Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Wedding Crush

You know how every once and a while you see photos of a wedding and it just takes your breath away? You know, your heart skips a beat, and then you feel instantly smitten? While you're drooling over to-die-for photos, you finally realize that your knee-deep in your first (...or second or third) wedding crush.

Typically, I find myself wedding crushing over super prettyfied weddings on super swank wedding sites, that never feel like they're created by real people.

Well not this time! I have been drooling over this wedding for a long time, and its 100% legit. It's hard to believe a regular person could pull off something like this, but I promise you its true! I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but time and time again, I go back to look at the photos from this wedding because they're just so amazing.

I went to college with Brooke and Jim. We had our graphic design classes together, and Brooke is such a creative person that I had secretly been stalking her facebook dying to see her wedding photos. It all started after she posted the most amazing E-pics I'd ever seen.

Brooke's wedding inspired some projects for us, but you'll have to wait for those posts in the future ;-).

With her permission, I'm sharing some of her photos here. All of her photos are by photographer Colin Lyons, of which Brooke only had amazing things to say about. For more of Brooke, visit her etsy site - I swear, she's a rock star!

Everything was done with such bright colors! The pinks and oranges make me smile!

Photo shared by friend Brooke / Photos by Colin Lyons
Photo shared by friend Brooke / Photos by Colin Lyons

I swear, the reception details will make you 10 kinds of amazed! Their programs are beyond awesome.
Photo shared by friend Brooke / Photos by Colin LyonsPhoto shared by friend Brooke / Photos by Colin Lyons
Photo shared by friend Brooke / Photos by Colin Lyons
Photo shared by friend Brooke / Photos by Colin LyonsPhoto shared by friend Brooke / Photos by Colin Lyons

I know, I know. Hey, I wasn't going to say it, but "I told you so." I'm sure you guys are all enamored with such an unbelievably beautiful day. I swear, every time I see the photos, I just can't help but smile because they are just so fun (and that is exactly what I want our day to be).

I can't wait to share what we did that was inspired by this crush!

Oh and a huge shout out to rock star Brooke for letting me share her photos with the Hive.

Do you have a wedding crush? Has it inspired your big day?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Venue fit for the Giraffes

This past weekend, Mr. Giraffe and I sat down with Jen. the catering manager (who I've been e-mailing with for the last forever!) of our reception venue. I want to tell you all about that, but you'll have to wait until later ;-).

Today, I want to introduce you to our lovely reception venue. I haven't really blogged about our awesome venue at all, simply because you have to book it a year and a half out, and when I started blogging in October, the decision had all ready been made months before. We had booked it and hadn't had to get back to it for a while, so I really didn't have anything to say about it.

To get you guys caught up, we're receptioning at a magical place called Idlewild Country Club. Idlewild is about 20 minutes from our ceremony venue, but in the suburbs everything is 20 minutes apart so it works out perfectly.

The first time I visited Idlewild was at about 4:00 on New Year's Eve back in 2008 (holy cow). Mama Giraffe warned me not to fall in love with it simply because it was all decorated for the holiday, but I did just that. It is such a pretty venue. I have a bunch of pictures I took of the venue all empty, but who wants those?!

Recently, I discovered Idlewild's facebook page, complete with all kind of fancied up photos.

Sigh... Love...

Anyway, you might be too busy staring at those photos, but I'm going to continue you on, just in case. Why did we choose Idlewild as our venue? Well, it was #4 out of the 4 venues we visited, and unlike the first three, it hit everything on our list.

Here's what the Giraffes were looking for (and what we're getting):
On Site Catering - Call me lazy (which I am for sure), but going out and finding and hiring a caterer seemed like too much work. Wouldn't it be nice if the food just came with the venue?

A space all to ourselves - We visited two different venues where you got a partitioned space (aka a giant fake wall that breaks one room into two). One place had a lovely outdoor balcony, but I hated the idea that guests would be sharing the balcony with guests from other weddings. Idlewild is closing the whole upstairs so its all ours. We get the lobby, bar area, and rest of the space that is all connected, and we don't have to share it with anyone. Yay!

