likely enrage someone. Being in a bridal party should strengthen friendships, not break them.

You can find these coverage products at most cosmetic stores now; however, my heavily tattooed friend has recommended two products for tattoo coverage of all type (small, large, colored, etc). The first is the Kat Von D Tattoo Concealer which sells for $25 for a small bottle at Sephora. While it comes in 8 skin tones and is oil/paraben free, it is not water proof (just resistant) and comes at a slightly high price point, especially if you have a large surface to cover.

The product that I've heard the best thing about is Tattoo Camo. It retails for $25-$35 for a large portion of the mask and a bottle of remover. It is water proof and comes in 6 skin tones. This is ideal for anyone who is planning ahead, because it has limited retail exposure and will likely need to be ordered online. Apparently, its awesome for larger, darker colored tattoo coverage and will last 2-3 days if needed.

Bottom line: Tattoos can have a place in a wedding, but does it fit your wedding? Its ultimately up to the bride to decide; however, the bride shouldn't be permanently stuck with someone's My Little Pony tattoo from a drunken Cancun vacation.

Opinions? Thoughts? Think I'm a terrible friend? Let me know.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

{Not So} Single Girl Weddings in Review: #ShedWed2013

A Look Back at #ShedWed2013

Just over a year ago, my now bridesmaid, Andrea (affectionately nicknamed 'Shed' for her maiden name), got married in a beautiful, formal hotel wedding in Rockville, Maryland just outside of Washington, DC where we went to college. I actually attended this wedding not as a Bridesmaid, but as her Day of Wedding Coordinator to pull together a ~200 person affair complete with rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception and post wedding brunch. This is one of the larger weddings I've attended so I was more than excited to dig into my coordinating role.

Andrea & Her Prince Eric

The story behind Andrea and I's friendship is an interesting story. We met in the spring of 2007 when I joined Phi Mu sorority where Shed was already a member. While we enjoyed each other's company in college, we were certain not very close friends. It really wasn't until 2012 when I was living in Phoenix and Shed had become an LA resident that we began to chat frequently on Facebook, growing increasingly closer as she planned her wedding. Shed is all the things I love: hilarious, fellow blogger, quirky, a glitter fanatic and incredibly artsy. We've attended a number of wedding events together, including her amazeballs bachelorette party in Hollywood. Today, I can't imagine a better person to be standing by my side on my wedding day.

Let's recreate this moment again soon.
If you recall, Andrea has a minor obsession with the Little Mermaid which acted as her color inspiration for her wedding brand. Take a look at her inspiration here. However, planning an East Coast wedding from the West coast is not easy task. Combine Andrea's quirky sensibilities with her plan for a formal wedding, and you get an outcome that is exactly that.

I want to share some of my favorite photos from the wedding with a few personal comments about my experience at #ShedWed2013.

One of my absolutely favorite parts of Andrea's wedding was her wedding parties attire. I would never even think to put aqua blue with red, but she pulled it off. The entire bridal party is outfitted from David's Bridal in vibrant Malibu and Candy Apple. The flowers were simple and gorgeous fall season bouquets. I love that Andrea used a match Malibu sash on her wedding gown which really tied her ensemble together for me.

Andrea's dress has amazing sparkle for being fully lace. It had delicate beading which was so gorgeous, yet sophisticated. This is one of the best dresses I've seen from David's Bridal for sure. The quality is much higher and the detailing much more intricate that the usual aline styles that are shown. Her veil accented her gorgeous hair without being overwhelming. #shewokeuplikethis

 The groomsmen wore dark gray with the same color accents. It doesn't look prom like, which is how I usually feel about suits with light colored parts. I also appreciate the off beat groomswoman who still manages to "be one of the guys" instead of just becoming a bridesmaid on the wrong side of the aisle.

