Archive for the ‘Essentials’ Category

Traditionally you would throw rice at the happy couple after they leave the church. Not sure where this tradition came from but it later became controversial. Some birds got sick and people said “throw birdseed, save the birds!!” So that’s what I did. Trying to be all PC I chose to have my lovely guests throw sunflower seeds on us. Good idea right? Oh my GOD no! It was the most painful thing ever. One person thought it would be a fun idea to blast me in the face at point blank range. Please people, if you go to a wedding where there are seeds or any hard pellet sized objects given to you to throw, lob it…The one cute thing I did was use little sheer pink and lavender draw tie bags to hold the seeds in. They looked adorable in the basket by the church entrance. That’s where you would keep them for when everyone comes into the church. Either have someone hand them a bag (so they aren’t all used up by a family with 6 kids) or have them placed them in the seats.

A few less painful options for confetti are:

  • Flower Petals-Daisies and roses are lovely because they both come in white and wont stain clothes.
  • Bubbles– A less desirable option because of possible spillage but painless nonetheless (unless you get one in the eye).
  • Faux Flower Petals– A bit more expensive than real ones and harder to clean up but again, not painful.
  • Biodegradable Paper Confetti– If you can’t find anyone that stocks these make them yourself by getting some sheets of paper and a hole punch. Takes a little time but, hey, what are bridesmaids for?

Click on the picture of the basket above and it will take you to a UK website for confetti baskets and the like. Such cute ideas posted there too.

Share you stories (or horrors) and ideas for great confetti options.


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I know it’s been a while since my last post, and, I apologize. But I’m here now to tell some of the story of the last few weeks up to my wedding. (before I forget)

I was hoping to have all of my last minute planning done before my family arrived on June 5th, but, there’s a reason they call it ‘last minute’. I told everyone I wasn’t going to be a bridezilla and that everything would run smooth as silk. Shya! That lasted about .6 seconds when I realized I had to schedule a nail appointment, full body waxing, clean my house from top to bottom, grocery shop for 6 people, and trot my family and friends around Ireland as a tour guide. Not to mention the fact that the guest toilet stopped flushing, the hot water tank only heats water in this house when the heat is on (heat on in June, not going to happen) so the guest shower was out of the question, and the fridge was on the fritz. I don’t own a coffee pot and Americans just don’t do instant, so begrudgingly my family choked down as much as they could before letting me know it just wasn’t kosher. Luckily I have a coffee press so that did in a pinch. I was asked about the currency conversion so many times that I have a formula memorized to calculate any amount. And if I heard one more complaint about how much it rains here or the fact that clothing, that I told them not to bring a lot of, couldn’t be worn because it’s too cold, I was going to lose it. And people wonder why I had a nervous breakdown.

Deep breath…

Now for the good news. We did have a few days of wonderful weather and luckily the rain held out long enough for me to get my hair done and then run over to the spa for makeup. But before I get into that I’m going to back up and tell you a few things I did to plan my wedding day before my family arrived.


Trying to find shoes in Ireland was a trip. I went to every store in Ennis, Galway, and Limerick only to end up buying them on the internet. Apparently you can’t buy a decent pair of shoes in this country under €95. The one bridal store I ventured into in Ennis had a cute pair of strappy rhinestone shoes. But when I put them on my feet swam in them. My feet were too narrow for these shoes! Then under some good lighting I noticed they weren’t even white. They were almond, or eggshell, or whatever people call it these days. I asked the woman working there if they came in white. She then informed me, now hang on to your hat for this one, that I had to get a piece of my dress and mail it, and the shoes, to Belfast for them to be dyed the right color. Dyed? What do you mean dyed? How do you dye a shoe white? Bleach maybe, but how many shades of white are there? It screamed of scam and when I told my dress alter-er the tale she looked at me like I was crazy. She had never heard of dying shoes white either. Oh and the best part is it would cost me another €35 to get them “dyed” plus shipping. Hey I’m the frugal bride, remember? 

So bottom line is I got my shoes online at My Glass Slipper and had them shipped to my Mom in Florida. It’s an American website and they don’t ship overseas. Athough if you know one of the 300 million Americans with an address, maybe you can ship it to them and have them post it to you.  


