Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Top 20 DIY Wedding Websites!

For the next few Wednesdays, I'm going to be posting some information for you all, which I hope will come in handy.  My favorites!  This week, I'd like to share with you my top 20 favorite DIY web resources.  These websites and blogs are absolutely chock full of DIY goodness.  As an added bonus, they're all quite budget friendly as well.  Read on, friends, read on!


My Top 20 DIY Web Resources!  (in alphabetical order)

This blog has been one of my favorites from the get-go, because its author's wedding focus is so utterly refreshing- good old fashioned values like commitment, community, caring for the earth and the people around us.  And as an added bonus, budget friendly DIY ideas abound!

Are you sensing a theme yet?  This bride has collected and posted many, many lovely wedding projects you can do yourself, and I'm always psyched when she finds something new!

This bride has amazing taste and lovely ideas.  Definitely check out last week's hanging mason jar project.  So much fun!

This is the website for you if you want to create lovely DIY wedding projects but lack the graphic design skills to design your own images.  I have personally worked with the designer, Sarah Guze Brown, and her prices are very reasonable, her work is excellent, she communicates quickly, and she is lots of fun to work with!

This amazing bride is from my home state, but the real reason I love her is that her blog is tons of fun!  I particularly love the photo thank you postcards she made, along with the DIY argyle programs she has posted.

This much loved blogger bride planned her own amazing DIY wedding on an unbelievable budget.  Her graphic design background probably helps, but seriously, almost all of her ideas could be replicated by a novice and she gives great money saving tips (like customizing bottles of "Two Buck Chuck" to save on your wine budget)!

The name says it all, and you'd be nuts not to check this blog out.  I especially love how many of the ideas could be used, not only for weddings, but also for parties, home decorating, you name it!

I first began following this lovely bride on Weddingbee and later became hooked on her other blog, Glamour This!  Check out her DIY brooch tutorial and you'll be hooked too!

From crackled shabby chic chair signage to felt flowers, this bride can definitely teach you some DIY budget tricks!

iDIY is the perfect place to go for paper inspiration, freebie downloads and more. For me it all started with downloading freebie vintage photoshop brushes-- and suddenly I was hooked for life!

A wonderful, wonderful blog with amazing ideas- like making your own dance floor monogram.  LOVE!

With an abundance of DIY ideas, this blog will charm the socks off of you.  Especially the DIY Ohio printables- or am I just partial?

I found this blog by accident, but I'll never lose it now that I have found it!  The many amazing ideas on this blog will have you hooked too!  Right now, I'm particularly enamored with the vintage book table numbers.  But really, who can pick a favorite?

Once Wed

With an entire portion of the website devoted to DIY weddings, you'll be hooked too.  My current favorite is the kitschy winter table decor, featuring an ADORABLE owl made from a pine cone, but I'm sure you'll find your own favorites within minutes!

This wedding planner's blog is a dream come true for any bride, with its rustic-chic, elegant and fabulous ideas!

I am especially smitten with this blog's DIY silhouette "bride's side" and "groom's side" pew cards, but really, all of the ideas are sure to have you drooling.

This blog has some unbelievably great DIY ideas, and was the place where I found my water bottle labels.  Plus, you know how I feel about vintage glam wedding ideas!

The Vintage Moth

Ok, I admit, this isn't technically a "wedding blog" but with so many gorgeous, free, vintage images, I couldn't resist!

The Wedding Chicks!

A great place to go for freebie downloadable invitation goodies. Check out their category titled "DIY & Templates" and start swooning for yourself!

With this blog, you will spend many hours reading, smiling, loving.  There is an entire section devoted to wonderful DIY projects too, what else do you need to know?

free image courtesy of

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Making Menus

This past weekend, I checked another project off our massive wedding to-do list.  Menus!

Early in the process, J. and I decided to make our own menus even though our venue provides them at no charge.  We thought it would be an easy place to add some personalization to our wedding, and gave us a really fun opportunity to add some humor into our otherwise formal event.  To do so, we "borrowed" an idea from a friend and decided to go with double sided menus.  On one side of the menu, we have a serious description, so that the guests will know what to expect.  On the other side, we thought up a number of silly descriptions to (we hope) make them laugh!

Will everyone at our wedding think this is awesome as we do?  Probably not.  But its never stopped us me before!

Our menus were designed by Sara Guze Brown of Belletristics, and she custom-made them to coordinate with our address labels.

Cake and Poms 068

Sneak peek of our address labels in action...

One side of the menu will be green and gold, and on the other side we reversed the colors.  To print them, I purchased standard 8.5" by 11" card stock, and had staples custom cut it in half, lengthwise, for $2.  We used our home printer, so I only spent about $30, including the fee for the design itself, to make 170 of these- and they turned out great!