 In having a traditional and formal hotel wedding, the ceremony space was pretty classic. I appreciate that there was simple and modern decor, not too much and not too little. The Chiavari chairs are literally one of my favorite parts of weddings. They are just so damn elegant. I also really liked the use of pipe and drape with uplighting to highlight the Chuppah. Once again, not too much and not too little. This is especially important in a hotel ballroom where there is often colored and patterned carpeting and walls, as seen in the photo above. Shed chose to work with the gold and blue colors rather than try to hide it.

One really amazing thing that Shed chose to have was one of our sorority sisters, Jenna (also one of my best friends), to be the officiant at her wedding. They designed a romantic, sweet and fun ceremony that highlighted some of my favorite parts about Eric and Andrea as a couple. Jenna is a great public speaker with a knack for ceremonies, as she conducted many sorority rituals as chapter president in college. Jenna was excellent; however I would absolutely encourage any bride to choose a wedding officiant carefully. Not everyone is witty, professional and well versed as Jenna. Some people get nervous. Some states do not allow for a friend or family member to legally marry you. Just be steadfast in your officiant research, because the ceremony will set the tone of the reception.

Day of Coordinator, Bride & Officiant

 After the ceremony, all of the guests headed out into the foyer of the ballroom for cocktail hour while the ballroom was expanded and transformed into the reception space. This is common for hotel weddings.

I have basically no photos of cocktail hour because I was drinking these amazing signature drinks that were aqua blue and full of liquor. Andrea spared no expense on the cocktail hour. There were multiple full liquor bars, food stations with pasta and meat being served by chefs and passed hors d'oeuvres as well. The only problem was that the foyer was not exactly large enough for all the guests. I'm going to guess this was a logistical error on the side of the hotel because there is no way you could predict (as an individual) that the space would fill so rapidly and force people close together. Because of so many people, it was literally like Black Friday shopping. Alternating waiting in line for drinks and snatching food off of trays that came by. I will say that all of the food was well plated, warm and delicious and the drinks were poured nice and strong the way I like them.

Before long, the ballroom was completely transformed and the DJ was warming up as the bridal party entered. I thought the room looked elegant and simple, much like the ceremony space. The centerpieces were tall with red flowers and definitely did not get in the way of conversation at the table. Jenna (the officiant) and I hit the bar immediately and befriended the bartender who poured us more signature drinks

Andrea served a 4 course plated meal. The food was delicious and served hot, which is quite a feat for serving dinner to ~200 people in a ballroom. The staff was attentive and efficient. No complaints there. Before long, Andrea and Eric were ready to cut the cake and get the party started.

Andrea's cake sticks to not only her theme but also her elegant and classic style. It was also delicious tasting although I do admit I don't recall the flavor due to probably way, way too many signature cocktails.

Her cake topper was the Little Mermaid and Prince Eric dancing and was absolutely the perfect personal touch for these two. God, that cake is so cute. You can see me on the left side of the photo salivating practically.

The party got pumping after cake cutting. I caught the bouquet and literally I am (almost with the exception of one of our sorority sisters who got married like over the summer) the next one to get married! Damn, how many bouquets did I have to catch before finally saying that came true? #tallgirlproblems

Very proud of my catch.
One of the very best part of Andrea's wedding was how many of our sorority sisters were there to celebrate her day. Its really true when they tell you being in a sorority is not just four years. I wouldn't ever have believed I'd be a sorority, better yet a 27 year old sorority girl. It was incredibly special to see how our bond has withstood the test of time after college.

Sisters are the chains that allow me to be freeeeeeee....Sisters are the mirrors that let me see meeeeeeee....

That mushy stuff aside, I thought Andrea & Eric's wedding had all of the most important aspects of a wedding: good food, touching ceremony, lots of alcohol. It was such a fun day from start to finish and I'm so thankful to have been a party of it. The personal touches of  "the Little Mermaid" were a great twist on a tradition hotel wedding with all of the frills of formality that I love in any wedding.

Big shout out to Shed for letting me do this wedding recap like a bazillion years later. Love you gurl.