Monday, February 22, 2010

People Toppers

Mr. Newport hasn't had many requests for the wedding other than no tux and he really wants a "people topper". I have been searching for the perfect "people topper" for over a year. At the begining of that year, I was reading one of my bridal magazines (Sorry I don't remember which one, I was subscribing to about 6 at the time) and I saw a Lladro topper. I had never heard of Lladro until I met Mr. Newport. FMIL Newport has been collecting Lladro since she bought her first piece on her honeymoon with FFIL Newport in St. Maarten, just over thirty years ago. When I saw the Lladro topper, I thought it was perfect. It is beautiful and it would be kind of sentimental.

Then I looked it up online...... I didn't realize how expensive Lladro is! There are two I found on the site that are absolutely beautiful, but I couldn't bring myself to spend that kind of money.
Lladro's Together Forever and The Happiest Day A couple of months into the engagement, Newport Mom surprised us with "The Happiest Day" as an engagement present (after scouring Ebay and scoring an awesome deal!). It was my favorite because the groom is wearing khakis and a navy blazer!

It arrived and we were super excited, until we opened the box. The figurine is HUGE! I think it would sink if we attempted to use it as a cake topper. I think you'd need a large, sturdy cake to pull this we were back to the drawing board. We decided we'll display this with our guest book, or sweetheart table. But we continued on our search for the perfect cake "people topper".

Then one night on my commute home, while flipping through the newest Brides magazine, I came up with people topper number 2. WeddingStar has a topper that is completely us.
Remind you of anything? Yeah, it reminds me of our proposal, too. The only problem? The bride is blonde, and I'm brunette. I was hoping for two brunette cake people. So I did some searching, and I couldn't find the True Romance Couple (name of the topper) with a brunette bride anywhere for sale, but I did find the frame below with my dream topper, yet it's not for sale anywhere on WeddingStar's site. It sactually says only blonde bride for sale.
I decided to contact the website, and I'm waiting to hear back. If that doesn't work, I'll be purchasing a blonde bride and giving her a little dye job.

Anyone else have trouble finding the perfect "people topper"? Actually for that matter, is anyone else having a "people topper"? They seem more and more rare these days, but the Newports still love them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Dress that Almost Made it

After my first trip to Madeleine's Daughter, I needed to plan a second trip, to bring my bridesmaids to help me make a big decision. Which dress to choose? I was never able to find a date to get us all up there, so in the end it was myself, Newport Mom, Sister Newport, Newport Aunt K, and three of my bridesmaids.

When we arrived in the store, eight months since my last visit, they no longer had samples for me to try of the two dresses I was deciding between. I was left with only my pictures and memories of how I felt trying them on. Luckily I did have the pictures. One of the two is shown below. I had thought this was the one. It wan't until getting home and staring at the photos of the two dresses, that I knew I made my choice. I loved this dress in person, but after looking at it in photos, I felt the bottom half was a little too flowy and not as flattering as the other. I thought I had made my decision.

Because I had asked my bridesmaids to travel a state away, I asked Kerry, my bridal consultant if I could try on other dresses for fun. She pulled about 10 dresses. I tried on dress after dress feeling confident in my original choice. I tried on a few different styles just to see what they were like, since I was a little more specific with styles in the past. I tried on mermaid, trumpet, and ball gowns.

When I tried on the last dress in the group, I looked at myself in the mirror before going out to see my friends and family. My initial reaction was Newport Mom is going to love this. If any dress sways her decision, this will be it.

As soon as I walked out jaws dropped. Everyone was saying this is "the dress". Newport Mom especially. All of the sudden, I was confused . I went from assurance that I was choosing the right dress to completely clueless. I had been waiting throughout the whole shopping experience for a reaction to a dress like this, but the reaction happend to the wrong dress, not my dress, not THE dress.

When I asked what they liked more about this dress Newport Mom said, "the other dress is so you, it's something expected, but this dress WOWS you.".

I loved the reaction so much, I started to think it was a contender. I did feel beautiful in it, but I never wanted a princess gown. It wasn't lacey, no cap sleeves, no flower details, and definitely not flowy. It was actually overwhelming with material and hard to walk in. Plus it had a train and I was against trains from the beginning.
I stared back and forth between my camera (looking at photos of the dress, the one that I thought was THE dress) and the mirror. I was agonizing. Did I want the dress I loved, or a dress that would get this kind of reaction. I went around and asked everyone's opinion. When I got to bridesmaid E, she said "I do love the princess dress, but I can tell you love the other one more". Although she wouldn't have chose my choice, it was nice to have someone stand up for it. After that, the rest of the comments were similar. My mom had to pull me aside because she knew I was agonizing. She let me know that although she did love this dress, I had to feel confident with my choice. I am indecisive and she knew I'd stress if I chose the wrong dress.

