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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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DIY Centerpieces

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Now that my wedding is over, and I can relax, I’m going to only do fun posts with great  ideas to save you money.

I found this amazing website that give you loads of DIY wedding accessory ideas. Everything from arranging flowers to making your own centerpieces is listed on this site.  Being in Ireland I don’t have access to huge craft superstores like I did back home, but I still have great ideas to make that budget wedding gorgeous.

Floating candle centerpieces are an inexpensive way to jazz up the table and people can even take them home as gifts. You can stick a coin under one of the seats at every table and whoever has the coin gets the centerpiece. Have this announced when everyone is in their seats and the time is appropriate.

candle

Now how to make it. Go to any craft superstore, discount kitchen store, or even Wal-Mart.  Find tall clear glass cylinders or even shorter glass containers that are wide and not clear. Whatever your personal preference.  If you chose a taller clear container you can put fresh flowers in the bottom (cheaper than fake and look better) with a candle on top. Simple, easy, done in 3 steps. Flower then water then candle. Done.

The shorter wider base ones are easy as well. Simply add water, candles, and for a special touch float flower petals or entire blooms on the water. In a shorter clear container you can take long green stems of flowers like lilies and weave them in the bottom placing the flower heads on the water.

If the reception hall will be dark, lighting the candles adds a romantic touch to the occasion.  But if your reception is during the day in a bright room, candles might not be your first choice.

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What’s the theme of your wedding? A beach scene? Winter formal? Vibrant autumn colors? Build a centerpiece that best matches your theme.
fishbowl
Beach weddings can have water centerpieces with shells in the bottom and goldfish or beta swimming in it. Buying fish bowls might even been cheaper. Other beach accessories you could use are rocks, sand, starfish, sand dollars or even colored glass pebbles. Try a few of these before the wedding to see which one you like best. It’s best to experience any problems that might occur (fish poop)way before hand as well. It only takes one day to find that out.  If you don’t add flowers at least jazz up the bowl with ribbon, a painted design, or even some twine tied in a bow.

Also a good idea is to see what you have local to you. Is there a beach nearby? How about trees with fall foliage you can pick? What about planning so far ahead that you actually try to grow the flowers for your own wedding. You don’t need a green thumb to grow bulb plants like tulips, lilies, or even hyacinth (which are so fragrant and gorgeous).  Flowers that are in season at the time of your wedding will make them cheaper if you do need to buy them.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you don’t have to spend a lot on your wedding. And making as many DIY things as you can will save you in the long run. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment.

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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.

Shoes…

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.

Veil…

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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Being the anal planner that I am, I paid most of my deposits today and called all of my bookings to reconfirm everyone’s attendance. Photographer-check, cake-check, flowers-check, transportation-check, videographer-“We actually booked that day with someone else since our last chat…” I’m sorry,What? Did I just hallucinate? How could this have happened? I had a great chat with the videographer and thought we had an understanding. I was going to pay the deposit when I had the cash and he was going to be a great guy and wait for me. Fat chance. Word of advice. Don’t expect anyone to keep their word when money is on the line. Make sure when you’re going to book a service for a wedding that you pay them and fill out the booking order as quickly as possible.

So I’m sitting in the living room screaming at my laptop and sweating profusely. Meanwhile Anton is sitting across the room watching me morph into Bridezilla of epic proportions, most likely questioning his sanity for proposing to such a spa. In the reply email cancelling my confirmation, the videographer informed me that he could help me find another one if I so desired. Of course I so desire. Did he think I wasn’t serious when (I thought) I booked him? I sent a reply email and waited about .6 seconds then called his number to which I got no answer. I left him a message and called the other number. I think his mum answered which concerned me a bit but then brushed it off. Hey some people still live with their parents at 40 years old. Who am I to judge. I was told by the pleasant woman on the phone that he was possibly doing a wedding tonight. That was like salt in the wound. Knowing he might be videoing some other lucky bride who’s booking he didn’t cancel. But then I thought ‘It’s Monday. Who would get married on a Monday?’ Poor thing’s confused, bless.

Short story long his partner called me back. I was pleasant for as long as I could be. I said hello nicely then flipped my wig. I’m sorry. I’m an American who lived in New England my whole life. Do you really expect me to have patience? I told her how poor I thought it was that she booked over my day without even calling me first. She said I had to consider her blah blah blah. I didn’t hear the rest because I blasted her with her lack of professionalism and how a wedding is a huge day with loads of planning and if they couldn’t have the decency to call and confirm…you get the picture. She did say that she called but didn’t leave a message. Bollox to that. She never called. I’m not an idiot.

