Recently, I asked my Facebook friends: What are the seemingly small details of your wedding that you found, in hindsight, you should have knocked out way sooner?
The answers included song lists. Seating charts (though one person outright vetoed the need for seating charts). Wedding favors. One friend advised, "Anything that you can do in advance should be done in advance, otherwise you'll find yourself in a crunch." And another replied, any small crafts you're doing yourself.
See how well I listen? Five days later, my ever-growing jar collection and I made the trip to my mom's. She and I had plans today anyway: We taste-tested (and happily agreed we should contract with) our caterer. (Steven was out of town groomsmen-shopping, so he missed the food. Of all things to miss, right?!) More on the blog later about the company that will serve our guests some truly tasty food.
Before the crafting could begin, we covered her dining room table with plastic (as the label on the glue suggested). Then, we broke out our foam paintbrushes, opened the Mod Podge and the supplies I snagged on Black Friday and embarked upon our DIY project.
My Facebook friends were right: It is best to start early. I thought we'd get every jar wrapped in lace, ribbon or twine tonight. We completed TEN. So far.
I also completely underestimated how much lace and ribbon we'd need, which actually worked out for the best because we decided we want to make every jar different, and new supplies such as dark brown lace and some small flower appliqués will help us accomplish that.
I love them, especially the ones my mom made. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Here's one all lit up with one of my fake votives:
Luckily, though the jar journey will be a longer one than I anticipated, it won't be a panicked one because people warned me to start early. What else should we do sooner than later?
It wasn't that there was something wrong with the dresses my bridesmaids tried on the first time around. But, in hindsight, we weren't convinced we'd found the dress that best fit the wedding Steven and I are planning. Floor-length plum dresses seemed a bit formal for our outdoor ceremony and rustic party.
So this time, my bridesmaids and I went shopping at Bella Bridesmaid in Rocky River. First surprise: We were the only people in the shop -- on purpose.Ours was an exclusive appointment with two women who not only know the brands they carry, but WEAR them, too. Here, shop manager Lori proves that some bridesmaid dresses actually ARE worn more than once:
Theirs is a stylish shop adorned with chandeliers that carries some pretty stunning dresses. Sandy, who owns the Rocky River location, and Lori provided a one-on-one consultation, pulling only dresses that stayed as close to the girls' budget as possible and keeping to our vision. No need for bedazzled dresses for a rustic wedding, y'know?The story behind Sandy's becoming a Bella Bridesmaid franchisee actually begins with her becoming a customer. A bride living in Charlotte at the time, she had eight bridesmaids. Only one of them couldn't go to Bella Bridesmaid because there wasn't one nearby. Can you guess where that bridesmaid lived?Hint: That bridesmaid's inability to find a Bella Bridesmaid drove Sandy's decision to locate hers in Rocky River. To date, Northeast Ohio only has one shop, and it can thank Sandy for it. Less than two months before she married, she quit her investment banking job, and nearly two months after she married, she opened the shop we found ourselves in one recent Saturday afternoon.One of the perks that I probably would have shrugged off had I never shopped at Bella is the value of not feeling like you're a bunch of sardines stuffed into a bridal store. Here, the couches and tables were ours to monopolize. And, unlike the other shop we visited, I was welcome to bring inside the snacks and water I brought for my girls -- within reason, of course. I'm sure they would not have welcomed sloppy joes. Initially, I found Bella Bridesmaid because they carry a Dessy gown that we all liked. I'd revealed to my friends that I wanted to try to find something shorter, something with some lace and something yellow. It was quite the departure from plum gowns, but I'm glad I said something: It was clear almost immediately that my bridesmaids were quite open to the new vision.During our appointment, we tried on some LulaKate dresses, versions of which allow women to choose a top, a bodice waistband and a bottom and essentially build their own dresses. Here, Maggie and Stephanie wear two such dresses. So, if we had decided to, the girls could have bought dresses with the yellow top and a matching yellow version of the other dress bottom, or vice versa.
Here, they pretend to blend the dresses themselves, lol.
In all, Bella Bridesmaid currently carries 13 different designers. Stephanie (my little sister and maid of honor) also tried on what's called a convertible dress, which has straps that make it so a single dress can have multiple looks. Pretty neat, especially for brides who want their bridesmaids to dress similarly, but not the same.
And next, the same dress, only one-shoulder now:
There were a number of other dresses they tried on, including one with pockets. But, we were lucky: The dress we all ooo'd and ahh'd over online ended up being the winner. Here is Stephanie in it. Disregard the clips; the dress was too long on her -- something that's often the truth for us since we each measure barely more than 5 feet tall. (Oh, and since it just came to mind, I've been told in my consultations with florists that shorties shouldn't carry a cascading bouquet because it makes you look shorter. Just a tip!) Now, it won't be black as pictured; it will be a sunflower yellow dress topped with an ivory lace overlay. To match, my groom will wear a sunflower yellow tie.
Given that yellow is a fall color and Steven and I are getting married on the cusp of fall, and given that I have plans to wrap the glass jars currently crowding our dining room with lace, this dress just seemed made for the day we've been planning. Just as important, I'm confident it will be a dress that will be flattering on women of different shapes. And finally, the wedding ceremony is outside. Floor-length just didn't seem right.Perhaps most importantly, the dress is, in Amy's words, "romantic rustic" while the yellow halter dress pictured above was more "party fun." As Sandy noted, bridesmaid dresses really help to set and enhance the tone of a wedding, and romantic, to me, is just right.
Up next, we need to decide what color and style shoes the girls will wear. When Bella Bridesmaid's Lori and Sandy heard that, they proved they're not just here to advise on gowns. First, they recommended we visit Glass Slipper. And then, they introduced these puppies:
When I asked Sandy the question I ask every vendor of mine -- what's the biggest mistake brides make in planning this part of their wedding? -- she replied, "Not being open. There's so much out there."You don't have to take her word for it: Make an appointment and see what the little shop with the black awning has for yourself.