For more information about the menus, visit Belletristics' blog!

Of course, it took a village to come up with the humorous menu descriptions (special thanks to H., G., D., B. and R. for your hilarious help), and we sure had fun doing it!  I'm not going to tell you what our final decisions were, but here are some of the ones we didn't choose.  They were so funny we had to share them with you!

Butternut Squash Ravioli:  The only ravioli capable of resolving the healthcare debate raging throughout this country.

Mixed Baby Green Lettuces:  It was just too much trouble to sort out the different lettuces.

French Breast of Chicken: This chicken spent its days people watching at cafes and subsisted on a diet of wine, cigarettes and baguettes.

Fire Grilled NY Strip Steak:  We 100% guarantee it wasn't made on a Forman Grill.  *wink*

Filet of Salmon: The omega-3's will not prevent your inevitable hangover.

Eggplant Rollantini: Feel free to judge the vegetarians who order this; they're already judging you.

Trio of Desserts:  There were going to be four but we ran out of money.

Would you consider using funny menu descriptions for your wedding?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mercury Glass Inspiration!

DecsMercuryGlassMercury glass!  You're going to see it at our wedding in mass quantities because I heart mercury glass.  Somewhere between rustic elegance and polished glamour lies a gorgeous gray area of speckled, mirrored glass... for me it is absolute quintessential "vintage Christmas."  And oh-so wedding perfect!  But why should I have all the fun?  Mercury glass objects can be found everywhere from flea markets to TJ Maxx, and some of my personal favorites are actually bargains I've found at the Christmas Tree Shop.  Apothecary jars, vases, candlesticks, jewelry boxes, and of course, Christmas ornaments abound!  So here's some inspiration I created using this most lovely of materials, with cranberry and plum accents in honor of the fall!



top image source


Sources: Birnbaum and Bullock gown, programs, mercury glass candlesticks, groom, lavender bunches, Juliette fascinator, bouquets, wedding cake, family photos,Ella earrings, Louboutin pumps, Wonderland invitation, Priscilla of Boston bridesmaids dresses.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Erin and Anthony's Romantic Getaway Wedding

Its Friday, and I'm pretty happy to be able to say that.  So in honor of happy Fridays, today I have another amazing wedding to share with you!  The wedding of Erin and Anthony!

I should say at the outset that originally I myself wanted to have a destination wedding, and when you see these photos you'll understand exactly why!  These two were married in an intimate ceremony at Couples Swept Away in Jamaica, with their families and each other.  The bride's favorite color has always been orange, so the couple paired it with a bright shade of teal for a fun pop of not-too-formal color.   The bride carried tropical flowers featuring orange lilies, and wore a lightweight chiffon gown perfect for the weather!  The bride and groom said "I do" right on the beach with the salt, sand and wind, and afterward ate cake, drank champagne, and - yes - took a swim!  You can see instantly just how much complete and total FUN these two are together.  It has been a blast to see them in love- its like cuteness to the 1000th degree!

After the wedding and a few lovely days away, the bride and groom threw a barbecue reception (also pictured below) at the bride's parents home in Solon, Ohio, complete with the best BBQ I've ever had: Hoggy's.  The tables were decorated with hand painted pots filled with flowers, photos of their wedding were everywhere, and a second, larger cake was cut for all to share!  J. and I ate seconds, thirds and fourths, and had a great time visiting with Erin and Anthony, and their friends and family!

I also ought to note a huge feature of this wedding that is not at all obvious by looking at it- this wedding was done on a budget!  Yes, really!  By keeping the wedding small and by celebrating BBQ style at home, Erin and Anthony were able to experience a truly romantic getaway, a private and deeply personal ceremony, amazing family memories, and in the process they saved enough money to buy a gorgeous new home where they recently celebrated their one year anniversary!

Congrats Erin and Anthony!



Know a bride and groom who should be featured on The One!?  Email me today!

Ladurèe s’il vous plaît

2I don't speak French, but I might have to learn after trying the Macaroons of Ladurèe, my amazing discovery of the week!  My good friend H. brought me a sampler package of macaroons back as a souvirnir from her recent trip to Paris, and in it were six flavors of the most delicious treat I have tasted to date- rose, caramel with salted butter, pistachio, strawberry, vanilla bean and lemon.  She gave them to me smiling like the devil, and I tasted the delicate lemon first.  Swoon!  I of course acted like I was going to save them and savor them over the next two weeks, but in spite of my good intentions, I went straight back to my office and devoured (as slowly as I could) the remainder of my tasty treats.

