Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Our Wedding Day + Tips For All You Planners

Ok fine, we're over 6 months married now. But I'd still like to reminisce. You better not mind 
because I'm going to continue on with showing you how we did it 6 months ago...with A LOT 
of pictures. We love looking back through them, thinking about all the love and support on that 
day, the excitement, the fun, finally being married, and everything leading up to it. If you weren't
at the wedding, well this will give you bits and pieces of it. If only I could post all the pictures...

And for all of you getting married that have asked me a thousand questions on "how to" or 
"where'd you get...", hopefully this will help! Under the picture will be how we did our wedding and suggestions on how to make it simple, cheap-er, or ideas of places to check out when hunting for food, beverages, and desserts!

Think about your wedding: how do you want it to go, who do you want to be involved, what are you goals for the planning process and the wedding itself (other than to get married, right). 
Some of our top items were that we: 
-Wanted it to reflect us (i.e. the rehearsal dinner, theme of the wedding, etc)
-Keep things inexpensive (we made EVERYTHING in the pictures you'll see except the cake & pies)
-Wanted to be able to use things after the wedding (i.e. plates, burlap, dress, men's attire, etc)
-Keep things local (i.e. our caterer, bakers, beer from the local brewery, etc)
-Enjoy and capitalize on the time we had with the family and friends
-Celebrate others (those with many years of marriage and those who couldn't be with us on our day)
-And of course, Celebrate us!

Tip #1: make the wedding yours. Give it your touch, your sense of character/style, and have fun with it.
Tip #2: decide where you want your money to go. My suggestion...give most of it up to photography.
If you like our photos, go to Christin Rose's website. She'll travel to where you are for additional
plane ticket fee, but worth every penny!
Tip #3: Thank every single person that participates in your wedding and all that occurs beforehand.
They are all going to be your angels through the entire process! For those who helped us,
you know who you are, and we love and thank you so much even to this day!

-Continue down the blog post and you'll get tips throughout. Worth the reading!

The Calm Before the Amazing Storm
*Take some time for yourself before it all flies by*
Take an extra day and night near your venue with the girls. Go to a new restaurant, show your
bridesmaids places you and your spouse went during your dating years (i.e. this hike), relax
in the hotel, or anything else that is important to you before the big day

The girls got to see where we got engaged and pick their own lavender bouquets for the wedding!
Some of them claimed to not be so crafty, but they all did a wonderful job putting the lace 
wrap and pearl charm on them 

Go running the morning of the wedding...let all the jitters out.
And do it with a vail on your head, a shirt that shows you're about to be the bride, 
and great friends!

Reahersal Dinner
"New Orleans/Saints Style"
Put a theme to your rehearsal dinner (something that resembles you as a couple), make 
everybody dress a certain way, set the decor for your theme, and choose the food 
to go along with it

These were our pictures from when we were in Nola

Reuse picture frames and put the directions as the picture 
Order a puzzle picture and have people sign it at bridal showers and then the rehearsal dinner

Simple decor...using mason jars on the wedding day? Why not use them the night before

And why not pick decor you can reuse later or decor that someone already has (our venue 
had lots of options for us too)...mason jars, certain fabric, water dispensers, frames, 
vintage strawberry flats, great grandma's trunk, and so much more

*Plan a good time and place so that all can join*
-We rented a huge log home on the river in the Gorge where the parents stayed, 
also where the rehearsal dinner was held
-We also rented a big house up in the hills with a great view of the Gorge for the entire 
bridal party to stay along with their spouses

Make things fun for all...need ideas:
-Mark made up a funny tune about us that went with "Don't Worry, Be Happy" 
and the parents dressed appropriately as you can see

-My MOH, Kari, and her fiance Russ taught everybody a couple line dances at the rehearsal 
dinner so that we could go perform live on the wedding day for all to see our skills

-The moms put lots of funny baby pictures together and made a hilarious slideshow to compare
the way each of us as we grew up

Base your food off of your theme, whether you make it or you have it catered. We found our
caterer at the Vancouver farmers market, who happened to go beyond in making sure
everything was gluten free! If you're around for the market, stop by her place and
get some real Nola food from the Gumbo Goddess herself!