She gave me two names and numbers to call. The first one didn’t answer so the stress level just about peaked and almost turned into tears. I’m not hormonal I swear. I’m just a spoiled brat. I called the second number. When the man answered he must have thought a squirrel high on caffeine called him. My voice goes a few octaves higher when I’m nervous and I speak rather quickly. He confirmed that he had that date available and my body went limp. I released the air I trapped in my lungs just in case I needed to scream.

We had a lovely chat and come to find out he’s cheaper that the people I originally booked. He had a pleasant demeanor and loads of experience doing weddings. I can now breathe easy again. He also agreed with me that the original videographer I booked never called to confirm either. He said it’s sad but it happens all the time. If you want to know who he is, comment on this post and I’ll email his info to you. He’s out of Tipperary and doesn’t have a website that I know of. But I have his name and mobile if you need it and are getting married in Ireland.

So far that’s the only huge hiccup I’ve experienced and hopefully the last. I know everything happens for a reason and I think this was God’s way of saving me a few extra quid and making sure my day would be flawless. I just wish I could get it through my thick head not to panic about everything.

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Ok huge dilemma. We just listened to our fifth band and, yet again, they sucked. We have no idea who to book. We’re super picky and me being an American, and a fan of the DJ, have found no one who can play up to our standards. Am I being too picky? Is my reception going to suck because I don’t want live entertainment? I just always pictured my big day with music played by the original artist. I’ve never even liked going to see cover-bands. It just annoys me. I know the Irish way is live music and karaoke-like fun, but seriously people, where is the talent around here? I will take any and all suggestions and listen to another 50 demos if I have to. Send them my way.

Anton’s family are extremely talented and can sing like angels. Either way, booking a band or a DJ, they will have to understand that his sisters and brother will be going up there to do a number or two. So we need someone flexible and easy going who will allow audience participation.  

I’m not mentioning any names, and don’t ask me to, but the demos I was sent and the one band I actually went to see, were bloody awful. One band even boasted about themselves so much I thought they were the second coming. They said they were booked into 2010 and they just happened to be available on my day. How lucky was I? So I was delighted I asked them to send me a demo. There are no words to describe how disappointed I was. Think Jimmy Buffet with about 50% less talent. €1500 for that? Bollox. I just threw the demo away and went back to the drawing board.

I know bands have to share the fee but to have a reasonably priced reception the only way to go is a DJ. And hopefully you know someone who can do it for you as a favor or at a good price. That’s a huge portion of the cost for a wedding is the entertainment. I have no problem having a DJ and I finally convinced the fiance that it’s our only option.

For a DJto play for roughly 8 hours they charge €950. For a band to play 2 1/2 to 3 hours they charge a minimum of €1200. Then you have to hire either another band or a DJ to play the rest of the night.  Hmmm whats the better deal? And which one do you think I would chose? When I saw the price comparison there was no question. Plus you can get them cheaper if you have them start after the meal and forgo the bridal party announcement.

One DJ service that gives you a text quote go to the Weddingdjs website and get the mobile number.

Any DJ recommendations are also welcome appreciated. Just post them in comments and I will look into all of them. 

You’ve been a wonderful crowd, thank you, and, goodnight.  

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Bling! Bling!

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. The tradition every woman looks forward to as the special girls moment just before their big day.

Jewelry is usually passed down as the something old, new, or borrowed. The blue can be something like a handkerchief or garter.

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I have just been informed by my mother that she will be handing down my grandmother’s wedding ring set as the ‘something old’. I’m so excited I could cry. I have loved that set since I was a teenager and now it’s MINE!!!!

Now to pick out your jewerly. Typically I prefer the traditional handed down or borrowed jewelry from family or friends. I still have my jewelry from my Jr. Prom (Deb) and it’s in perfect condition. Ask friends and family if they still have jewelry from events they’ve gone to. You might just get lucky. If that isn’t an option, costume jewelry will do in a pinch.

You can choose feaux pearls, crystals, or even colored stones to match any colors you might have in your dress. Pearls can be bright white or cream colored depending on your dress as well.

Costume jewelry stores can be found in several towns and cities in Ireland . Second hand shops, accessory shops, and even larger department stores, like J.C. Penney’s in the States or T.K. Maxx in Ireland, will be sure to have a decent selection.  

Here are a few gorgeous necklace and earring ideas from David’s Bridal, a U.S. based bridal chain.