3According to their website, "[i]t all began in 1862, when Louis Ernest Ladurée, a miller from France’s southwest, created a bakery at 16 rue Royale in Paris."  Eventually, one of Paris's first tea salons was born, and soon after these little sandwiches joined with ganache, much to my delight these many years later.  And these ganaches are not just standard chocolate- they are rich, complex, delicate, and overwhelming all at once!

5The only real issue I have with these macaroons is not the gorgeous green and gold gift bag they come in.  It's not the thoughtful and delicate packaging that makes their presentation so extra special.  Nor the feeling of decadence I get eating them.  It is that there is no Ladurèe store in New York!  Because these would make incredible edible wedding favors.  I know there are many lovely alternatives, but I want these macaroons!

1Or, I could also be convinced to try this little package- yes, that is a real actual photo of Christian Louboutin gift boxes for Ladurèe. 




So next time you're in Paris, bring me some?  :)

All images courtesy of Ladurèe

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tattoos: Haute or Hide?

Most people are surprised to learn that I have a tattoo.  A big, giant fairy tattoo on my back.  My good friend T. worked with me at the tender age of 19 to create this stunner, and I had the work done at Stained Skin in Columbus, Ohio.  Would I do it again?  Heck no, that sucker was painful.  But I love it.  It is a reminder of a time in my life that was all about freedom and growth, rebellion and identity.  So when people ask if I'm planning to cover it up for the wedding I am always a little taken aback.  I know some brides do so (and I really do understand why), but the way I see it, its a part of who I am and I refuse to cover up who I am!


my tattoo and T. the artist!

And that's why today, I'd like to feature some of my favorite images of super-cute brides showing off their tattoos!  I love how in each photo, the tattoo is notable but doesn't steal the show- absolutely lovely!  The description below each image links to it's source.


By michelliebellie on flickr.


This girl is a ROCK STAR!  Loving the car.  Check out Offbeat Bride for more!


How cute is she?  Another from Offbeat Bride...


Loving the stars- its like she planned them for this photo!


Hey, look, this bride is like me!


And who could forget this bride with her peek-a-boo birds, by my favorite photographer Jessica Morrisy of course!



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Invitation Rejects

The title of this posting is a bit misleading, because it implies that I don't like the subject matter- but nothing could be further from the truth!  This weekend I finished putting together our wedding invitations, but I can't show them to you until they've been sent, so instead I thought I would write about the ones I didn't choose.  My main criteria for invitations was that they be affordable.  Really, really inexpensive invitations are extremely tough to do tastefully if you don't make them from scratch yourself, but that was the goal I set for myself.  I also wanted good paper and print quality, a vintage look, and something that felt holiday-appropriate without beating guests over the head with "Christmas."  Tall order right?  (Especially tall if you've seen some of the tackiness out there in the world of Christmas weddings).  So without further ado, my journey through the invitation world...


These "New Orleans" invitations, from The White Aisle, are incredible, letterpressed and wonderful.  They are also so far outside my budget that they really don't count as options.  Nonetheless, I found them inspiring.  And they set me on a hunt to find letterpress on a budget.  The White Aisle actually has competitive pricing for letterpress, along with more affordable options (including DIY) but what I really wanted was outside the budget.  But it was fun to dream!


This Vintage Postcard Invitation is from Golden Rectangle Press, located in Brooklyn and which I found on etsy, of course.  It was hands down the most affordable letterpressed option I found, and in two colors too.  The way they keep costs down is by screen printing a portion, and letterpressing the rest, and you can even do components of the suite in just one color to further cut your costs.  Golden Rectangle Press sent me a gorgeous sample to think about, along with a hand-written thank you note, and they seemed lovely to work with.  Still, the price for these invitations was too far outside the budget to make them a serious contender.   I tried really hard to come up with a good lawyerly argument for why I should buy these, but I failed.  Sad but true.


My next contender came from an unlikely source- Costco.  Yes, Costco does letterpress.  Yes.  Really.  The pictured invitation is their Art Nouveau invitation, and something about it really struck a chord with me.  Unfortunately when I got the sample, the paper was pretty thin, and the letterpress quality was a bit shallow.  Also, the price for these was not as good as you'd think for Costco.  Oh well, at least I can say I tried!  At this point, I abandoned the letterpress dream and started considering digital printing instead.  As soon as I did, the prices dropped considerably, and I found some really good options!