Take time to thank each person individually. If someone helped with wedding planning or crafting,
then thank them specifically. If they're in your wedding, give a little dish on how you know them, what 
type of person they are, and maybe even give them a little something simple. Need ideas..

-For the kids: books related to weddings (i.e. The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes The Flower Girl)
-For the bridesmaids: robes and matching underwear, a unique necklace with nail polish for the wedding day, and a nice note to go along with it
-For the groomsmen: socks and tie for the wedding, crazy underwear (see the picture in the wedding section), or simply pay for part of the groomsmen's attire for the wedding

Be sure to spend a little time with your hubby-to-be!

The Big Day Details
*Decor, flowers, invitations, additional table ideas, place settings, appetizers, food, dessert*

-Left: our "fan" program. We knew it'd be hot, so why not make a fan for each person!
-Center: we picked Lavender where we got engaged in the months prior to hang
dry it in preparation for the wedding day decor
-Right: our invitation...a map of the Gorge wrapped around the invite. Tied off with a tiny piece
of burlap and a sprig of dried lavender. Small cards were attached to give any further
details like our wedding website.

This can all be made very simply. Don't feel like you have to purchase spendy ones online.
Test out your craftiness and make them.
Suggestion: get A LOT of people together in a working line to make them. Makes it go real fast!

*The Venue*

Pick a nice Oregon, ya right!
Ok fine, pick a venue that provides the beauty you can add a little detail too

Another spot you can get married at on the property, looking SE

Looking East at Wind Mountain

The tent allows for some cooling on a hot August day and covering for your food!

*Your Go To Person*
To save money, we didn't hire a wedding planner. We had an amazing person who took
care of everything for us and the wedding day wouldn't have gone smoothly if it weren't for her.
So for all you out there, this is a HUGE tip...find somebody that will be your go to and knows
everything about the wedding. They will be your life saver. Do. Not. Do. This. Solo.

This was our wedding angel (no, not Mark). We were so blessed to have Debby!

*Flower Arrangements*

Get your flowers at the farmers market. My mom found a family who works at the Gresham,
Vancouver, and Hood River markets. Just so happened they work in HR on Thursdays so we
picked them up when us girls were in town. Saves so much money and you can get quite the variety!

Place your arrangements all over, even on wine barrels. We used the barrels for people to sip on their
drinks outside of the tent or if they wanted, they could eat there too!

*Dinner Table Settings & Centerpieces*

Use old pieces of wood to make vintage boxes. This is where we displayed our mini pies
for each guest as their dessert and ice cream was pulled out later to add to their pies.
Be sure to add a variety of colors, shapes, sizes of other objects to give it more character.

Ty, Mark, and my dad spent some good quality time together the day they made these
boxes. Lots of cutting, piecing together, painting, making the homemade stenciling
on the side, and watching them dry.

We cut lace pieces to go over the top and little pieces for each single pie, used old bottles and put
flowers and pictures on sticks in them, lace wrapped lavender bouquets (the ones we made months prior) layed over the top of the boxes, and then we had the vintage-like candle holders as well.
We made burlap table runners (buy your burlap on sale and with coupons at Joanns)...

We also made the napkins...cut one by one and we all took turns ironing.
My mom put together a million pieces of ecofriendly silverware we bought cheaper online, tied
them off with a small piece of burlap string, and we made little tags and hand stamped them with
a wax stamp that were attached. All the plates were collected at used stores, washed of course,
then placed in random.
*Tip to save some time later: bunch your plates up in 8 or the number that
can sit at the table, rubberband them, and place them in large storage containers. It makes it
that much easier for those setting things up. This is something you can do way ahead of time
to a lot of your decor.
*Trust me, do as much as you can ahead of time!

We wrote our vows on our own plates

Ty and I had special chairs and his mom had made us these out of the chalkboard
frames. Again, keep it simple with what you already have!

*Additional Tables & Decor Ideas*

Have an table at the main entrance that screams your of the two of you,
some decor that you'll see spread out throughout the venue, or things that are family
treasures (great grandma's trunk or great-great-great grandpa's medicine bag). You can use
this as a place to drop off cards and gifts.