I ended up following my heart and going with the dress I had loved and stared at on my digital camera for the last eight months. I couldn't even talk about dresses for the rest of the day. Bridesmaid M let me know on the way out that she was happy I chose that dress. I think they all realized how much I loved it. I just nodded. I literally was still thinking all day what if I made the wrong choice. They tried to reassure me that they are both beautiful dresses and either one would be a good choice, so I couldn't have chosen wrong.

It wasn't for another two days that I finally felt like I had 100% made the right decision. When I look at the dress I do like it, but I don't love it. I don't stare at it and think, this dress is so me. When I stare at the other one, I think "this is the dress, this is my dress, this dress is so me." And that makes me happy.

So where is THE dress? Well it's a surprise, I'm keeping it to myself, my bridesmaids, Newport Aunt K, and Newport Mom until the wedding. So you'll just have to wait and see!

Did you have a tough time deciding between two dresses? Did you choose something against the opinion of others?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cake Inspiration

When we were thinking about our wedding cake, we had two criteria, all white and simple.

After looking at numerous wedding magazines and blogs, I found many gorgeous and intricate cakes. I love cakes with texture and unique design elements, cakes with florals and fun shapes. But in the end we kept coming back to one particular cake.

I found a picture in the early planning stages in the Knot Boston Magazine. I was drawn to the wedding because the couple had a similar color scheme of blue and white and used hydrangeas. As I was reading the article, I saw the cake and I knew it was it. I held on to the photo in my wedding planning binder. Over the following year, I kept searching for other designs, but always ended up back with this one. We both love the simple design of the incresingly larger dots. We are skipping the flowers, as we both love the simplicity of the cake.

Were you indecisive about how to design your cake, or did you have a vision in mind all along?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cake Tasting #5

By cake tasting number 5, I was a little discouraged. Everything was ending up over our price range, and we just hadn't found a vendor that was the complete package: taste, price, design and customer service. We had met with two really great options, but one was over our price range, and the other tasted good, but not great. Then there were the other two which were definite no's from the start.

I was hoping to use a vendor out of RI, but after 4 strike outs, I decided on a whim to call Konditor Meister, who had done Sister Newport's Wedding Cake. I had already gone on a tasting with them for Sister Newport's wedding and loved it. It was the best tasting I have been on. I couldn't remember their starting price per slice and had no idea what their delivery fee was. I wasn't too hopeful about it, just pretty desperate.

Michael Sparks Keegan photography

I asked a couple of my bridesmaids to accompany me to the tasting. They had an opening the following Saturday at 9:00 a.m.

When we arrived, we met with Meghan, my cake consultant. I showed her my cake inspiration. She checked on pricing and I was extremely surprised to find out it was in our budget! She checked the delivery fee, and with that included, the cake was still in our budget. Pretty much right on point.

The tasting started off on a high note. I already knew I loved their flavors, but it didn't stop us from digging in. We tried....

  • yellow cake with lemon mousse
  • chocolate cake with oreo filling
  • chocolate cake with chocolate filling
  • red velvet cake with cream chese filling
  • carrot cake with cream cheese filling
  • tiramisu cake
  • white cake with strawberry grand marnier filling
  • chocolate cake with rasberry mousse filling
  • yellow cake with banana cream filling

It was just as last time, delicious!

After we had dug in to the cakes, another consultant stopped by with bride and groom chocolate covered strawberries.

I knew for sure, we had to look no further. The cakes taste amazing, the price was right, and the customer service was unparalleled. I sent Mr. Newport a text (he was at work), saying "I found our baker!"

Before leaving, I booked a second appointment for the following Saturday to take Mr. Newport, Newport Mom, and Sister Newport to finalize our flavor choices and make a deposit.

As we left, Meghan, our cake consultant gave me a box of pastries to congratulate us, boxed up our leftover cakes (I didn't want them to go to waste!), and 4 cookie favors to test out.

After a great experience, I was looking forward to bringing Mr. Newport to our final tasting. I still can't get over the customer service. They really know how to make a bride feel special!

Did you go on any vendor visits with exceptional customer service?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Searching for the Dress

While on my quest for the dress, I felt like I was struggling. I couldn't find any dresses that really stood out to me. I kept coming back to dresses with four characteristics, although never on the same dress: cap sleeves, lacey, flowy, or flower details.

After a year of looking, I felt like I was never going to find "THE DRESS". Then, I went to a Wedding Show in Boston and came across Madeleine's Daughter, a boutique in Portsmouth, NH. A little out of the way, but they had this dress:
I was instantly in love. I loved the lace and the flowy bottom. I'm partial to empire waists, so it had extra appeal. Shortly after the show, I had booked an appointment a state away. I dragged Newport Mom and Sister Newport along.

We got there and I wasn't impressed with the dress. I liked it, but I didn't LOVE it. I also was annoyed by the silver sequin swirl on the top of the dress, it seemed out of place and really bothered me. I worked with Kerry, my sales consultant at Madeleine's Daughter.