Chair Covers - Okay, okay, I realize I'm crazy but chair covers have always been a priority to me since the very beginning of our marathon of an engagement. Once places wanted $700 for chair covers, and another $400. Idlewild includes them in our package. This was enough to have me.

Good food- And boy, is it tasty. More on that later!

Location - The 'burbs are so spread out that it's hard to keep everything 'local.' Unlike the city, we don't have any public transportation either, so I didn't want it to be too far. The goal was no more than a half hour away, and Idlewild fits that perfectly.

A good deal - I didn't want to feel like we wouldn't be getting our money's worth, or even thought it is quite expensive, that we're getting ripped off. Idlewild was by far the best deal we found.

There it is guys. You might think our reception venue sounds awesome, but hold your horses, just wait until you see the food!

Did you "reception shop" with a certain list in mind? What were your priorities?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Book of Giraffe Guests

Also known as the Guest Book.

You see, we're having a guest book as most weddings often do, but I'll tell you right now that its not as easy as you would think. To save time (and possibly my sanity), I've decided to buy a guest book rather than DIY one.

I was obsessed with the idea of a photo guestbook for a while, but my narcissistic self has all ready put our photo on all kinds of wedding things so we're going a little more traditional with this one.

Funny thing, being traditional about this is the one reason I didn't want do. You know why? Wellllll, a "traditional" guestbook really isn't my style. In fact, what comes to mind is something like this:Online shopping at / Direct link

It's pretty, but it's not me & Mr. G at all.

Obviously, something not my style would turn my off a little to the guestbook, but the amazing world of etsy, is once again turning everything around for me.

I've found just short of a bazillion options on Etsy for guestbooks. There are more standard guestbooks, customizable guestbooks, handmade journals that could double as guestbooks, and then some.

Now, the only hard thing to do is decide. Here's a few of the lovelies I've got my eye on right now.

Etsy / Grimm's Shop /Direct Link
Etsy / HelloShunshineDesign Shop /Direct Link
Etsy / ModernShabby Shop /Direct Link
Etsy / The Handmade Boutique Shop /Direct Link
Etsy / Grimm's Shop /Direct Link

There you have it, folks! Well, I did say "bajillion" earlier; I told you there was a ton of options. Clearly, I haven't made up my mind at all here. Oh man, I better figure that out soon!

Going the traditional Guestbook route? Where did you find yours?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wedding Worthy Up Dos

You guys, there are many things that I don't care about, my appearance being one of them. This doesn't mean that I always look sloppy, but I'm certainly no fashionista, and most days I leave the house without looking at a mirror.

I don't know, that's just the way I've always been. It took me until my senior year of college to finally brush my hair all the way through every day. I know, I know, its terrible, but I've just never been into it. Nowadays, I do brush my hair, but that's about it. (Although, I carry around a pony tail in case there is a hair in face situation). When I had long hair, I'd twist it up into a hair lump everyday because it was always in my way, but I don't do that as much anymore.

Suffice to say, I want to do something a little more fancy for the wedding. Granted, a little more fancy might be be enough, so I think I might go big. I'm thinking maybe an up do? Those always look nice in pictures.

Granted, my lack of hair smarts, kind of mean that almost all up dos look identical to me, but I reallllly am making an effort to find something that I like and that is appropriate for a traditional wedding.

That's it, but I don't think this is over yet, team. Updo, half up do, quarter updo? Up do and a half? You haven't heard the last from this Giraffe :).

How did you choose your wedding hair? Really, i could use some tips!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gifts I Didn't Give My Bridesmaids: Part 2

I all ready mentioned Gifts I Didn't Give my Bridesmaids, but then I realized I forgot to mention a few things! There were a few more things I really considered to give as gifts, and although it didn't end up giving them, I wanted to share them with you guys! Of course, I have great ideas ;-), so I thought you guys might be able to find some inspiration for your girls here!

Love Letters from Great Men - After seeing the first Sex and the City movie in the theater with 2 of my BMs, I thought it would be so sweet to give the book of love poems Miss Bradshaw had and Big later emailed to her. I love poems and love poems would be totally appropriate for a wedding-ish gift.