Accessory style 5645N/white  - Three row pearl collar chocker    Accessory style RH4244N  - Square Crystal Necklace    Accessory style 600/NWhite  - 6MM 16    Accessory style WJE-4709  - Crystal Chandelier Earrings.   Accessory style 2872EP 5023  - Crystal Vine Linear Earrings.   Accessory style 06F1  - Pearl and Crystal Linear Earrings.

Some of the smaller accessory shops in most larger towns in Ireland are; Claire’s Boutique, Accessorize, Pulse Accessories, and Glizti Bitz for starters. The only website I found was for Claire’s but the complete list of address and phone numbers of all fashion accessory stores can be found at GoldenPages.ie.

I’ve also found an amazing discount wedding jewelry website in the U.S. that ships internationally. They have everything from tiaras to foot jewelry. Check out the gorgeous selection at Princess Bride Tiaras. Also, for the greener brides, they show how to select a veil as well as put it on and keep it on. What a great idea for a website. Plus all of their jewelry shimmers and promises the highest quality at an affordable price.

Unfortunately for many people this isn’t a DIY situation. So for those of us who don’t have a hand-me-down or ‘borrowed’ jewelry set, it’s good to know there are a plethora of options out there. Don’t worry about buying the most expensive either. Even though you’re on a budget you can still look like you spent a million bucks. No one will ever know the difference. I wont tell, I promise.

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Wedding flowers that is. Geez get your mind out of the gutter.

When choosing flowers for your wedding you have the option of real or silk. Real flowers last only the day but can be very fragrant. Many people don’t even think about their flowers after their wedding day. For the others that do, silk might be a better option. You can keep your bouquet forever to commemorate your day. Some silk flowers even look exactly like real ones and no one can tell the difference until you touch them. Another advantage to silk flowers is being able to dye your  flowers to match the wedding colors exactly.

Being into natural health and all things holistic, I prefer the real ones myself. I love the feeling of fresh flower petals against my skin and the fragrance that fills the room is so uplifting. As for the price, they’re comparable.

Make sure you know what the reception hall is covering for flowers before you go pricing. In my case the reception hall is taking care of center pieces and the head table. That saves me a lot of money. All I need to buy for is the church, bridal party, and groomsmen. Flowers are in no way cheap but they are a fraction of what other costs for the wedding are.

One option for saving money on flowers is to grow your own. If you’ve got time, and a green thumb, start planting well before the date. Plan the wedding for the time of year your favorite flower is in bloom. This will ensure your flowers will be available and if they don’t grow for you, they will at least be cheaper at a florist because they’re in season. Always have a florist in mind for the possibility that your flowers aren’t ready in time.

Price all florists within a reasonable radius of your wedding. You don’t always have to go with the closest one. You may even want to go directly to a greenhouse that sells their flowers. Lower overhead means less expensive flowers. In town skyrocketing rental rates for shopfronts greatly increases the price. 

A website that sells flowers wholesale is another option. Fifty Flowers (dot) com is one that does just that. You can search through their catalog of flowers by season, type, color, and even made for you flower packages. If you order online you get free shipping as well. I checked the prices too, VERY reasonable. The only con I see to this website is you have to get a load of flowers in the same color. Call to see if you can mix and match if necessary.

Great ideas for how to arrange your own home grown flowers like the florists do can be found on numerous websites.

Websites like:

There is a step by step tutorial is on this About.com interior decorating website. It tells you exactly what to do from picking out the colors to how to store them. Also check this list to find wholesale flowers in your area.

Pictures of some easy DIY center pieces, boutonniere, bouquets etc….

flowers1.jpg  flowers-2.jpg  flowers-3.jpg  flowers-4.jpg flowers-5.jpg  flowers-6.jpg  flowers-7.jpg  flowers-8.jpg

It’s unbelievable how easy it is to make these things.

*Word of hint. If you want to make a flower face a certain direction, tie the bunch close to the heads. To get the bunch to stay together while you wrap it, use twist ties or rubber bands to hold them. Then wrap gorgeous ribbon or material around the stems. You can also incorporate jewelry such as earrings, necklaces, or bracelets for a shimmery effect on the handle of your bouquet.

 **Boutonniere’s are easy. Just take the flower of your choice and some greens, tie with rubber band or twist tie, then wrap with a stem cover. Use a simple pin to fasten to the lapel.

 Get creative and practice. Look everywhere for pictures of arrangements you might want to duplicate. And most importantly, have fun!!

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