These are my babies. They were only $48 plus $10 in shipping. With the conversion rate my shoes cost a whopping total of €36. Now that’s a bargain.


The veil was easy. Although it took months of searching and debating about what style, length, and place to buy it from. I finally settled on having one made by my alter-er. Now I don’t always recommend this as the price could become ridiculous, especially for what you’re getting. Mine was very simple and elegant, but hugely overpriced. It was a mid waist length piece of material that was sewn to a comb. Nothing fancy, no jewels, embroidery, or even an edging and it cost me €75. Thankfully the shoes were such a bargain that it made up of for the staggering price of the veil. Although it’s now something I can’t brag about getting for a steal. Should’ve bought it from David’s Bridal in the States and had it brought over with Mom. Ah bygones.

All Other Accessories…

The ring pillow, garter, and other bits and bobs were brought over by my family as well. One accessory that wasn’t incidental but most important was my wedding ring set. As I mentioned in a previous post my Mother bequeathed my Grandmothers set to me. It’s a gorgeous round stone with 3 channel set diamond on each side set in white gold with a delicate matching band. The set is almost 70 years old and it looks amazing. I was very pleased to find that they fit perfectly and didn’t need sizing at all.  We purchased Anton’s ring in Galway and he wouldn’t allow me to spend loads on it so we compromised and spent what we felt was fair.

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While living in Limerick, Anton and I would frequent the town market on Saturdays. One Saturday we went down and heard someone playing the uilleann pipes. We stopped and looked at each other. Immediately our eyes began to fill and that’s when we knew we couldn’t have this wedding without them. I had heard them many years back and always dreamed about having them at my wedding. Not realizing that one day I would infact marry an Irishman. They are just the most beautiful sound and a tradition in the Irish heritage.

I am pleased to announce that I have just booked an uilleann pipes player for the wedding ceremony. I’m so excited. He’s only going to play at the ceremony because we’re having a band play at the reception. He’s only €150, which I thought was reasonable. If you want to know who he is you can email me. Haven’t asked if I can blog about him yet. I will and post it at a later date. Visit this great website  if you’re getting married in the Cork area and want an uilleann pipe player at your ceremony. Donal was quick to respond to my email and although he couldn’t help me being so far away, he was more than willing to offer suggestions for someone closer to my area.

The wonderful person who actually referred me to the player I booked today was Gabriela Avram. A terrific lady who I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know from social techie events here in Ireland. She’s got a great blog about the events she attends and the work she does in market research in technology. Thanks again Gabriela!

 “There are some things you can penny pinch on but my hair isn’t one of them.”

The first of three huge planning details I took care of yesterday was booking a videographer. I had called a few a couple months back to no avail. They were all booked. So I figured it wasn’t meant to be. Then I went poking around the internet again yesterday and found this great website, Keane For Beauty, with links to an array of bridal planning websites and phone numbers. Now mind you these services are mainly localized in County Clare, but most will travel for a nominal fee.

I first contacted Brooks Video,  from the links on the website, who said they regretably couldn’t cover it because they weren’t going to be in town. Yet they were more than willing to offer me two alternatives and one in particular worked out beautifully. The videographer I chose to go with is SES Digital. They have several packages to chose from ranging in price from €650 to €1100.  Very reasonable considering I’ve been quoted anywhere from €1200-€2000.  Declan from SES Digital was extremely helpful in answering all my questions and even sent me samples of his work. You can see them on the website as well.

The second thing I booked yesterday was the hairdresser. I found her on the same website as the videographer. I’m using Ev’s Hair Design in Quin. She’s really close by and can come to the house to do all the bridesmaids, my mom, and myself. Bridesmaids and mothers pay roughly €30 and mine will be €50. Plus another €50 for the onsite fee. I figure it’s worth it because the way the wind is out here, I’m not chancing too many trips to and from the car. So once I get my veil and tiara/comb I can bring it to her for a free practice run. There are some things you can penny pinch on but my hair isn’t one of them.

“…with enough ribbon and flowers…I’ll be happy.”

