Monday, December 28, 2009

Save the Dates: DIY Inspired

When we first got engaged, I just assumed we would be getting professionally made save the dates. I had found some really great options that I loved. Then entered Weddingbee. I started seeing so many amazing diy options and I fell in love. Sure professional save the dates are gorgeous and easy, but I wanted something super personal and I thought, hey I can do that! After seeing a bunch of fun hand made options.

Some of the options inspired me, and to be honest, some, like Mrs. Duckling's save the dates, intimidated me. I'm in love with her save the dates!
I started reading the posts under the save the date tag on Weddingbee. I was inspired by all the creativity, but even more excited that there were step by step instructions in many posts as well!

I was in love with all the creativity. It was a little overwhelming at first! I decided I needed to narrow down my favorites and find some real inspiration for ours.

I kept coming back to Mrs. Taffy's save the dates. One of my favorite things about her wedding is the consistency. I love the design theme she chose and the way it was wove throughout her entire wedding. Every detail fit in perfectly! Her save the dates were no exception. I love that her guests were given a glimpse of the style and colors.
Mrs. Corn's save the dates were another favorite. They look clean, classic, simple and undeniably Newport. I've been in love with her wedding from the beginning. After googling Newport weddings, I came across Mrs. Corn, who led me to Weddingbee. .
When I saw Mrs. Cheese's all I could think was SO FUN! They remind me of Mr. Newport. I want both of our personalities to come though in our save the dates, and he's so fun loving, that something like this would be perfect!
When I saw Mr.'s Lemonade's I was so inspired by all the details that went into it. I love how she incorporated a magent, a photo, envelope liners, all the information in a beautiful font, and I especially loved it because of the color scheme! So, now that we have all this inspiration, what to do? You'll have to wait and see!

Did you make your own save the dates or did you look to the professionals? Were you inspired by others?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Save the Date Inspiration

When we decided on a Newport wedding, we knew we'd have to give guests advanced notice. A resort town, even in the off season seems to be somewhat in demand- or at least, that's what they want you to think. Plus our guests are all coming from out of state, so we want to give advanced notice for accomodations. Since the save the date is the first item guests see related to the wedding, I wanted it to be a statement piece. I wasn't sure what statement, but I wanted it to convey the feel of our wedding.

So, I turned to the proffessionals for some inspiration.

I instantly fell in love with Laura Hooper save the dates. Her maps are so charming and cute. Perfect for a destination wedding. I love how she can include so many points of interest. I think it would be fun to have a map with our ceremony location, reception location, accomodations and some of our favorite Newport spots like Salve, the cliffwalk and Thames St.
Then I found Stinkerpants Celebrations. The cartoons are fun and whimsical. I love how personalized they are between the couple and fun back drops.
Then, when designing our wedding website, we chose a star fish theme that has coordinating paper from the Papeterie Store. I thought it would be fun to tie in our website design, since it has somewhat set the tone for our whole wedding. These Save the Dates would set the tone for our traditional, yet casual Newport Nuptials.
When we first started looking, we were undecided. Do we want something that represents the tone of our wedding, or something more fun and whimsical, or charming and cute?

Did you choose based on the tone the save the date set, or did you just got for a style you liked?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the menu

We chose our venue for the amazing views, but it is also known for it's amazing food. The taste test is something we are both looking forward to. I like checking out the menu every now and then to try and figure out what we may choose, but they have a lot of really delicious options, so I think we'll just have to wait to see which tastes best!

I do want to be concious of our guests tastes. To try and make the food appealing to as many guests as possible, we are trying to include foods from different food groups. Our package includes three passed hor deurves, stations including cheeses, fruits and veggies, and two meal options.

I'm trying to decide how to make everyone happy- meat lovers, poultry lovers, seafood lovers and veggie lovers. For the cocktail hour the one thing I know for sure is, I want Bacon Wrapped Scallops. So seafood guests have one choice to make them happy -hopefully. Then should I include a meat, some type of chicken, or something vegetarian friendly? We only have one vegetarian and there are the fruits and cheeses, but I'd prefer to give him one option from the passed hor deurves, although I wouldn't know how to choose between a meat and chicken option for the third.

