On the road again...

...But this time as a married couple. Bama boy and I are trekking down to New Orleans after a spectacular wedding week and a wonderful & relaxing honeymoon in the Bahamas --- stay tuned, pictures of both to come soon!!


Be Our Guest!

When you have a largely destination wedding, you tend to have pretty much 99.9% of your guests stay at a hotel/rental home. So, in order to let our guests know how much we really do appreciate them travelling to the outer banks (esp in this fabulous economy), we've made some welcome bags for our guests. We wanted to not only have the bag be something that indicated "you're on vacation!" but was also very utilitarian and reusable (especially since 2 weeks ago plastic shopping bags were outlawed on the Outer Banks). So after a month or so of searching we found these awesome totes:

(photo courtesey of cheaptotes.com)

we purchased 50 of the navy for $50... awesome! Then it was time to figure out what goodies we were going to put in the bags.
So here are the contents:
- 1 or 2 bottles of wine.
Either Whalehead White, Wild Pony Pink or Sunset Red. My mom and I spent a whole afternoon doing these labels because we're both artsy, graphics nerds.
- 1 or 2 plastic wine glasses

- 1 travel sized bottle of Sunscreen. More proof that we're artsy nerds (also, just watch it be raining that whole weekend.. sweet)
- 1 travel guide to Corolla

- Timeline of events
- 1 bag of Bama boy's mom's citrus cookies. The woman can bake, i kid you not

- 1 or 2 bags of goldfish snacks (get it... beach, water, fish. Ok I'll stop)
- a few bottles of water
- travel sized kleenex, because you just never know.
and thats it!
heres everything complied together:

and all of the bags ready to be delivered for our many guests:
and on another note: my bridesmaids will all be here in less than 18 hours. I am S-T-O-K-E-D


Est Fini!

I raise my arms in triumph: after 5 months, my table name cards are FINALLY finished. Why did they take so long, you ask?

Because I'm crazy, that's why.

Back in May, when i decided to name each table after places where Bama boy and I have visited together, I tried to figured out how to incorporate my talents into making these little cards unique. So I decided "hey, why not draw a picture of a significant building in the location the table is named after." I figured I could use the HABS/HAER database for a few of the line drawings and draw the rest of them myself, right? I didn't take 4 years of measured drawing classes for nothing!

Definitely easier said than done. HABS/HAER only had documentation for 3 buildings in my 10 destinations. So I ended up drawing 7 buildings, ranging from a lighthouse, to a stadium, to a dock.

and here's a little sneak peek:
But it doesn't matter anymore, The table names are done and done. And now I'm starting to wonder how much money I would have made if I had been able to charge someone for my labor on this little project. I could make millions (or hundreds, at least)

Also, I've finished my seating chart! here's all the escort cards separated alphabetically

and here is the lovely seating chart. Dear Martha Stewart: your graphic seating chart tool on your website rocks. I heart you. Since we're down in Corolla now (yay!) today we're dropping off all of the "reception decorations" to the reception site as well as meeting w/ the photog. Seriously, between the reception stuff and all of the welcome bags (more on that in the next post) my beach house is a wedding disaster area. Hopefully that will be fixed after we deliver the bags tomorrow.

People are starting to arrive as well: the best man on Monday, my cousin last night and tonight will be 2 of my best friends from grad school & one of Bama boy's friends from Birmingham. THIS is why i love weddings = everyone you both love all in one place at one time. Its a beautiful thing!


Experiment in Libations

I think I did this kind of backwards - I chose my signature drink without even trying it. But I figured, how bad could simple syrup, vanilla vodka, strawberries and mint be?

Well I experimented last night with my signature drink concoction and boy am I glad i tried this out. I went by the recipe, but added strawberry slices (1/2 a berry) to the mint and muddled both together. We're not big liquor drinkers in my family and my shaker, strainer, etc are in New Orleans. So I had to improvise: Ball jar as a shaker, ice tea spoon as a jigger and a VERY tiny holed colander as a strainer. Necessity truly is the mother of invention. So i followed the recipe, with my strawberry addition and my drink turned out a very very pale tan color. I took a sip and the result.