The last thing I booked yesterday was the transportation. I cheated and looked on www.goldenpages.ie for someone local. All of the websites I found were in Dublin and I wasn’t willing to pay twice the amount for the commute. So I’m going with Joe O’Leary in Limerick. For a black stretched limo that seats 8 that will pick me and my girls up at the house, drive us to the church, take us to any photo sites we chose, then on to the reception, will cost a total of €300. I called several places yesterday and needless to say they were the cheapest. An alternative to this, that I don’t have the pleasure of, is having a friend or family member that has a Hummer or larger vehicle that can pick a lot of people up.

An idea that Anton came up with as a solution to the problem of ‘how do he and I get to the reception with a limo full of the wedding party?’ was for us to rent a Mercedes or equivelent for the day. That way he and the groomsmen can use it to get to the church in style and we can use it after the ceremony. We’re going to have someone in the wedding party, or a friend, drive us instead of a chauffeur. That is going to cost a fraction of the amount it would if we booked a Rolls Royce with chauffeur. Ideally a Rolls is what I wanted but with enough ribbon and flowers on the car, I’ll be happy.  

Another website that helps with wedding planning is www.weddings.ie. It’s loaded with ideas from “etiquette for the big day” to “who pays for what“. You can even find bands, chauffeurs, and bridal party gift ideas on the site as well. I found it very useful.

So that was my entire afternoon yesterday. Surfing, emailing, calling, and booking things that seemed to only be available by chance. And the funny thing is I always ended up booking with the least expensive option. Guess this wedding is really meant to be. If you put your energy out there to get a budget wedding, do your research, and open your mind to fun alternatives, you’ll get exactly what you want. The perfect ‘wedding on a dime’.

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Pre-cana, Part Deux

A few weeks ago we had our last pre-cana course and I’m here to tell you all about it.

“They really drove the point home that this is FOREVER!!!”

We started out by entering the classroom and sitting in chairs lined up to face the front of the room. An overhead projector flashed love sayings with pictures of flowers until everyone got there.  Anton and I sat in our chairs holding hands and giggling like idiots when I looked around and took notice of everyone in the room. There were 42 people in the class (21 couples) and about 3 of us looked like we wanted to be there. Anton and I were 2 of them. The women were pleasant enough but the men had what you would typically call the ‘I don’t wanna do this’ face. Just a bunch of grumps. I could only sympathise what those women had to put up with to get them there.

So the class starts and the speakers introduced themselves. Two woman (wearing the same skirt and no it wasn’t a uniform) and a priest. They each had their own modules for teaching the class. We touched on subjects like children and women’s fertility, sexuality, finances, and how permanent this decision is. Honestly if I took this class 10 years ago with anyone I was dating back then, I would have called the whole thing off. They really drove the point home that this is FOREVER!!!

At one point the priest sat in a chair and pulled out a grocery bag. He then pulled personal items out of the bag describing what those items meant pertaining to his upbringing.  He then labeled it his “baggage” and described how it’s what he brings to every aspect of his life. He explained how we need to realize ours and what we bring forth to our marriage.  What we grew up with, our parents, our household jobs, past relationships, and anything else that frames us today.  I was amazed at how simple an idea that was but so completely accurate.

Another exercise we had to do was break the room up into 4 groups and take a test. Two groups of girls and two of guys. We were given the test with 20 questions and as a group we had to decide if it was true, false, or depends. They were all about women’s fertility so I couldn’t wait to see the men’s results. Once the tests were scored we were told the results. The men had the lowest scores with 7 and 9 out of 20. Oddly enough the women scored really low as well. The highest was 14 out of 20. They worded the questions so it was next to impossible to get the all right.  And who the hell makes a test with “depends” as one of the answers?

“…if a priest wasn’t present, I think she would have set him ablaze.”

Anyway, on to the rest of the day. We had a break for tea and biscuits and another for lunch. When we came back from lunch we had one more fun project to do. We had to hold a pen together and draw our ideal home without talking.  I thought it was a team building exercise or to see what we thought our ideal home would be. That was until they asked the question “Who did most of the drawing?” Well Anton controlled the pen and fought me when I tried to suggest what to draw. It got to the point where I was ready to whip out my own pen and draw, so we know what that exercise really meant. Yea, we’re both control freaks. So sue us. But it did bring to light the fact that we are. Only problem is I don’t see that changing any time soon. Hey, at least we can admit it.