Why didn't this work out? Turns out the book didn't really exist. After the movie though, this book was created.

Matching Adidas Tracksuits - Yes, it's totally true, I wanted to pull a Sue Sylvester here. I thought it would be both hilarious and awesome if the Giraffe Girls and I could spend the day getting ready in our super cozy Adidas Tracksuits. I mean, they even come in our wedding colors!
So why didn't this amazing idea happen? I thought of it after I all ready bought their gifts. Bummer.
The Monogrammed Gift Bag - I was obsessed with the idea of getting super cute personalized bags to put the gifts in for the Giraffe Girls. It's so easy to order them in colors that match your wedding ones, and I think having your name or initials embroidered on a gift bag shows thoughtfulness.

Why not? Well, I thought it'd make more sense to put money towards a gift, not just a bag. If you don't catch the bags on sale, $18 really doesn't seem worth it.

... Secretly though, I'm still a little bummed that I didn't do the gift bags ;-).

So that's it, all the gifts I wanted to get, but didn't quite get for the Giraffe girls!

What are you gifting your bridal party?

Let's Talk about Not Having Babies

You guys have heard me talk about waiting for marriage here and here, so I figured I'm just going to keep with the possible over-sharing and fill you in on some more super personal details of a Giraffe life ;-).

Growing up, the Giraffe Parents (emphasis on Mama Giraffe here) were very open about sex. I've received
the talk probably hundreds of times, from when I was younger through when I was in high school. I mean, granted, I was mortified when I was in junior high and Mama Giraffe sat me down to explain how "Even though Bill Clinton thinks oral sex is not sex, it still is."

I did tell you I was mortified.

Anyway, moving right along, I think that largely because of the way I grew up, I've always been educated about safe sex.

In college, I knew that I was waiting until marriage, but seeing as ISU hands out condoms like they're candy, I did make sure to have a couple, just in case I decided to change my mind. No, I wasn't planning on changing my mind, but if Mr.G and I decided to make that choice, I wanted to be prepared.

This bring me to where I am now. See, I think you guys all know where this is going. As the wedding approaches, and that "waiting til marriage" is almost over, I had to start looking into birth control. I like babies, but now is not the time, you guys! I'm serious, "get on pill" is on my wedding to-do list.

Sure, he's super cute, but we are not ready for baby Giraffes!

Now I realize this is super personal, and you're probably wondering why I'm sharing it on the internet with a bunch of strangers. Well, I was seriously freaked out about getting birth control. Seriously. I was freaked out out to the point that I was willing to put off even getting the pill because I was so scared to go to the doctor. I'm here to let you guys know that it is no big deal, and completely normal. If there's anybody else, like me, whose worried about this, then relax. I'm here to tell you all it's not so bad.

I had always planned to get on the pill. Most of my friends are on it, it's easy to use, and it doesn't involve any scary needles. I called my gyno to make an appointment, but the problem is their office opens after I leave for work, and closes before I get home, and they're not open on weekends.

This is when I started to get nervous. See, its two months before my wedding and I have to find a new doctor and talk about my personal life with them? (Yes, I do realize the irony that I post it on the internet for everyone, but am nervous to discuss it with a doctor I don't know). I turned to some 'Bee friends (thanks girls!) who smartly suggested Planned Parenthood (PP).

I looked up the nearest PP, which wasn't far from my house at all and made an appointment. Quick FYI for you, I went to a PP Express, which means they don't do exams so keep that in mind if you're making an appointment.

I don't want to get political here, but there were people on the opposite end of the parking lot, near the street, holding signs that said "Planned Parenthood Kills Babies." Don't let this deter you. I was all ready super nervous and uncomfortable, and those people almost had me turn around, but they didn't say anything to me or even really look at me when I went inside. If you do see these folks, just ignore them. Trust me, its not that bad.

It was incredibly awkward to fill out a form that asked how many male and female partners I had and what kind of sex I had with them, but it would have been rude to tell them that that was none of their business ;-).