*Need Another Idea*
Off to the left side of this path that the entrance was on, we set up a photo booth and had
cousins take pictures for us (unfortunately none turned out somehow). It's cheaper than
ordering a photo booth thing, it gets family involved in the wedding, and you get
pictures of everybody as they come in just in case they're missed by the photographer

We wrote some of our vows on chalkboard frames and displayed them throughout the venue

Need a snack to tie people over while you do family photos after the ceremony?
We used Costco popcorn, placed them in mason jars on a table or within vintage strawberry flats.
Tie burlap and a piece of string/ribbon around into a bow to give it that little extra!
This appetizer is one everybody likes and you can't go wrong with an appetizer that's going to cost
you like an 1/8 of what it would to have somebody cater it!

While some people snack to stay busy while photos are being taken, other can look at
photos (see below) or play lawn games. We set out lawn games in the field beyond the
main area of the venue. Everybody loved the 'holey board' game!

Give people the chance to look through a table of just you and your spouse. Scatter pictures,
frames, or photobooks throughout the table. We have a photobook for each trip we've
been on, our yearly adventure books as we call them, or other such specific books.
The sign above was made for one of our bridal showers. Came in handy for the wedding day.
*Always think ahead of what can I do now that I can use at the wedding.
This won't cost a already had it all!


Lemonade Bar 
-My Uncle hooked us up with a variety of berry purees from his work that we served in mason jars
-We put chalkboard stickers on the cups so people could try to reuse their cups (trying to be green)
-You can either rent the large glass dispensers or I'm sure you can find people
who would lend them to you ;-)
-Of course, have water pitchers or water bottles available for those who just want water

-Wine: Costco (it can be returned if you don't use it all if you're concerned about amount & cost)
-Beer: pick your favorites or pick a spot you enjoy going to. We used Walking Man Brewery,
which all of you need to check out next time you're on the Washington side near Skamania!
We loved choosing a place that was local and has always served us well during our trips to the Gorge.

*The Wedding Cake & Desserts*

Want to know how to save money on a cake? Tell them you don't necessarily want a
"wedding cake" and that someone will pick it up. Two things to knock the price down just like that! And instead, explain a simple two or three tiered cake that has the flavors you want and how
you want it frosted. Make up your own decor for the cake itself
and place it on when the cake arrives. Ty painted the letter S, I used those wood clothes
pins I found at my house and used leftover material and lavender to make the people, and of course
having leftover burlap and material we made a little burlap flower to tie in the rest of
the wedding theme. We got our gluten free cake at Sweet Pea Bakery in Portland.
They do regular and gluten free items and you can even do a gluten free tasting! There are
very few place you can do that in Portland so I was in heaven.

Also, my mom had their wedding knife and cake server engraved with our names and wedding
date. It's a nice gift to give someone and very personal, especially if you get to use
your mom and dad's from their wedding!

Why bother going through a huge company in Portland that will charge you a fortune. Again,
go back to the basics at the farmers market. And pick people who are somewhat new into the business
of baking! It gets their business out there and they are just as good as any others. My mom found
this lady at the farmers market who just so happened to live almost next door to the venue in
the Gorge...she whipped us up about 250 mini pies. We chose berry,
peach, and caramel apple (their specialty) and served it with ice cream.

*Other Details*

Got a good lookin' antique car laying around? Makes good use for photos and
driving away in. We used Ty's dad's '55 Chevy. It was perfect!

The chandelier. Purchased it at Craft Warehouse along with the candles.
We bought it knowing we'd use it later in our home...some of you may recognize it
in our home.
*Always think about 'what can I use later' or 'is this something somebody would have'

*Boutonnieres How To*
Make them homemade, save a ton of money!...cut a piece of cardboard out in the shape/size you want.
Cut a piece of burlap in the same shape/size and glue it over the top. I used lavender sprigs,
various buttons that matched the wedding colors, a light colored feather, and glued a small bow
onto the burlap piece. Then I wrapped a long piece of burlap string around a small skewer stick
to cover up the stick and glued it to the back side of the cardboard leaf. Glue a pin on the back
and you're ready to go!

