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So, tomorrow I am having my first BOY dinner party here at the apartment for dinner, drinks and a little ridiculousness, I’m sure. I’m looking forward to it, but also admittedly very nervous.
 
Not that I have any concerns over the guys that are coming, they’re two of Matty’s best friends and I really love them so much (Hi Mike, Hi Adam!!). It’s just that we live in a teeny tiny studio apartment, and I haven’t yet mastered this thing called…cooking.
 
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Matty is allergic to SUGAR. And that’s ALL sugars INCLUDING Sucralose, better known as Splenda. No, he’s not diabetic – he’s actually allergic. That means no fruit (except lemons, limes and avocados), very few vegetables (celery, cucumbers, radishes, olives, and leafy greens). Nothing preserved or cured. Many breads also have sugars, so no bread crumbs, unless they’re homemade from the one or two breads that he’s allowed – and really, whose got the time for homemade bread crumbs?!
 
So talk about a tough allergy for a novice cook to work around. Every menu I find in cookbooks or online needs to be altered in one way or another. And I just don’t have that instinct. Not to mention that this sugar-free meal has to taste good to everyone, not just my husband, whose favorite flavor is plain.
 

But here’s what I’m going to attempt:
 
Appetizer: Green salad with Good Seasons semi-homemade vinaigrette dressing  - Matty’s salad will have to be separate, since there is sugar in the Good Seasons package.
 
*I’d just like to interrupt myself here to say that if you currently have a registry out there – register or ask someone to get you the Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix and Cruet (it’s the bottle that the dressing is made in). It’s the tastiest dressing I’ve EVER had and the steps are simple – even for me!!
 
Main Course: Pot roast over egg noodles with a side of green beans and toasted almonds - The pot roast is being cooked in the crock pot, and although this seems easy, I have screwed up crock pot meals before…so there’s a little drama to stir up into the pot as well. The noodles, well…if I can’t make noodles then I should just stop trying right now.  And the green beans with almonds I’ve actually made this a few times before and its pretty good. Lots of butter, though, so not the healthiest side dish. Matty can’t have the green beans, so I’ll probably make him some spinach or something else leafy and green.
 
 
Dessert:  Brownies, because, well – they’re MY favorite. And don’t I deserve a little compensation for my kitchen slave labor? Matt will happily enjoy is sugar-free ice pops, which are a little less fancy, but no less tasty (at least that’s what I’ll be telling him)
 
Have any of you ladies struggled with cooking or hosting dinner parties?  Been worried about bringing guests into your small living quarters?
 

Let me know how you dealt with it – this time, I guess I’m the one who needs the advice.

So, today an incredible rage came over me as I heard someone make a comment about an acquaintance's wedding picture.
 
 "I cannot believe she decided on a Renaissance theme for her wedding. That's so weird."
 
Well, EXCUSE ME.
 
At its core, a wedding day is about joining the lives of two individuals in love. The next layer involves themes and colors and locations and ideas, religion or non-denomination, long dresses or short.
 
Choices. Decisions.
 
But whose? All together now - "THE BRIDE AND GROOM"
 
Yes, solicited (and sometimes unsolicited) advice should be respectfully heard and considered, but in the end it comes down to who?? That's right, THE BRIDE AND GROOM.
 
I feel about my wedding the way I feel about my life - why go through it unnoticed? Why restrain what you want and desire on one of the most important days of your life, just because someone might think it's "weird".
 
I for one got married on the beach instead of in a Church - which was a BIG issue for my mother-in-law. It was a personal choice, and something that I have always wanted. I discussed it with my husband, as he attended Catholic School all his life, and he was fine with the beach. He thought it was cool, and quite frankly, it didn't phase him too much where we were. Plus he knew it meant the world to me, so why not. I knew it might hurt and upset some people, and there would be others who just wouldn't understand. But for Matty and me, it was the only place we wanted to become husband and wife. And it was BEAUTIFUL!

 
My favorite color combination is hot pink and neon green - "watermelon" and "kiwi" if you will. I had 9 bridesmaids and 7 groomsmen, all of whom said "HOT PINK???" Too bad, friends - that is my favorite combination and it was my day. And, by no surprise (to me) the short, strapless, hot pink dresses with the green sashes and pink vests/ties looked UNBELIEVABLE.
 