Then there is dinner, I know for sure we'll have filet mignon, as it is an option in our package and my favorite meal. But what to do for option number two? as a wedding guest. What do you prefer, seafood or chicken?

How did you decide what types of food groups to incorporate and at what part of the evening, cocktail or dinner?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Best Planning Decision, Pt.2

In my other pre-cana post, I wrote about why we went through pre-cana and generally why we enjoyed it.

Mr. Newport and I tend to be opposites in every way. Especially in our methods of communication. I tend to talk and plan for the future, while he tends to live in the moment. We, scratch that, I had done a lot of talk about the future. I felt like we had many conversations, but in reality they were more one sided. When we went into pre-cana we went into it thinking it would be super preachy. Instead, our few classes were filled with skits on marriage, group discussions and activities. Many things were just conversation starters.

We ended up having the best conversations during our week of pre-cana. Mr. Newport opened up to me on a lot of issues we had skimmed the surface on, but hadn't really dealt with. I learned so much about him and our future from our classes.

For example, we have talked about kids many times. We talked about kids before we even started dating. We both knew what the other wanted, but we never knew why and had never come to an agreement on how many or when we would like them. During a class we were asked if we had already talked about kids. If so, who wants how many and when. Our responses were me: sooner, he: later, me: more, he: less (we didn't get into details of most things in the group, they were more things to think about and discuss when we get home). This was a conversation starter for sure. When we drove home we started talking about why he wanted less (that's what his parents did and he'd like to afford to give them a good life), why I want more (I come from a big family and want our kids to have a similar upbringing). We went deeper into things and it turned out he wanted less mainly because it's what he knew and felt he could offer more financially to a smaller amount of children. It ended up being a great conversation and we were really seeing where we were both coming from other than I want x amount, you want y amount.

This was one of our breakthroughs from pre-cana, but we actually left with a much better understaning of each other and learned how to better communicate- without them actully telling us how. I tried explaing it to others, but it's more something you have to go through yourself.

If you attended pre-cana or another type of marriage prep, did it have a positive effect on your relationship?

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Best Planning Decision, Pt.1

One of the best planning decisions we made was not actually by choice.

We knew we wanted to get married in a Catholic Church because it is important to us, both spiritully and emotionally. We also knew it would make my mom happy since I'm "her only hope" of having a child to have a catholic wedding. We kind of joke that we're doing it for her, but in reality, we both want to raise our children in the Catholic faith and hopefully they'll share in our values and beliefs. We want to start our catholic traditions and family values right from the start. And I say right from the start, although we already have these values, because I want it to be an important part of our lives as a family-which truly begins on our wedding day.

Having a Catholic wedding wasn't easy for us, at first. We aren't actively participating members of a church. When we called churches in Rhode Island, we were told by all of them that our priest would have to sign off. Not easily done when you don't have a priest.

At first, I complained and thought it would be impossible, but then we decided to take action. We were honest with my childhood church of our intentions. We let him know we wanted to join the church as members so that we could get married in a catholic church and our hopes for becoming more involved in the future. He was very understanding and we became members that day. He signed off on our marriage and wrote a letter to our church in Rhode Island. It seemed like a scray experience, because I felt like they would say no, but it ended up being a great experience. We now have a church that we belong to and are able to get married in a catholic church in RI.

Step 1 was over. The next requirement from our RI church was to attend pre-cana. I was absolutely dreading this. We live together, we have for over 4 years. I've heard rumors of people being condemmed for "living in sin" and didn't think I could handle it. Our church in MA also doesn't offer pre-cana, so we had to look elsewhere, so I felt like we'd be outsiders.

Our priest in MA gave us advice on where to look. We found a church that allowed us to join their pre-cana classes. The classes were on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during the same week. It was a long drive away, which gave me time to stress beforehand.

