The Invitations -- Check!

After 3 months of designing, anguishing, nitpicking and perfecting my invite design -- The Invites have been sent, delivered and people have started to respond--- so drum roll please:

Our Invites:

(names have been smudged for privacy.)
The Inserts: (clockwise from top left: The RSVP Postcard, Directions Card, Accomodations Card and Reception Card inserts)
The RSVP Postcard: Directions Card: Reception Card:
(and yes, that is what the actual veranda of the Currituck Club looks like)
Accomodations Card:

All 4 inserts stuffed into their comfy little kangaroo pocket (the actual invitation was mounted on the other side of the pocket):
My mom did the calligraphy on the pocket front. she went through like 20 of them "practicing" formal calligraphy. In the end I just told her to go for it & wing it w/ her normal handwriting. The result was even prettier than if she had done calligraphy!!
I dont know what I would have done w/out Photoshop and AutoCad. Who says that you don't learn skills that will help you in every day life in college & in Grad school? Without those hours and hours of learning how to create accurate measured computer drawings of buildings, I wouldn't have had my graphics for my wedding invites!
So now that that has been done, we're onto the programs and the name cards for the wedding. Bring it on.


Finding not just any ol guestbook....

So I've been thinking guestbooks lately. It's such an overlooked, but really important part of a wedding - a book that contains a record of the thoughts and well wishes from those with whom you've invited to share one of the most important days of your life. While a traditional "guest book" with 10 or so lines to put your name and a kind sentiment is nice for some some couples, I've often thought "what the heck do you do with it afterwards?" Does it get shoved onto a shelf somewhere only to be resurrected every anniversary and then somehow forgotten again? We're having a small wedding, so the thoughts and sentiments of our guests are extremely important. Also I have always thought that it would be a wonderful idea to not just have a guest book, but have something that played double-duty and that would honor something that both my fiance & I will cherish beyond an engagement & a wedding.

Enter coffee table photo book -

Brilliant, I said! Now just to figure out what this Coffee table book would be about. Option 1 ) a photo album of our engagement photos. Spectacular, except the wedding is taking up 99.9% of my time and even though it's super personal, its way too labor intensive. Plus, we will have a coffee table album of the wedding photos from our photographer after the wedding.
Option 2) photo book of the Outer Banks. Both the fiance and myself LOVE quality photographs('Bama boy took some photography classes in college and I had to take a lot of "artistic" pictures of my building models in grad school) so it seemed like a great solution. So I started scouring local book stores while on vacation in Corolla this past weekend. Not too many photo books available on just the outer banks, I tell yah. Lots of books about boating and fishing and duck hunting, but nothing about Corolla and it's absolutely amazing natural beauty and historic architecture. I found one book that did highlight the beauty of the Outer Banks, but most of the pictures were from the southern outer banks (Hatteras, Oracoke, Rodanthe..), where in my 25 years of visiting the barrier islands, I've never visited. Hardly very personal .

I was ready to leave defeated, surrendering my perfect idea, until the solution practically blindsided me. The Whalehead Club.

This spectacular Art Nouveau hunt club - the inspiration for me pursuing architecture and historic Pres, and which I've blogged about in a prior post, recently had a gorgeous coffee table book published highlighting its preservation and the beauty of the environment surrounding it.
The pages are full of a lot of open space, where guests can write their sentiments and well-wishes. The pictures are also exquisite -- Mollie Issacs, who took the pictures and also authored the book, has captured some of the most breathtaking images and details from this very special building. Even though we're not actually getting married or having our reception at this building (its a block away from the our chapel), it still is very near and dear to both myself & my fiance. Its a book that even without the messages from our guests we would be proud to display on a coffee table someday.

What unique way have you put your own unique twist on something as seemingly mundane & traditional as a guestbook for your wedding?


signed, sealed and *almost* delivered

Although today has been extremely stressful due to a bridesmaid dress shipping/order snafu (i continue to shake my fist at you J Crew), a HUGE step had been achieved in this massively DIY wedding. I don't want to show too much until I know most people have received them, but here's a little preview:
The front of the envelope. The label wrap came out spectacularly and I love how the 62 cent stamps (yes, these things, with all of their inserts do get very heavy) actually ended up matching the envelope!!
The labels wraps to the back -- our return address is there, but I had to smudge it out b/c of the privacy thing. The label actually seals the entire envelope.
When opening the envelope, this is what you see -- only a sneak peek for now.

So all in all, here was the scene before heading to the post office -- everything ready to go!
What is wonderful is that we're actually on vacation right now in Corolla and so we're shipping them from the little post office we've gone to for ages while visiting down here -- the invites will actually be postmarked from the wedding location (we didn't plan this, it just happened that we would finish stuffing and sealing the invites while we were down here.)
What a huge hurdle jumped! Now on to the RSVPs *hopefully* rolling in en masse!

as of today, I officially despise J Crew.

Their bridesmaid dresses and lack of stock/ shipping problems have become an absolute wedding nightmare. More to come later.


The Hunt for the Perfect Shoes

Ok, so I know I'm supposed to update you all on the most recent trip of mine with pictures and stories and such, BUT I just had to share one of the best/ most interesting parts of my trip....

After 5 months of intense searching - I finally found the perfect shoes for my wedding.