Mint cough syrup.

with a hint of vanilla.

it was NOT good to say the least. Images of guests gagging at my wedding with their complementary drinks popped into my head. Stories of "the wedding I went to where the bride obviously didn't like her guests - she tried to poison them with a bad martini" rang in my ears.

Something had to be done. After thinking about it and mulling it over in my head for a night, i realized the problem. The drink didn't taste like strawberry at all -- I might as well have not put any strawberries in at all. So tonight, when I made my drink, I upped it to 1 and 1/2 sliced strawberries added to the mint.

The result? You be the judge:

a pretty pink drink. And the taste? delightful! The mint is still the primary taste, but the vanilla and MORE strawberry help to balance the strength of the mint as well as add some depth to the taste. It is NOT a fruity drink: it 's a feminine "strong" drink.

I absolutely love it! But I also learned my lesson: always try a drink and/or recipe before you choose to serve it to other people. Otherwise you risk serving something resembling mint cough syrup.


on the subject of Bling

I felt naked. Rather, my left hand did. Because I'm so rough with my jewelry, I had to give my e-ring a spruce up at the jewelers so it didn't look so banged up next to its new partner (the w-band) in 9 days. So when I picked up bama boy's w-band, I left the e-ring with the jeweler for a few days to do re-plating, buffing, etc. I've also been instructed to not wear it until the day before/day of the wedding.

Needless to say, less than 5 minutes after I took my ring off, my hand felt lonely, barren and naked. So this was my solution:
A pearl ring my grandma gave my mother about 10 years ago. Its pretty simple and it does the job. I can't wait to get my e-ring back, but since this is a heirloom, it works very well for the time being.

Speaking of wedding-related jewelry, my necklace for the actual wedding arrived today. I looked high and low for a pretty multi-strand coral colored pearl necklace that would add a little pop to my entirely ivory dress. The flowers are coral, the ribbon wrapping the flowers is navy, the dress is ivory and my shoes are navy, so I figured - let's go coral! So after searching etsy, nordstroms, steinmart, tjmaxx, and dillards with no success, I ventured back to store I visited a few years ago in Washington DC. I bookmarked their webpage shortly after and visited the website every so often w/out actually purchasing anything. Fornash Designs in DC has not only custom purses (i was fascinated by the truly create-your-own purse set-up they had in the store last time in visited) but it also carries some preppy accessories that have an eclectic twist. I discovered their 8 strand pearl necklace in peach color, instantly loved it, and decided to go ahead and purchase it.

Here it is:

the simple clasp

And it on me.. the ONLY thing I'm concerned about is that it might be a little too much. That's why I have 5 bridesmaids and a mom - to let me know if things look wayy to busy. I still love my new necklace though, even if it doesn't work w/ my wedding dress!


From our recipe book to yours --

We have 6 cocktail tables... which were just screaming out for something to go in the middle of them. Nothing as elaborate as the large table centerpeices, but something unique and quirky.
So I got to brainstorming about what to do. And I remembered a conversation I had w/ my floral guru back in March where she asked me "what is YOUR story? What makes your story totally different from anyone else's story?" She suggested to take the answer and use it to help define the look and feel of ythe wedding.

Like any good designer would do, I built off of the advice of someone much more experienced than me and went to work brainstorming. After some thinking, I realized that distance was such a defining aspect of mine and Bama boy's story. We have never lived in the same state or closer than 10 hours in distance. So to make our relationship work, we had to put effort into making it as "normal" possible. And thus the Dinner and a Movie dates were born. One of us would pick out a recipe and the other would pick the movie. We'd let each other know at the beginning of the day so we could rent the movie/ pick up recipe ingredients and then at a set time, we'd call each other. Over speakerphone, we'd cook our fabulous recipe of the night and then sit down and, still over speakerphone, watch our movie together. Yes. We are dorks. BUT it made us have those shared experiences that help create a lasting relationship.