*Bride Details*
You can take any shoe you want to wear under your dress and add a little something to them that
can be removed later. That way you can still get use out of your wedding day shoe!
-Go to a fabric store (bring your coupons), pick your favorite lace overlay material, cut out the
pieces of lace you want, and place the clear bra stickies on the back side of the material. Put on
your shoe and take off when you're all done.

Again, go to a fabric store and purchase lace by the yard. Sew it the size you need for your leg.
Put whatever you want over the top (the purple lace with the addition was found at the same store)
Buy a material you like, sew elastic to the backside, then add whatever you want on the top.
I used the leftover purple lace material to make the flower and purchased the other flowers on clearance, then put a pearl charm in the center of the flowers that I had laying around in 
my sewing/craft box.

Super easy...I can make them for you if you want me to for a small price ;-) 
Better than paying the $300 for one that looks just like the purple lace one I found online. 
Just holler!

I found my dress at a dress shop in Vancouver. It's tucked away of 99th St. They carry 
many designer dresses and the service is amazing! My mom got me the Mrs. Stanley
hanger. Always a nice gift to a bride and beautiful when hanging with the dress.

Tip to all you dress shoppers...
1) Shop around. When you know it's the dress, you'll know it.
2) Check prices at each shop. No joke, the Vancouver store was $100-200 cheaper than
some of the dresses at other stores. The same dresses even!
3) If you go to the bridal show in PDX, grab dress coupons. The Vancouver store will honor them.
So not only are they cheaper, but they honor the additional discount.
4) The Vancouver dress store doesn't make you pay taxes...for all you Oregonians out there!
5) Try on every type of dress, even if you don't think it's for you. First off, you never know and
secondly, it's fun to try on some outrageous dresses.
6) Have fun with it! Make a lunch date out of it for those special people that go with you.

Choose someone that knows you, knows your hair, and that you can be honest with.
Take in lots of pictures for ideas and be open to the hair dresser's ideas. They
come up with some great ideas!
Hair by Tonya Nelson at Le Charme Salon in Gresham, OR

Do you want to pay a ton of money for someone to come do your makeup or pay a decent
amount of money and get all the makeup you could've ever wanted?
What I did...I got suggestions from Hillary Altig who manages the makeup department for Nordstrom first. Then went into the Nordstrom makeup department and had several trials. I purchased what I liked and had a bridesmaid do my makeup. My bridesmaids know me you can watch a ton of "how to's" online to practice in all the month prior to the wedding. You as well as your maid get the opportunity to learn a little about makeup and how to! You don't end up paying all the money for someone to put a little cover up and mascara on you! Instead you get to walk about with all the makeup you purchased. 
Makeup artists do a beautiful job, so I'll definitely give them credit for that. This was just a 
way we decided to save money in our budget.

Keep it simple. I got to use my mom's pearls that my dad had given her and Ty bought me new
pearl earrings and bracelet. I've never been one to wear much so this was perfect for me!

*Groom Details*
Again, keep it simple and inexpensive. If you're not looking to rent
so that way all the guys can come away with something this is a good way to go. For the same
cost, they get to take home with them pants, shirts, suspenders, ties, and shoes.
Ty wore the cream color top while the groomsmen wore purple in order to offset each other.

Kohl's and JCpenny always have deals going on. You can't go wrong with coupons too!

Matching socks for the guys...and for the shoes, shop around for what you like.
Then go out hunting for the best deal. I believe we ended up getting these at JCPenny during
a sale they had. They were a little different style and color most people gravitate to, so
now they have a new option in their closet to use when they need to get classy.

*The Bridal Party*
As part of their gift, the girls got lace undies and lightweight robes which are great
for the summertime!

Give the girls $50 buck spending limit or else they pay the rest. It's amazing
what they come up with! All the dresses came from different places...
Nordstrom, Kohl's, Dillards, Dorothy Perkins online, Romy, and one handmade!

Each girl was in charge of making their own bouquet. They wrapped them in lace,
tied them off with brown ribbon, and a couple pearl charms.

Tip: find different settings to take pictures with your bridesmaids and family

Get crazy for some photos for a little fun...