Anyway, I met with two very nice ladies at PP who talked to me about different types of the pill, then I got a prescription, which was filled at the front counter, and that was it. My insurance covers it too, so I only paid $10 a pack.

It was not a big deal at all. I don't know why I had worked it up in my head to be some giant thing because it really wasn't. I sweat so much out of nervousness, that as soon as I got home I had to change my shirt. Ridiculous.

Honestly? The most awkward part of the whole thing was the giant plastic vajayjay that was sitting next to me, so people could practice the Nuvaring. That thing was looking at me, I swear.

They say there could be some side effects to taking the pill, but to try it out for at least two months to know. I've been on it about two weeks now and haven't noticed anything.

Anybody else on the Pill? Are you pretty happy with it? I think I am, but we'll have to see.

Ps - Need to find out more about Birth Control? Try here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fancy Cakes, Take Two!

You guys have heard that I need cake flags for my wedding. I have to have them, as simple as that.

I figured cake flags have to pretty simple to make, and they are. In fact, it was the easiest DIY yet! Ten points for the Giraffes!

To start, I needed to find the perfect blue paper. Here's a bit of advice for you guys. Scrapbook paper (at 12"x12") was $.59, and I couldn't find the right paper so I was going to get a big 16"x20" blue sheet of artist paper for $1.60. It was giant, and cheap, but it wasn't quite the right color, but I was going to get anyway.... until I walked past the poster board aisle and saw I giant super big piece of poster board for a whopping $.89 in the perfect shade of blue.

So I bought six.

Anyway, I headed home with my giant poster board and decided to get working. (Ps - I did all that shopping at Hobby Lobby, my Michael's only had neon colored poster board).

My poster board was so perfect, I took a photo for you all. Sorry about putting it on a laundry basket.

Oh... I also bought one other thing from Hobby Lobby.
Ah! Giraffe paper!

Anyway - here's how to DIY your cake flags.

Step 1) Cut giant poster board into 8.5" x 11" sheet.
Step 2) Print out your cake flag design on your pages. (I stole Cupcake's phrase. Thanks, Cupcake!).
Here's a tip, I printed blue dotted lines around each 'flag' so I'd know where to cut. I made the lines slightly darker than the blue board so it wouldn't be noticeable if I didn't cut straight (which happens a little too often). They're hard to see in the photo, so I put a giant red circle around 'em.
Step 3) Grab your paper cutter and scissors! I used my paper cutter to cut strips out, and then I used a scissors to cut a triangle out of the end, to make the flag points. This actually went super quick; way faster than expected!
Step 4) Dip one end of a toothpick (oh yeah, you're supposed to buy tooth picks first) into glue and stick your flag to it. I used regular ol' white Elmers glue and then lined up the flags on wax paper to dry.

I think most people cut out a long strip of paper and wrap it around the tooth pick so that both sides look pretty, but I'm too lazy for that.
That's it! It's that simple! And the finished product is so fun!
I love our flags! Looooove them! I'm so happy I took the little time it took to do this project. I think it'll cake our cake look just that much better. Overall this project only cost me a few dollars, and I think its totally worth more than that :).

Don't feel like making your own drink flags? Feel free to use The Giraffe's:

Anybody else rocking the cake flags?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dresses (and dissapointment) for Team Giraffe

I realize I haven't mentioned my wedding dress at all yet, possibly because there's no exciting story. I saw it in a magazine, said I wanted that one, tried it on 2.5 years before the wedding, went back a year later after I first tried it on and Mama Giraffe bought it for me. I didn't change my mind, worry, or spend hours looking at dresses. It's just not my style. I hate trying on clothes normally, and I'm far from a fashionista so the whole dress process was 100% me.

That being said, wedding planning has made me crazy and I've had wedding superstition all in my head. I'm convinced its bad luck for Mr. G to see my dress, so I'm keeping it under wraps until the big day.

But then, come to think of it, I haven't shared my bridesmaid dresses either. . . Frankly because I don't like to think of them. I'm going to be honest with you,here, Hive. Bear with me.