I gave her my budget and the four things I liked. I showed her some pictures and pretty much said everyrthing I liked and didn't like about each one. She ended up showing me dresses I never would have thought of and I was starting to actually think I'd find "the dress".

She brought out dresses with cap sleeves, lace, flower details and dresses that flowed:
She brought out one dress with amazing flower details, but it was less modest than I would like. I realized quickly, I did not want a v-neck. The dress was shot down quickly, although I really love the flower details on the top: I then tried on a dress with cap sleeves. I loved the top of this dress, but wasn't crazy about the bottom. It was too form fitting for me. Although I did love the laced up back. I thought it was different. I then tried on a flowy dress. It was a dress by Emerald Bridal. They were having a sample sale, so the dress would be 15 % off and under my budget. It was simple, and I loved it when I tried it on in the store.
I thought it was the one. By the end of the day, I thought a couple dresses were the one. I went from having the dilemma of not loving any dresses to having the dilemma of not knowing which dress to choose.

Did you have a hard time finding a dress you liked?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cake Tastings #3 & 4

Dyane's Sweet Tooth in Cumberland had the best prices we found in RI. Cakes start at $2.75 a slice and go up in $.25 increments based on the design. The cake designs were amazing and the cake tasted good, too!
Mr. Newport and I tried chocolate cake, vanilla cake and white cake with a few different fillings. We both really liked the buttercream icing. The cakes were so moist and delicious. The chocolate was our favorite, which was surprising because we both usually prefer vanilla.
We liked that many of the cakes displayed had price per slice cards shown with the cake.
The only downside is the delivery fee. It is quite expensive to deliver a cake to Newport, since the bakery is close to an hour away. So it ended up almost evening out with the more expensive cake baker we tried in tasting number 1. He was offering a 10% discount and waiving a delivery fee, since the bakery is about 5 minutes from our venue. Despite the delivery fee, we left Dyane's Sweet Tooth as a close contender.

We moved on to tasting number 4. It was awful. I won't even mention the name of the bakery. We were given the name of this bakery as a recommendation from a couple we went to school with. They used the bakery for their wedding and gave high praises. We were really excited about this one, due to the recommendation.

We booked an appointment and drove close to an hour to get there. We arrived and were offered one slice of white cake with raspberry filling. Mr. Newport wasn't crazy about the flavor, he doesn't want fruit filling, and I wasn't crazy about the customer service. I was disappointed that we drove that far to try one option that we wouldn't have actually considered. I asked if we could try vanilla or chocolate cake or any other fillings, and he pretty much said, well if you want to try them, you can come back for another tasting, I'm all out.

If we had just walked in at the last minute, I would have completely understood, but we had called in advance. I found it completely unprofessional and we both agreed, we will not be considering that bakery for our wedding.

Did you come across any unprofessional vendors in your planning?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cake Tasting #2

Our second cake tasting was a huge let down. I had researched different bakers and had found one that was reasonably priced (actually the cheapest in our search). We were super excited about this tasting because it happened to be at one of our favorite bakeries in the Newport area. We had been there so many times for sandwiches, soups, and baked goods during our last two years at Salve. Even Newport Mom was excited as we had recently gone and bought apple cinnamon cupcakes that were amazing.

Newport Mom, Sister Newport and I ended up going on our own one day, as we had time to kill between other appointments and they had an opening to do a tasting.

We sat down with the cake consultant, and she brought out four options. We tried a chocolate with chocolate mousse filling, a vanilla with strawberries and cream filling, a vanilla with lemon filling, and a vanilla with vanilla frosting as the filling. Each of which were topped with vanilla frosting.

I liked them each on the first bite, but they were too sickeningly sweet, you couldn't have more than one bite. I happen to love super sweet desserts, so if I couldn't handle these, we knew the guests couldn't. Sister Newport and Newport Mom did not like them at all. They packaged up the leftovers and we brought them home for Mr. Newport to try.

He thought it tasted like bad cake mix from a box and also disliked the sweet frosting.

This vendor was our biggest let down, as we love them so much for their other items. The first vendor was a little pricey, this was a definite no, so we knew it was time to book an appointment or two more.

How many cake tastings did you go on before you found your favorite?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Registry Favorite

When we first started registering, we weren't really feeling it. It's hard deciding what you need, when your living with your mom/MIL. No house/no apartment=no fun registering. We couldn't pick out anything with colors, because we have no idea what our future home will look like.

The one thing we knew we wanted for sure, was a nautical bedroom. When we first went to block hotels, I fell in love with the hotel's bedding and room decor. I pretty much want to steal their whole design. I love the two toned navy and white walls, and I love the simple bedding.

Here are a couple shots of one of the rooms at the Newport Hotel and Suites: And here is the set (Italian Percale, Marine by Hudson Park) we registered for at Bloomingdales:I love that our bedroom will remind us of our wedding weekend! Cheesy, I know.

Do any aspects of your home remind you of your wedding?