When we arrived to the class, we were greeted by one of the couples and led to our table. Each table had a few engaged couples and the team leaders- who were a married couple. As soon as we sat down, our husband team leader introduced himself and asked how we were feeling. Mr. Newport explained I was nervous, and he told me he was too when he had attended 2 years ago. He said he was sick for three days, but to trust him. It's not what we expect.

After a few minutes in, we knew he was right. It wasn't the typical condemnation you hear about, and it wasn't even about the catholic faith, it was about communicating, and working on strengthening your relationship. Something that can fall behind in the wedding planning.

I was so nervous about pre-cana, but it has honestly been the best part of planning so far. I wouldn't have done it if it weren't required, but I'm so glad we went through it.

Did you have to go through pre-marriage preperation or counseling? Were you nervous?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

How Sweet it is...

Some of my earliest childhood memories include cookies. Every Christmas all the girls in the family (and Mr. Newport and BILN- they are great dough rollers) bake at least 15 dozen of about 10 types of cookies-no lie! My mom is known for her cookies. She makes every type imaginable, some of my favorites being classic chocolate chip, pumpkin with a maple glaze, chocolate with caramel and almonds, snowballs, and her famous sugar cookies.

Searching the web I have found so many great places with the cutest sugar cookies, the only real test is whether or not they tatse better than my moms. Ever since I found decorated sugar cookies on the web, I've been in love with the idea of a cookie favor at the wedding. I've been to a decent amount of weddings and my favorite favors always seem to be edible or picture frames.... or honestly, they tend to get thrown out. I love cookies and other edible favors because they are never least with me. I've found so many sites with cute cookies, I thought I'd share some favorites.

Eleni's in New York is one of my hands down favorites. Every season there are new options that are cuter than before. I am especially in love with the Wedding collection below. It would be perfect for a "Breakfast at Tiffanys" themed shower. I also think it would be cute to send to a friend who just got engaged.
Casue Sweets seems to be the couture designer of cookies. How amazing are these shells? Perfect for a seaside wedding.
Casue Sweets has the most intricate designs, they'll even custom make cookies designed to match your wedding gown! How unbelievable are these: I love these starfish and shell sugar cookies from Ali's Sweet Treats. They fit perfect with our nautical theme. I think they would be a cute addition to our Out of Town Welcome bags. A Dozen Eggs, located in New England has so many cute options. My personal favorite is Penant Fever. My sister's fiance proposed to her at Fenway Park where they had their first date. So we threw them a Red Sox themed Engagement party and of course we bought a few of the Penant Fever Cookie Collections and they were a HUGE hit at the party!

At my god-daughter's baby shower, we used K-Delights. The cookies were delicious. I think the diamond ring sugar cookies would have been perfect for our engagement party. After a lot of price research on sugar cookies on the web, I think K-Delights was the cheapest option I found. Most cookies range around $5.00 up to much more, but they had options under $3.00.
I love these cookies from Meli and Angi. I like that they are personalized. I think they would be a cute favor tied up in a package with a ribbon.
One of my favorite cookies I've seen on the web is this clever "Crabcake" from Maine Cake and Cookies. It's perfect for a clambake wedding.

I found these monogrammed beauties at Rolling Pin Productions. They are perfect for a garden party or English tea themed shower.

Are you trying to incorporate a favorite family memory into your wedding?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Riding in Style

To be honest, transportation was the bottom of my priority list. I figured we'll get there somehow and it wasn't the top of my list of things to splurge on. Well, then I realized we have a pretty large wedding party with a couple different photo spots. So we really needed to find something that would get everyone from point A to point B to point C, D, E and F.

I don't want to spend the wedding day stressing over a bridesmaid or groomsman or the groom or myself not getting to the church or photos. So I did what I always do. I started to research. Since booking our photographer I tried to relax on the type A personality and slow down on who I contact. When it comes to transportation though, I really just wanted a good price and something that would hold all of the wedding party, our immediate families, the photographers, videographer and ourselves. That is on big group! We are looking at about 22-24 people!