See??

 

 
There are plenty more situations where I walked off the beaten...um...aisle. But my point is this - your day, your way. Love yourself and your soon-to-be enough to allow yourself to make your own decisions. Everyone will still love you, and will respect you for being who you truly are.
 
And for my friend who went all Medieval - GOOD FOR YOU, GIRL! You looked RADIANT!
 
Til' next time,
Your happily wedded wife,
Adina Marie :)
 
12 January, 201112 January, 2011 4 comments Post Comments Advice to you, with LovE Advice to you, with LovE
So.. your engagement ring. Beautiful, Amazing... not what you expected?
 
Not what you thought it would look like? The hubby didn't do a great job?
 
Okay, maybe your one of the brides who would love ANYTHING your husband picked out to give you as a symbol of his forever love. GOOD FOR YOU.
 
I am not one of those girls. So much so that I had to be fully involved in the choosing process.
 
And even though I was there every step of the way...there were still MAJOR problems with the ring.
 
So what do you do when there is a problem with the ring?
 
Be honest with the jeweler. Explain the situation - why you don't like the ring, what you want to change, and of course, what the $$ difference looks like. If you do your best to be calm, cool, and collected (I know what you're thinking, I'M ENGAGED AND I HATE MY RING!! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO BE CALM?), you will have what you want before you can say, "look at my gorrrrgeous rock!"
 
As always, here's my story - because I never want you to feel alone in any bumps in the planning road.
 
Early in 2008, I told Matt that I made an appointment with my boss' jeweler in NYC (Yes, I am type A personality, thank you). Everything was going great, I had some specifics - I wanted white gold and pink gold, a princess cut diamond (which we had previously purchased) and something completely different - not the typical setting, you know?
 
 
Things were going great. Even when Matt proposed, and he put my creation on my finger, i LOVED it. But then...the diamonds in the band started falling out. Not one, not two, but FOUR diamonds fell out. We brought it back to the jeweler time and time again, paying money each time to have the small diamonds replaced (nothing too expensive, $25 each time)...but we also had to pay for train tickets to get into NYC, and then subway to get to the store...so it added up fast.
 
About 4 months before the wedding, another diamond fell out. We went to the jeweler and explained that my ring was broken more often than it was fixed. I spent my entire engagement either without the ring because it was being fixed, or flawed. So they decided to remake the ring in a different way, so the metal would hold in the diamonds.
 
Great, right? WRONG!
 
After another 2 months of not having an engagement ring to wear, Matt went into NYC to pick up the new creation and thought it was great. This was the same day we were going to get our marriage license and I had my first dress fitting. It was going to be a great day!!

We met at Town Hall in Hempstead, NY, walked into the building and were waiting to be called to get our license. Matt pulled out the ring, opened the box, and I started to cry. These were NOT tears of joy. The ring was HIDEOUS!! Disgusting. I HATED it so much. And the wedding was less than 2 months away!
 
So I held back my tears so I could go through the license process, went out to dinner with Matt, our moms and his grandma, and then drove out to Patchogue for my dress fitting.

The next day, I was inside another local jewelry store, explaining the entire story to them.
 
And what did I end up with (a week before the wedding, I might add)? A typical, white gold, diamond setting and matching band. Something that I have seen in jewelry cases for years, have seen on other brides wedding ring fingers, and thought was pretty but "just not me."

And you know what? I couldn't be happier.
 
(Here's Matt, slipping on that beautiful ring I never knew I always wanted)
 
So stay positive, ladies, oddly enough, everything really does work out for the best.
 
Til' next time,
Your Happily Wedded Wife -
Adina Marie :)
 

So, I'm having trouble posting pictures to my blogs and with the font/colors and formatting. Anyone else?

 

Sorry I haven't been able to show you pictures of Jackie's wishing well - as soon as I fix the issue, I'll be happy to showcase my masterpiece :)

 

Moving on......Invitations.

 

One of the MOST stressful steps to "I do". But also one of the most fun. If I could do it all over again, there are a few simple things I would do differently. Luckily for you, if you haven't already tackled your invitations, you can learn from my missteps.