My first favorite was this Classic Cedar Branch Invitation from Papeterie.   What a gorgeous image for a Christmas wedding!  Even though it wasn't fully vintage, I loved the botanical look of them.  Which is why I was SO disappointed when I received the sample and saw the glossiness of the paper and the flatness of the printing.  There seemed so much potential, and so many great color options.  But in person, they just looked a little unimpressive to me.  Shocking, because they actually cost more than the ones I ended up with.  Having seen the way digital looked on this invitation, I decided to also consider thermography, since the text would be raised- giving me texture (a la letterpress) but also affordability (a la digital printing).


I considered options like this Calligraphy Swirl invitation from Wedding Paper Divas.  Pretty!  Good paper!  But something was missing.  I filed this option away but kept looking in the hopes that I would find something with more of a vintage, holiday look.


I then found Rexcraft, and spent lots of time looking at their goodies!  Rexcraft has some ideal invitations for the budget minded, because they have nice pricing, frequent sales if you sign up for email, and the quality is quite good!  This Cameo invitation in particular caught my eye because I loved the cutout detail in the band, but ultimately I didn't go with it because it seemed too modern in person.


I also liked this Filigree invitation from Rexcraft.  It definitely had a festive, art deco inspired look.  And the presentation in the folded card was really unique and pretty.  This became a top contender, but it didn't make the final cut.

What did I ultimately choose?  To be continued after I send the invitations in 3 weeks!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wedding Shoes: Pulling a Reese

Do you remember the fiasco when Reese Witherspoon wore a white and silver "vintage" Chanel dress to the Golden Globes in 2006, only to find out that the dress Chanel gave her was actually only three years old (and had been worn by Kirsten Dunst  to Globes after-parties in 2003)?  Well, I still love Reece.  And I'm about to knowingly do the same thing.


image source

That's right.  For our wedding, I'll be rocking some customized "vintage" Manolo Blahnik's.  Wheee!

I found my so-called vintage Manolos at one of my favorite websites:  It is not the only website of its kind, but this site offers brides and chance to sell wedding gowns and accessories after their weddings.  And the gowns on this site are spectacular... we're talking Monique Lhuillier, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, and a zillion other designers.  So when I started thinking about wedding shoes, this was a definite "must see."

Of course, what I really wanted was a pair like this.



Hmmmm, pay my student loans or buy Valentinos?  Booo stupid student loans, you always win!  CitiBank 1, Me 0...

So as I was saying, I spent a slew of time searching various websites, including, and eventually came across a lovely pair of ivory "vintage" Manolo Blahniks in the style "Carolyne."  I emailed the seller to inquire about them immediately because they were less than half the price of the shoes in stores and a classic Manolo style.  The seller wrote back and said that they were still available (!), in my size (!!) and that she'd never worn them (!!!), other than in her home to break them in.  I decided to take the leap and purchase these lovelies!  I then immediately got on ebay and found an equally awesome pair of authentic art deco shoe clips for a song, that I felt might work well with them.   I was so excited!


What my Manolos look like new.  Source.

Fast forward one week.  Shoe clips arrive and they are perfect, flawless, not missing a single rhinestone, all things vintage and glam!  Fast forward two weeks- my shoes arrive!  But wait-- THEY WERE FILTHY.  Arghhhhh!



Ok, "filthy" may be exaggerating, but they'd definitely been worn at someone's wedding and you could tell.  I was pretty angry, but then again, I'd gotten real bargain so there wasn't much I could do about it.  I kept looking for another pair of shoes while I tried to determine whether a solution existed to my filthy shoe problem.  I knew better than to try to clean satin shoes myself, but I did take a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to them in the small hope it would work- it didn't.  So next I took them to my dry cleaner who gave them a once-over, but the shoes still looked worn.  I simply couldn't wear them as-is.

At this point, I did what any sensible girl would do, I gave up and felt sorry for myself.  Fortunately, I have a good friend L. who suggested that I try calling the Manolo Blahnik flagship here in NY to see if they offer repair service.  I gave it a try and learned that actually, Manolo sends all their shoes to this incredible place called the Leather Spa.  The Leather Spa is exactly what it sounds like, a fancy place where fancy people take their fancy shoes to be repaired.  Nestled in a small storefront on 55th Street, its the kind of place I would have thought I was too poor to go into, thanks CitiBank caters to only an ultra high class clientele (i.e., not me).  I decided, however, to give it a shot.  I took my Manolos there to be cleaned up (and I brought my shoe clips too, hoping they might be able to attach them somehow).  It set me back about $60, so I definitely wouldn't recommend them for an inexpensive pair of shoes- but my oh my oh my, what a good job they did!