Yet, stay classy for them as well

The boys on the other hand got fancy underwear. Ty thought it would be hilarious
to give them these wacky things and they got quite the kick out of them!

Pants and shirts: Kohls
Suspenders: JCPenny
Underwear: Kohls
Ty's shirt & tie: Men's Wearhouse
Hats & glasses: bring your own

Let the guys be silly

And let them be them

Get them all together because this may be the last time you get this many cool
people together all at the same time!

*Ring Bearer & Flower Girls*
Reuse your wagon at home. Put lace around it to give it a little wedding feel.
Dress: found online at
Headband: homemade by here mommy

Dress: found at Target, put one of the matching charm-like things on the center of the flower
just to give it a little something extra. It's a simple dress she can continue to use rather than one
that she'll never use again

Sign: made by Uncle Ty himself
Hat: Janie & Jack on clearance
Shorts: Janie & Jack on clearance (sewed the pants into shorts instead)
Shirt: already had laying around

Have someone special in your life that can play your bridal party and the bride and father down
the aisle? We chose my grandpa to do so, which is something I will forever remember!
Know good singers or someone who can play an instrument? It's always neat to hear a little
something different than just music playing in the background when instead, you can have
special people do it. My chose my aunts to sing two different songs.

We used our itunes for other music when it was necessary and picked someone to run it
who knew what they were doing. No cost on a dj, just on downloading music. In turn,
we now have lots of music to listen to!

Prayer...He is the center of our marriage. If you have time, do premarital
counseling. It was awesome and so worth it to get to know your pastor even more
and ourselves too!

Instead of lighting a candle or pouring sand into jars, we decided to bring dirt
from both of the homes we grew up in and pour them into a pot that had
a lavender plant in it. Why not bring old to the new flower (lavender is what we love 
and we enjoy spending time together at the lavender farm). Seemed only suiting to do so!

Tip: do something for your unity. It gives you as much time as you want together, whether
your back is turned to those in the seat behind you or not. We took the time to exchange 
words, enjoy the moment, and soak it all in. We were getting hitched at that moment!

Suggestion: get creative...what do you guys like to do together and how can you bring it 
into play in your unity?

Suggestion: have someone singing or play a song while you do this.
Also, at another time during your ceremony have someone read a quote or scripture.
It gives time to bring things all together and another moment to involve special people
in our lives to join in the celebration of your marriage.

Tip: soak in that kiss...or a couple kisses. You're married! Wahoo!

The Stanley's...finally married!

Tip: play a fun song to go back down the aisle to. Bridesmaids and groomsmen
can dance their way back down the aisle as well. Makes it fun for all!

Suggestion: toast to those who were unable to be at the wedding...due to deaths in the family.
At least they had the best seat in the house to watch our big day!

Cindy & John Cosby, 30 years of marriage

Mark & Kathy, 35 years of marriage

Reetha & Jerry Baehm, 55 years of marriage

Mary Lou & Joe Cosby, 60 years of marriage

Suggestion: Do a reunion dance. Play an old song for married couples to dance to and watch as
year by year goes by to see who outlasts all the others. Celebrate those who have had 
many years in their book and be sure to ask them the key to success!

And get excited for what the future holds for your new marriage!

Have one heck of a time, dance it up, and live every moment!

And even let your husband do a little strip tease in preparation to take off your garter.
Always makes for an interesting time!

We all have our ideas of how we want the reception to go. We had plans, but not every one
of them occurred. However, you take them as they come. 
Tip: Don't feel pressured to get it all in or else you won't enjoy it!

*And Just For Fun Pictures*

*Get Out Of Town*
Stay in town near the venue so you can go straight to the hotel. Then seriously,
get out of town! Pick a place you've never been or maybe you have been, but love to go.
Treat yourself while you're there and enjoy every minute of it!

I went overload on pictures and suggestions/tips, but I feel like I could put down so much more. Another day I will follow up with some other things, but until then feel free to shoot us questions or comments.

We wish you the best, loving, faithful, and blessed marriage as ours has been. Enjoy
every minute of everything leading up to the wedding, every moment of the wedding, 
and every minute thereafter!

♡The Stanleys♡