For starters, there is SO much more to think about then you originally plan on.

 

What color? Well, when I asked for white, the most simple color - its not even a color, really, just a blank slate, the wedding planner said, "Well do you want ivory, pearl, cream, off-white, ecru..." Umm.. How about white?

 

I wanted a script-ish font. Simple right? NOPE! Serif, sans-serif, italics...What do the important letters look like ("A" for Adina, "M" for Matt, "A" for Agliano, "P" for Perullo...just to name a few).

 

I wanted pocketfolds. Great. I made one huge decision on my own. But wait.. Portrait or landscape? Where should the pockets go, on the side, underneath or above?

 

Did I want inner and outer envelopes?

 

What about the hotel information?

 

Before I knew it, this calm, cool and collected B2B was completely in over her head.

 

So here are a few basic guidelines that I learned from my experience, even some details of where I went wrong. 

 

       The wording on your invitation informs your guest of more than the date and the time…it also clues them in on the formality of your event. So choose your wording wisely.

 

       My mistake – I was so engulfed in the fact that I was having my dream beach wedding, that I wanted the entire invitation to SCREAM ‘beach’. Unfortunately, due to the phrase “Beachside reception immediately following”, my guests were under the impression that the wedding was out on the SAND, instead of in a beautiful mansion on the water NEAR the sand.

 

       More about the wording – Although etiquette will tell you otherwise, sometimes it’s not about whose paying for the wedding. Etiquette will tell you that those responsible for footing the wedding bill should be listed on the invitation. If just the Bride’s parents, then Mr. & Mrs. SoAndSo invite you to the wedding of their daughter…etc. If both parents, list both sets of names at the top. If the couple is shelling out all the money, only their names are listed. Well, yes. This is a good basic guide to follow. But sometimes, etiquette is not what’s best. Sometimes, you need to know the people you’re dealing with.

 

      My situation – Matty and I decided that since we were going with the beach theme, we wanted our wording to be different. And since I wrote EVERYTHING that had to do with the wedding, I decided to keep with that and put a quote at the top, our names in the middle, and invite our guests to share with us “the sun, the sea and the memories of our wedding”. My parents were okay with that, as we were never a ‘by the rules’ family, and they knew that there was no disrespect.

 

Matty’s parents were different. They believed that not including them on the invitation was a direct act of disrespect. This was one battle that Matty and I couldn’t just let go of. We fought tooth and nail to try and explain that it had nothing to do with money, it had nothing to do with disrespect – we just wanted it worded differently, and we wanted to feel proud of the hard work we put into OUR wedding. I’ll say it again…OUR wedding. After weeks of extreme awkwardness, I decided that we compromise. COMPROMISE. It’s what keeps the wedding on track and keeps marriages together.

 

Our compromise was listing “Blessings given by…” and listed both sets of parents…at the very bottom of the invite…in very small font. But, it was on there, and it cooled everyone off. This is still a matter that we disagree on, but it is in the past, and everyone felt comfortable with the end result

 

       If you have the ability to splurge a little, Calligraphered envelopes make a BIG difference.

 

       My story – I just wanted the best. I didn’t have money for the best, so I decided I would save in some areas and splurge in others. And for some reason, Calligraphered envelopes meant a lot to me. I felt that it set the tone – getting a piece of mail that was hand calligraphered means that you are opening something special, something one-of-a-kind. And let me tell you ALL the feedback we got on from so many different people. Even one of Matty’s friends, who would have been just as satisfied with a text message as he was with a formal invitation, said that the calligraphy was "really awesome and made him feel special."

 

       Don't send the invites out too early, but leave yourself enough time to reach out to those non-responders - because TRUST ME, you will have them.

 

       I sent my invitations out 6 weeks early, and for me, it was perfect timing. I did, however, have 20-30 non-responders that I had to track down (or have my family track down for me) way after the RSVP date.  The day of the wedding, I still had about 5 people not respond. I was lucky enough to not have to give my final count until the day before, so those 5 people were not going to have a seat. If they showed up, we would have found a place for them, but it would have been made VERY clear that it was an inconvenience.