I had no clue how much transportation would cost, but since everything wedding related seems high in Newport I thought $1,000 would work. I contacted about 15 transportation companies, most of whom returned my e-mails. I had quotes for limos, buses, hummers, party buses, and trolleys. Most companies gave quotes for a few different types of transportation. Prices ranged from $780.00-$1,650.00. Each quote includes transportation for at least 22 people. Most did not include gratuity. To be honest, we thought we'd just go for the cheapest choice.

It wasn't until after all the research that I realized we could afford my secret dream choice of transportation- the Newport Wedding Trolley. I originally thought they would be the most expensive or out of our budget, but it turns out they were under our budget! the trolley just screams classic Newport. It has the same color scheme of red and green as the RIPTA (Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority) trolleys we took in Newport during our college years. Our first date included a red and green Newport Trolley. I was beyond excited to get a quote for $900.00 for the four hours we needed. It wasn't the cheapest option we had intended on going for, but it was still under our budget.
I sent an e-mail to the Newport Wedding Trolley asking for a time to meet. I also sent an itinerary for our wedding day with the stops we plan on making. I wanted to confirm that it was ok to have multiple stops before we went any further.
Well to my surprise, I receievd an e-mail letting us know that it was fine to have multiple stops for photos. I was also told that we could get the trolley for $800.00 since all of our locations are local and within a short distance! Without even trying, we saved $200 off our wedding budget! Tip isn't included in the $800.00, but we did expect that.
Although, I did spend quite some time researching and contacting companies, this was such an easy choice for us.

Was there something you thought was out of your budget, but ended up being more reasonably priced?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Michael Sparks Keegan: Vendor Review

Sister and BIL Newport call most of their wedding vendors amazing. I asked them to grade them, quite a few were given A's. So they had some wedding super stars, but there was just something about Michael and Laura that really made them stand out.

They knew from the beginning that wedding photography was one of their top priorities. But, crazy enough they didn't spend a lot of time searching. Michael and Laura happened to be at the first bridal show Sister Newport and I went to. Sister Newport instantly clicked with them and fell in love with their work.

Laura was genuinely excited about showing their albums. She told us stories about each couple with passion in her voice. She felt truly connected to the couples she worked with. We saw one album with a photo that really stood out. There was a colorless photo, with the exception of the brides red shoes. Laura explained the bride really wanted to wear the red shoes, but her mom wasn't to excited about the idea. Michael and Laura knew this, so when it came time to editing, they made this photo especially for the bride. She ended up getting it for her mom as a gift, who loved it. I love that they knew the bride and her mom enough to come up with an idea like that and remembered it in the photo editing stage. It's such a great momento for the mother of the bride.
We ended up spending quite some time chatting with Michael and Laura. They were both so welcoming and comforting. We looked through all of their sample albums. They really stood out. I loved their creative angles. They also incorporated quotes and passages into the wedding albums set on top of photos. It was so unique. Newport mom loved them right away, she felt like they were people "you want to be friends with and hang out with". Sister Newport came home and checked out their website. It wasn't much longer before they booked (she did want to give BILN a chance to meet them).

As you can tell from all the re-caps and the shower photos, they truly are amazing. They went above and beyond. I don't know how many photos were guaranteed in their contract, but they went way over. They ended up editing over 1,600 photos- and in a short period of time!

The day of the wedding was truly enhanced because of them. They created so many fun experiences during the "photo shoot". How many brides can say they were atop a fire truck on their wedding day? Their excitement for the photos was infectious. They came up with great ideas, got the wedding party and bride and groom excited, and amazing photos were the result.
Michael is the main photographer, and from what I could tell, he's more behind the scenes. He was really down to earth. He came up with great ideas, but Laura seemed to be the one to get everyone excited about them. They are a husband and wife team who work so well together. They really complement each other.

They went above and beyond on the wedding day, and I still stare at their amazing work every day. I can't wait to see what they do for Sister and BIL Newport's wedding album!

* All photos taken by the amazing duo of Michael Sparks Keegan photography.