See, shopping for bridesmaid dresses (BMD) was not a good experience. There was lot of drama, arguing, anger, and tears. I'm normally a strong person, but I spent the end of day crying, and I could only be comforted by BM Mang and Chipotle.

It was horrible and a mess, and I don't like to think about that day. It was nothing like I had imagined it would be, and it certainly was not fun.

What does this mean? Well as far as the next-to-impossible task of choosing one dress for six different girls, I found it. I mean, I found a dress I loved. It was also way more money than I wanted my girls to spend. This might sound bridezilla of me, but by the end of the day, I was so emotionally exhausted and ready to give up, that I just went with the dress.

Yes, I love the BMD a lot, but I hate the cost, but sometimes it gets to a point when you have little energy left, and I just hit that point.

But that's not just it; I have even more of a bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing.

The BMD were purchased from House of Brides, a Chicago-land bridal shop, everyone working there is very nice, and I had visited it once before, when I was just looking. It seemed like a good place to go with, but well. . .you'll see.

I'll be honest, I'm still pretty pissed off about this. At the time of purchase, House of Brides had my BMD listed on their website for $143 (now its available for $111 and my girls' dresses haven't even come in yet). Funny story, my girls all paid $207. I called HoB to ask if they'd match their website prices, but they don't because, "we're paying for the consultant and all the help they gave us."

Huh. . . seeing as half my girls called in their order so no consultant was even used, and, not to mention that I would've used a consultant even if we hadn't gone with HoB, I don't know why we have to "pay for one". The store, when I brought up the web price to them, did tell me, since I mentioned it, that they would take $15 off.

Why am I ranting to you guys? This is why: if you order of the HoB website, you can use their store for alterations. I asked if I could have my girls just order off the site, and they fed me a bunch of garbage about how all the dresses had to be ordered through the store so they could come in at the same time - it was some BS for sure. Long story short, they totally did it for the money and I totally fell for it. House of Brides has great dresses and a great selection, but if you want to use them, order off their website - nearly all the prices are cheaper.

And that my friends, is why I haven't been thinking about my BMDs. I'm still hurt about the shopping experience and I'm still bitter (and more so annoyed) at the price.

Oh and the dress in question? That brown color will be the trim and the rest will be baby blue.

Cute? Definitely. Worth all the headache and heartache? Probably not.

Anybody else have a bad wedding related experience? How did you get over it (because that's the part I'm having trouble with)?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Old Navy Tank Dressse on Sale!

Hey all, just a PSA from you friendly neighbor Giraffe here.

Looking to stock up on cute goods for your beachy honeymoon? Because that's what I'm doing! You guys know I got a great deal on new swim suits, but I've been looking to pick up other things, too.

I've been wanting some cute/light dresses to wear over my suits or when lounging around, so today I'll be heading over to Old Navy!

That's right, Hive! Today, and today only, Old Navy Tank dresses are only $9! They're normally $19.50 so it's a great deal. They have 6 different styles, 3 print and 3 solid. You guys wouldn't jude me if I bought them all, right? Just kidding (... kind of).

old navy tank dresses

Stock up, Hive!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dish Envy

I'm going to start out disclaimer-style and let you all now that I'm 100% aware of how ridiculous this post is. I mean, seriously, I am out of control here. After you finish reading this, we don't have to mention it ever again. (Please don't mention it ever again?)8

You see. . . I have dish envy.

Yes, it's true. I had a wonderfully amazing shower recently (that I still have to share with you!) and I received so many awesome gifts. I was totally overwhelmed with generousity and I can't believe that people spent so much money on things for Lil Ol' Me . . . oh yeah, and the Mister, too.

Mr. G and I were lucky enough to receive all the dishes we asked for. Due to Mr. G having 8 Giraffes in his immediate family, and me having 4, we wanted enough dishes so that we could have everyone over at the same time.

Long story short, we registered for four 16 piece place settings and received them all. That's enough for 16 people! Woah.

I love our dishes, and I share them with you soon, but guess what happened? Yes, the dish envy.

I received a message from Eziba in my inbox yesterday showcasing the loveliest dishes ever.

Now do you believe me? Just lovely. Please, someone, go buy them!