The last thing we did that day was have a church service and lit a unity candle. As I looked around the room at the couples I noticed a few things. The way they held the candles. For example, Anton was holding my hand as I was holding the candle and our bodies were turned towards each other with arms pressed into each other.  Which, to me, was the way you were supposed to hold a ‘Unity Candle’. As a loving couple. Then I looked directly across from us and saw how this couple held theirs. He was holding the middle of the candle and she was cupping the bottom with the tips of her fingers so as to not touch his flesh AT ALL! She looked like she wanted to pour kerosene on him and flip the candle onto his lap. It was hilarious yet sad at the same time. They must have had the fight of a lifetime at lunch and if a priest wasn’t present, I think she would have set him ablaze. All I could think was, ‘I don’t see her making it to the alter’.

The other couples didn’t look much better. Some were holding hands like Anton and I, but their body language said ‘get a move on Father’. The class got out at 4pm, an hour early, because a rugby match was on at 5pm. I found it disheartening that even God is rushed for a game. Who knows what I might have been able to learn about myself and my betrothed in that last hour. But I guess we’ll never know. Hope the rugby match was worth it.


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MMmmmmmm Caaake!!

Three tier white cake with white fondit frosting and pink ribbon-€300

Two flowers added to each tier that the bakery provides-€45

Buying my own gerbera daisies from a florist and bringing them to the bakery-€10

Common sense to save my sorry ass €35-Priceless

wedding-cake-1.jpg No this isn’t my cake, but it’s one of the simple ideas I’m about to write about.

When shopping for your cake be careful of the ‘extras’ they provide you. There is no way in hell gerbera daisies cost 45 bucks anywhere, so why should I let a bakery charge me that? Anton and I even toyed with the idea of making our own cake. That was exciting for about 10 minutes. Until I realized I can’t bake to save my skin and I wanted people to actually eat this thing. Plus I have absolutely no baking accessories and after buying all of them to use once, I’d be over budget already.

I have some great ideas for getting the right cake for you at the right price. First find a picture of the cake you want for your wedding. Then go to every bakery in your area that makes cakes.  Get the price of a basic cake, the flavor of your choice, with no frills and either fondit or cream frosting. Go out and buy all of the accessories for the cake like; flowers, ribbon, cake topper, and any other decorations you like. Delegate to someone in your wedding party (or anyone willing to help) that it’s their job to decorate the cake when it’s delivered to the reception hall. Make sure the cake will be hidden in the kitchen until it’s finished. Decorating it should take all of 5 minutes. Make sure what you want is relatively simple so it’s easier on the person decorating it. Decorating the table also makes a simple cake look dazzling.

wedding-cake-4.jpg    wedding-cake-5.jpg

 Ideas for simplicity:

  • Fresh rose petals placed on all levels and on the table
  • Whole flower tops placed in the center of every tier
  • Specialized cake decorations that can be easily stuck on(edible flowers, hearts, etc.)
  • Fruit like cherries,strawberries, and blueberries  
  • Ribbon for the colors of the bridesmaids around the bases
  • M & M’s or other sweets you like (Valentine hearts)

wedding-candy-stencil.jpg You can make your own candies to put on the cake, or cake alterative, by melting colored chocolate and letting it cool in a stencil rack like this.

Go to this link and scroll down. You’ll see some amazing creations you can easily do yourself.

Alternatives to traditional wedding cakes are:

wedding-cake-3.jpg View full size here.

 If you do want an alternative wedding cake, go to your local bakery and ask to rent the tiers with nothing on them. Get all of the cupcakes, donuts, or whatever you chose to stack on them and do it yourself. You may want to get it a few weeks in advance to practice. Practice icing and decoration arrangement and take a picture to show your helper so they know exactly what you want on your special day. Make it a fun girls night event or make it special with your fiance/fiancee.

I love the idea of incorporating fruit or sweets on the alternative cakes. It ensures that everyone gets some.

Also check out fellow blogger Deborah at The Humble Housewife for great dessert recipes that you can incorporate into your wedding cake. She’s a wealth of information and extremely good at what she does. Just looking at the pics on her blog make me hungry. MMmmmmm strawberry shortcake.

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