The shoes came back SPOTLESS, even on the soles, which were shockingly, totally like new.  They completely replaced the heel rubber, cleaned every inch, and attached my shoe clips seamlessly.  I was floored!  And thrilled!  I'm so glad I listened to L. and tried Leather Spa!  Now I'm debating whether I should take them back after the wedding to have them dyed black (or maybe a bold, crazy color like plum?)!  And what makes me feel really good is knowing that even with the extra expense of cleaning, these shoes ended up at about the same price as a pair of Stuart Weitzmans.  Manolo for the price of Stuart?  Yes, please!



And that's the story of how I got my "vintage" and customized Manolos to wear for my wedding.  Reese lovers unite!

**As an aside, I now believe there are tiny magical shoe elves working at Leather Spa**

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Initiating Facebook Nerd Forcefield

200px-2005_0308_urkelJ. and I have a little joke, "initiating nerd forcefield."  Basically whenever one of us is acting like a nerd, we say it to each other.  And literally as I type he's saying it to me now.  Why?

Because I figured out how to make it possible for you to follow The One! on Facebook using the NetworkedBlogs feature! I even did the HTML code myself just like a big girl.

Join in the fun today by clicking "Follow this Blog" under the NetworkedBlogs title to the right!  If you're not on Facebook, you can also subscribe to receive email updates (top right) each day that The One! features a new post.

Yep, techno-nerd forcefield.  :)

image source

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Dress That Almost Was

knbirnf070921lThis dress makes my heart stop.  It is dramatic.  It is deco.  It is everything I thought I ever wanted.  Iloveit Iloveit Iloveit!  It is from Birnbaum and Bullock, and sadly it is no longer made. But I can't say enough good things about B&B.

When I first became engaged, one of the first things I did was call the B&B store immeditately to inquire as to the availability of this dress... I had a crush on it for that long.  Though they couldn't put me in the exact dress, I was invited to the store to see their other gowns.  Specifically, THE Steven Birnbaum brought me in and worked with me.  We tried on many dresses, but one silhouette stood out among all others- and it was actually the same dress as the one pictured, but with different embellishments!  Steven told me that was probably for the best, since the pictured dress was very dramatic and hard to pull of.  And I believe he's probably right about that.

J. it is time for you to stop reading.  Do not click through.  I mean it, stop right there buddy.



Steven told me that the gown would be custom couture, with a mock-up created for me in muslin before the pattern would even be cut.  And he said I could choose to add different embellishments if I preferred- a sparkly belt perhaps?  And the best part of all, was that the dress was priced well under the other gowns I was looking at.  Gowns whose designer didn't work with me or make me a muslin mock-up.  I almost bought the dress on the spot, and I would have, had I not just begun my search.

So the dress became the point of comparison for all other dresses, and I thought long and hard about it.  My experience at B&B was so wonderful, and their work so gorgeous!  Of course, if you are a regular reader you already know that ultimately I went with my Platinum for Priscilla gown instead.  Something about the cotton faille and the costume jewelery details sold me.  But sometimes, I do still dream of the B&B dress.  I mean, how can you not??  This is not to say I feel anything less than utter devotion to my own dress.  But there is room in my heart for many loves!





Have you had to say "no" to something you originally had your heart set on?

Heather and Greg's Garden Party Wedding

Its Friday, and I'm in a great mood, which means it is once again time for a feature wedding!  This week I am thrilled to be able to show you one of the most lovely weddings I could ever imagine, the wedding of Heather and Greg.  I've known these two as dear friends since way-back-when, and let me just tell you this wedding was ALL about the details, from the argyle groomsmen's socks, to the four perfect flower girls (along with two adorably insolent ring bearers who refused to participate).  The festivities took place at the drop dead gorgeous Estate at East Wind in Wading River, New York, with the ceremony outside in the garden, accompanied by a string quartet and the smell of fresh garden flowers.  For cocktail hour and dinner, the guests moved indoors where they were greeted with gobs of food and a fantastic band!

The bride wore a trumpet-shaped Amsale gown covered in the most delicate lace I've ever seen, and she carried cattleya orchids, her ladies in green and carrying hydrangeas.  She chose Wendy Kromer marzipan cherries and Ann Wood birds to adorn the cake, and did all of the most impressive details herself- customized menus with hilarious descriptions, lovely hand-sewn programs, out-of-town boxes filled with local goodies and covered in paper lace, and etsy finds for favors, lovingly wrapped with paper and ribbon.  My personal favorite part of the evening was watching their first dance- She's Always a Woman- romance was everywhere that night!  Congrats to Heather and Greg, who just celebrated their first wedding anniversary!

Oh and PS- do you like her veil?  Me too!  Heather is generously letting me wear it in my own wedding as my "something borrowed"  :)














If you know of a bride and groom who would like to be featured on The One! please let me know in the comments and I'll be sure to get in touch with you!