So why am I sharing with you a set of dishes that I'm drooling over but not going to buy?

Here's why: Mr. G and I literally spent hours and days arguing over what dishes to register for. I swear, I've never been so mad at him, and he wasn't doing anything wrong, his taste is just different than mine. After a week of fighting, we finally agreed, and now I love our dishes and I love that we own the whole set.

Despite my dish envy, I'm not going to return all my new dishes just to buy those Ezibe ones.
And that, my friends, is I think my first almost-married compromise. Word.

No, chance are I really wouldn't take our new dishes back, but it's nice that I'm actually thinking of my future home decor as "our" future home decor. Pretty cool, huh?

You and yours disagree on decor? Did you fight it out? How'd you make it work?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gifts I didn't Give my Bridesmaids

There's been a lot of talk about bridesmaid gifts around late, like from the lovely Miss Jaguar and Miss Hippo. I always told myself, way back before beecoming a bee, that I would totally blog ablout this is the future because..

Well, because it isn't easy!

After I began shopping, the whole deal was pretty painless and I've got gifts I'm so excited about, but pre-shopping? I was not excited. Not at all.

See, all my girls (all whopping six of them) are all very different. How on earth do you buy 1 gift (because, of course, I wanted to do matching gifts), for 6 different people?

BM/FSIL T, & Junior BM/FSIL L, not pictured here... but the rest of us are!

I know, it's a hard question to answer. Here it is hive, the gifts I almost got, but didn't quite get for the Giraffe girls.

The Adidas Peachtree Watch! I own this watch in yellow, and it has a neon blue and purple face. It's both completely obnoxious and awesome. For black Friday (when I purchased mine), the Adidas website had the normally $50 watch on sale for $26. Serendipitous, I know. It was such a good deal, and I wear it everyday so I got my moneys worth for sure.

Why it didn't make the BM Gift cut? Well, I'm completely enamored with it's 80s style and super giant face, but it's definitely not everybody's style... Actually, I think all my girls would hate it ;-). Oh well, at least I bought one for myself!

The Etsy Clutch. You guys, I literally spent hours trolling etsy under searches for things like "wedding clutch" or "matching bridesmaid bags." Seriously, I wasted a ton of my life and I will never get those hours back. I could've been doing my normal etsy search of "cute animal cake toppers", but no, I was looking for matching bags. Lo and behold, I narrowed my search down to 22 and added them all to my etsy favorites.

Why didn't this one make the cut? Well, I'll be honest, I was obsessed with the idea of buying bridesmaid etsy clutches for a good year, but it got to a point where I was completely overwhelmed and stressed about it. I looked at etsy over and over and the same thing, and it got to a point where it was way too stressful (and etsy window shopping should never be stressful) so I had to let it go.

Long story short? I totally psyked myself out on this one, so I moved on.
Crocs for the Big Day. Some people hate Crocs, but I love them. I love them more than words can say. I own 1 pair of gym shoes, 2 pairs of rubber rain boots, 4 pairs of work shoes, and about 10 pairs of Crocs. BM Marie bought the same pair I had when we were in college so she could be just like me. I think my friends think I'm crazy, because outside of work, these are pretty much all I wear. I kept telling everyone I was going to buy white ones for my wedding day, and for some reason everyone is against it. I thought it would be amazing for myself and all my BMs to spend the day together in our matching (and awesome) rubbery shoes.

Why not, Miss Giraffe? Well, everyone besides me hates Crocs, I think. . . and I want to get my girls some they'll actually like.
Matching BM Robes. I realllllllly reallllly want to get my girls matching bridesmaid robes. It would give everyone something totally comfortable to spend the day in while we all get ready, and it completely practical because the robes can be used again and again. I would love to go the extra mile and find monogrammed ones or "i heart miss giraffe" ones.

Oh! And not to mention they're so stinkin' cute in photos!

So, what happened? Ughhhh. I didn't have this idea until after I bought everyone's gifts all ready, so I had no money left. If only I had seen it sooner! Oh well, a girl can dream!

Let's here it, hive! What gifts didn't make the cut?