 

      Be prepared for EXTRA POSTAGE COSTS! It is a very rare occasion that your cards will cost $0.44.

 

       Anything outside the normal shape of a greeting card - this includes square, even if it is small - WILL COST EXTRA. Add that to weight, which increases massively if you have an inner and outer envelope and/or heavy card stock. I would suggest making up an invitation EXACTLY how you want to mail it out to your prospective guests. Bring it to the post office and have it weighed, to find out the exact price per invite. And then mail it to yourself. It may seem like a silly waste of money, but trust me - it's worth it. You'll get to see how long it takes to arrive and in what condition it arrives in. Maybe you need to close your envelopes better or stick your address labels on a little better. Or maybe, hopefully, it will come back perfect. Either way, it's always better to deal with one problem than over 100.

 

   
My last suggestion is to keep your guests addresses in a safe place. If you are going to be sending out holiday cards as a new married couple, a great piece of advice I received was to send one card to each family you invited to your wedding. Then, only send cards to those who send you one back.

 

You may not want to send out so many holiday cards, but it is a great starting point when your first December strolls around and you have no idea who to send to.

 

Furthermore, if your wedding is a few months before the holidays, don't be afraid to plan ahead to wear Santa hats, or bring some sort of holiday prop, and ask your photographer to take a holiday picture. You could easily choose that picture and combine your holiday card and your thank you card.

 

Ohhh, how I wish I would have thought of this a few months ago, as I now have paid double postage less than 3 weeks apart.

 

Well, ladies. That's it for now. Like I said, when I can post pictures again, I will. I hope this has helped you move forward with invitation process with some gumption:). I look forward to hearing about how it goes for you!

 

Your happily wedded wife,

 

Adina Marie :)

 p.s. I really write WAY too much, don't I?? :)

So Jackie's shower was a HUGE success! Lots of fun, games, LOTS of presents, and, of course, a beautiful wishing well!

But nothing ever goes over completely smoothly...

Jackie's shower was up a flight of stairs, overlooking the entire place - VERY cool! Anyway, the nice guy who helped carry the wishing well up the stairs did not understand me when I said, "NO!! That's the top!! Flip it over, flip it over!!!!"

He put it on the floor UPSIDE-DOWN!   "CRAAAAACKKKK!!"

Yup, it broke. Now, as I said earlier, it was not expertly crafted. But it held up through four generations of weddings - over an entire year. And it broke less than an hour before Jackie's shower. Who sweats in November? A Matron-of-Honor reconstructing a wishing well, that's who!

So here are the pictures of the well, one all dressed up and one bare-boned...and don't mind the crookedness, the mops sticking out at the bottom, etc...lol! It was a tough day for the wishing well, and I'm so glad that it was the last shower it had to be showcased.

But it did a great job while it lasted, and it will be missed!
file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/User/Desktop/wishing%20well%20001.jpg
 
file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/User/Desktop/wishing%20well%20002.jpg
R.I.P., beautiful wishing well - I'm sure you will live on through other bridesmaids hard work, blood, sweat, tears and love.

Next up, invitations...how wording means SO much, and the family dilemmas that you can encounter when it comes to whose names are mentioned.


See ya next time ladies,
Your Happily Wedded Wife
Adina Marie :)
Hi Ladies!

Ok, so as promised, here are the supplies and the step-by-step details to creating this fantastic homemade wishing well.

Keep in mind, I am the furthest thing from an expert carpenter or builder, so if you can think of a better way to construct this wishing well – your comments are much appreciated! :)


Supplies needed:
For construction-
  • One large clear storage bucket
  • One large laundry basket
  • 2 sponge mops
  • Hot Glue gun
  • Duct tape
  • Razor blade or sharp knife (to cut plastic)
  • One good looking man who can work a drill ;)
  • One piece of wood, measured out to be just a bit larger than your storage bucket (should be rectangular in shape)
For decorating-
 
  • One set of sheets (incl. fitted and flat) in a color that matches your bride's wedding day theme.
  • Safety pins
  • Any type of decorating items (such as ribbon, flower garland, beach items, strings of crystals or rhinestones, etc) to go along with your bride's theme.

Ok, got everything?