So, I decided recipe cards would be the centerpieces of the cocktail tables. I picked 4 of our recipes and printed about 25 index cards per recipe -- then printed a little sign to put on the front. In an effort to carry over a fun bridal shower activity as well as create some input from our guests, I also printed 60 blank recipe cards for our guests to share what they believe is the recipe for a successful marriage. Placed in a soapdispenser holder-turned recipe holder ($1 each from TJ MAXX!!) and VOILA! instant cocktail table centerpeices:

Each holder will have 4 various votives holders & candles around them, with the tables that ask the guest to write their opinions having a votive holder hold little golf pencils in them.

One more project down, a ton more to do. T-minus 10 days til the big day - I cannot believe it!


A Sweet Farm wedding

This past weekend I went to the wedding of one of my favorite people- Misa. She also just happens to be a fellow blogger, history/politics/architecture nerd, and is also one of my bridesmaids. We went to undergrad together - she sat in front of me in my Civil War History class junior year. We struck up a convo one day and tada! instant friendship.

Misa married her college sweetheart, JM, at the farm thats been in her family for years - Padua out in western Virgina. It was absolutely wonderful to see all the plans of my wedding planner partner in crime the past 9ish months come to fruition. From the beautiful weather, to the groom being late to the alter, and to the slightly choreographed first dance, everything was PERFECT and very Misa-JM.

Ok, enough of my chatter and onto the pretty pictures:

The guest participation clothesline was super creative and a HUGE hit!

the two september brides!

heres to the happy newlyweds!

Bottoms Up!

In an effort to make sure that we still have an "open" bar, with liquor, but still be budget friendly, my fiance & I decided on having signature drinks at the wedding, where wine & beer would be complementary and liquor would be available, but only in the form of drinks that my fiance & I chose. Therefore, we began figuring out our "bride" and "groom" cocktails

My fiance's choice was an incredibly easy one -- he just picked the drink he has almost every night: the always classic Jack & Coke. My choice was a much more difficult decision, as I really only drink wine. I was a vodka tonic drinker in college until i went to grad school and it just became a much more difficult drink to stomach. I've recently gotten back into mixed drinks when visiting New Orleans - we've made a few stops at the spectacular Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel, which is amazing. However when I embarked on this journey of finding a proper libation, I decided something - it needs to be something that reflects who I am, even If I don't drink the drink itself. Something southern, light, and a twist on a classic.
So I went to the bookstore and found this little gem:

(photo courtesy of Amazon.com)
This book has some spectacular recipes -- everything from classics like French 75s to Peach mojitos. There's even a full chapter on nibbles like - spicy vidalia onion cheese toasts and beer battered string beans.
Anyhow, so I realized that I kept coming back to the mint julep... spring race season is something i actually really missed about Virginia when I was away in Texas and I did love my occasional mint julep while hanging out with friends at various races. But you cannot serve a proper julep w/out the silver cup, thus nixing that idea. However, placed a little deeper in the book is the recipe for a Mint Julep Martini. It substitutes Bourbon with Vanilla vodka, absolutely PERFECT! I even added my own little twist to it to make it even more unique - sliced strawberries.
So, everything's been selected and here are the signs I made for the Bar:
the bride's drink sign-the grooms drink sign-
and for a little bit of humor (and some southern charm) i found a adorable toast that hearkens back to the Antebellum south. This ought to be a hit w/ the tons of Yankees (mom & dad are both from New york) at the wedding.

and the whole shebang!

So if you're ever up for a quirky taste of the old south like a Gin Fizz or a Hurricane, try the fabulous book Southern Cocktails: Dixie Drinks, Party Potions and Classic Libations by Denise Gee.

Next up - the cocktail table decorations!
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