First let's rewind to March. I get this awesome idea to spice up things a bit and wear colorful shoes to the wedding Creating a cute, flirty effect like below:

(courtesy of WeddingPaperDivas)
Perfect because I'm not into white shoes at all and i want to be able to wear my shoes again after the big day. I love heels, so that's a must and it should be a fabric that complements the cotton of my dress. So I decided I want Navy Blue satin peep toe heels. Simple enough, right?

wrong. Big ol' freaking wrong.

I begin to scour the internet while I'm taking breaks working on my final study project. I look at Zappos, Piperlime, Ebay, JCrew, Nina, Nine West, Kate Spade, Nordstroms, Neiman's, Bergdorff (I was getting desperate), Glassslipper, visited DSW, Off Broadway and even Googling "Navy blue sating peep toes" and going from there. At one point I think both myself and another classmate were taking breaks from work in the studio just searching for navy satin shoes online. This routine of regularly scouring the internet for shoes went on for months into July. The result: no navy blue satin peep toe heels that were (a) in my price range, (b) fit the casual, classic simplicity of the wedding. Lots of leather (wrong fabric) and lots of closed toed (not appropriate for a beachy wedding), but nothing I was "excited" about - and truth be told, if you're someone like me who LOVES shoes, the shoes you should be excited the most about should be the shoes you wear for your wedding.

Feeling defeated, I decided that I would just have to buy shoes and have them dyed to match. I figured I'd buy a pair of dyable satin shoes after my trip from Glasslipperand just MAKE them blue, even if I had to go over a little on my budget.

So I then go abroad to visit my sister (more about that later). We're just casually walking around city 1 and my sister says "oh look, a Zara! They had a coat there I wanted, lets see if they have it in this store in my size." We walk in and she goes off to look for her coat. After browsing the first floor, I walk up to the second and then I see them.

Sitting on a shelf are the exact shoes I've been looking for: navy blue satin high heeled shoe with a peep toe and a little casually tied bow. They are PERFECT. Since I dont know my size in European numbers, I try them all on. Turns out, they have all sizes EXCEPT mine. Since it's a very popular chain in Europe (there's only one in the US - NYC), I figure they will have to have my size in another store. So I leave feeling hopeful that at the next store they will have my shoe. In our travels over the next 3 days we come across 3 more stores: 1 doesn't have ANY of the shoes at all, another doesn't have my size, and the third one.... well, lets just say I found 1 shoe in my size. No, that's not one pair of the shoes, that's one singular shoe. I scoured the entire store for my shoe's partner to no avail. I even asked a store attendant (rather, i cornered her b/c she was the only person I could find who looked like she worked there and asked her politely if she could help me find the shoe. She replied then, in perfect English "I don't speak English" and walked away. Wonderful). Note: Its sale season in Europe right now, so these stores are a mess -- piles of clothes on sale, the stores are swarming, and things are left everywhere. Incredibly intimidating to most people, but I had a mission.

So we left country 1 and visited country 2 - which I knew had establishments of the store in the city. So, while site seeing, I took a small detour to the first store I saw. I checked out their shoe area, found the shoes and once again, saw that they had the shoe in every size except for mine. I went to another associate, asked her if she may have had my size in the back. She said she'd look, ran off for 5 mins, and came back with a no answer. After a few moments of feeling defeated, I snapped out of it and then entered my determined, semi-bridezilla moods (which I am really trying to make a rarity) and marched up to another sales associate and politely asked her if she could see if they had a stock of my shoe in any other stores... I was tired of chasing after a shoe that I wasn't going to let dominate my vacation. The sweet store employee said "no problem," checked the stock, called the stores in the vicinity and within 5 minutes had a pair on reserve for me at a neighboring store. I had to restrain myself from hugging the woman in the middle of the store I was so elated.

So after 5 months of searching, and an shoe chase that covered 6 stores in two countries, here are MY wedding shoes:

Now onto breaking these bad-boys in!

Where the heck did you go?

Heres some hints of where I've been the past 10 days:


more to come soon, after I catch up on some sleep


and rockets red glare

So after flying back to good ol' New Orleans for a day or two, my fiance and I drove up to his hometown in North Alabama for some 4th of July bonding with the future in-laws. It was 3 days of LOTS of food, good beer and wonderful people. I also remembered how fun it is to set off fireworks -- the two places I usually am for the 4th (home and the outer banks) have made fireworks illegal in the past 10 years, so I haven't set any off in a VERY long time. So, I took advantage of them bring very much legal in Alabama and we set some off on the railroad tracks behind my fiance's childhood home:

(this is me lighting a little 'bottle rocket' on the tracks... i've got mad skill - i ended up actually hitting the next door neighbor's house during one try)

It was also on this trip that I realized that I am marrying a closet pyromaniac. It was like Christmas for 'Bama boy and his 4 year old nephew with all of the explosives and things to light on fire. Pretty funny, I must say.(my fiance in red getting ready trying to set off some little fireworks, telling his little nephew to stand back and watch, much to his nephews disappointment)

After our little family house party, we all drive to the bluffs above the Tennessee River to watch the annual fireworks over Florence, AL. The bluff was packed with tons of kids, families and we even managed to bump into some of 'Bama Boy's high school & college buddies that he hadn't seen in years. The fireworks ended up being spectacular (since we were on the bluffs they went off literally RIGHT in front of us) and both of us had a great time enjoying the simpler things in life: family, friends, fun and our wonderful, beautiful country!

(The crowd looking out over the bluffs waiting for the fireworks to begin)

( The town of Florence after the fireworks - view from the bluff)

('Bama boy & I right after watching the fireworks -- what a great holiday!)

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