Then here are the step-by-step directions:

-Place your clear storage bucket on top of the piece of wood, centering it as much as possible.

-In the center of the two short ends of the bucket, draw circles around the top handle of both mops, one on each side.

-Cut the holes out of the storage bucket and place it on top of the piece of wood.

-Trace the holes onto the piece of wood and have have your good looking man friend drill those circles out of the wood.
J

-Hot glue the tucker bucket to the piece of wood.

-Place the handles of the mops through the holes on the bucket and the wood and hot glue the empty space in the holes. Add quite a bit of duct tape around the mop handle and stick it to the bucket for reinforcement purposes (it will not be a masterpiece of art underneath the sheets)

-Walk away from the project so it can sit for a while...have a glass of wine you deserve it!

-When you return, test the mops to see if they are sturdy. Wobbly mops will not fair well for this wishing well.

-Hot glue the mop tops to the inside of the laundry basket. Again, reinforce with duct tape just to make sure everything stays put.

-O
nce you have given the mop tops and laundry basket time to dry, step back and admire your creation - a beautiful wishing well...

          ...well, maybe its not beautiful yet. But functional, YES!

To make it beautiful:

-Buy one set of sheets, preferably to match the size of the brides bed (these she WILL be able to use after the shower), in one of the colors in her wedding day color scheme.

-Cover the storage bucket with the flat sheet. Push it down so that it reaches the bottom without any pulling or tugging. Throw a few items inside to weigh it down while you decorate with your wedding day color themed items. The excess of the sheet can just be tucked underneath the piece of wood at the shower; no one will even see it.

-Cover the top of the well with the fitted sheet. Take the excess sheets along the two longer sides of the top and safety pin them to each other up and inside the top of the well. The Excess on the two shorter sides can be twisted around the mop bars and tied into itself where it meets the storage bucket, or safety pinned, whatever you prefer.

Here are a few of my suggestions:
 

-Cover the mop bars with some sort of flower or pearl garland. This will camoflauge the sewed part of the fitted sheets.

-Cover the top of the well with a large piece of tulle, to cover any wrinkles or creases in the sheets.

-Tie the tulle on the two shorter ends of the top and stick artificial flowers in the bows made on the sides.

-Take clear thread and dangle rose petals, beads or crystals from the inside of the top of the well.

Now, I would love to post pictures of Jackie’s wishing well, but I can’t just yet – her shower is this Sunday (Not a surprise, don't worry!). But you better believe I will be posting on Monday so you can see the 2nd generation of the wishing well!

What we thought would turn into a disaster, or a lopsided craft project created by preschoolers, became an amazing creation of love from a group of hard working bridesmaids. And a tradition that traveled throughout our group of friends. I'm sure it will not end with Jackie's shower next week, as I know many of you are going to create this for the brides in your life.

Just wait until you receive the feedback from shower guests! They won't believe YOU put it all together from scratch!

So get building and decoration, ladies. And please send me pictures of your work-in-progress, and finished pieces of bridal shower art!!

Love,
Your Happily Wedded Wife,
Adina :)
Hey Ladies!
Yesterday I re-created my favorite bridal shower tradition - a homemade wishing well!

If you've ever seen the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, this is like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Wishing Well.

When my friend Meghan got married last July, Stephanie, Jackie & I ["we're the four best friends that anyone's ever had"...hehe] decided to create a wishing well for her from common household items - two mops, a storage bucket and a laundry basket for construction, and a set of sheets for decor.
 
Here is a picture of Meghan's Tiffany blue wishing well:


We then followed suit and re-created the wishing well each time another one of our bridal showers came around - using the same construction, but different sheets and decorations to match each of our individual styles and wedding day color schemes.

Later tonight, I will be posting the supplies needed and step-by-step instructions to create one beautiful, inexpensive and fun wishing well, for your beautiful bride-to-be.

Stay tuned.... :)

Love,
Your happily wedded wife
Adina

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LilBeachBride  RSS Feed
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"Ever since I knew what a BRiDE was, I knew I wanted to be one" - The starting line of my vows, spoken to the love of my life on August 26, 2010. Now that my day has come and gone, I can't wait to help all brides-to-be achieve the wedding of their dreams

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