Change of Address

Posted by Ashley at 11:00 PM

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hey everybody!
Hate to pull the ole switcheroo on you, but I've moved this blog over to WordPress. So update your feed reader and or bookmarks!

The new address is http://andswedding.wordpress.com.

See you there, and thanks for reading!

The Booq... The Bouq... The Flowers

Posted by Ashley at 6:30 PM

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'm not what you'd call a huge flower girl. Sure, I love when Dustin sends me the occasional bouquet, but I don't plant flowers in the spring, and I don't even have a favorite bud.

Combine this with the price of floral arrangements and the long-distance drive and communication, and you've got yourself a bride that doesn't want a floral bouquet. I need something to hold, because I'll be nervous, and I pick at my cuticles when I'm nervous. I'm not too big on the parasol trend (looks great, just not for my Thanksgiving in the mountains wedding), and if I carried a lantern my arm would get tired and I'd catch my dress on fire. I like the way flowers look, but not so much on the silk flowers.

So I'm opting for something that will cater both to my penchant for vintage goodies and desire for something that at least looks like a traditional floral bouquet: a vintage brooch bouquet.

Feast your eyes on these babies:


I *love* these. They've got the color of a floral bouquet, but I don't have to 1)rely on importing flowers coated with chemicals and a huge carbon footprint, 2) paying for organic, locally grown flowers, 3) working long-distance with a florist, and 4) kick starting anybody's seasonal allergies.

I can customize a bouquet like this pretty easily, and brooches shouldn't be too hard to find. And I love that I'm perhaps saving some things from a landfill, too.

Now I just need to figure out how to put this thing together.

All images from Fantasy Floral Designs

341 Days and Counting

Posted by Ashley at 6:07 PM

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Now that the semester is over (All As, woot woot!), I've got the time to update everyone on the wedding plans.

We'll still be getting married on November 22, 2010 (that's the Monday before Thanksgiving), but we've relocated to Asheville, NC. Planning a Florida wedding just wasn't coming together, and once we started looking at everything Asheville had to offer, things just felt right...kinda like us.

We'll be married by a river at Hidden River events, and we've got our cabin for the week reserved. Hidden River is GORGEOUS. And we're loving Jeanne, the owner. I'm not going to reveal prices here (unless I decide to do a major budget breakdown later), but Hidden River was WAAAAY under budget for us. Like, when we were give the price quote, we thought for sure there was supposed to be a few extra zero's tacked on to the end.

And apparently it's bad luck to reveal your honeymoon suite? I didn't know this. So I won't link to it, but I will tell you we've rented a cabin that's way too big for us. It's got 3 bedrooms, and sleeps 9, so clearly, there's going to be too much extra space for us. But we don't care. Because the cabin we've rented is the only one sitting on 260 acres, so we are COMPLETELY secluded. There's a 1/2 mile path along a mountain stream that leads to a waterfall, and mountain views all around. It's going to be GORGEOUS, even if we do miss the full splendor of the autumn leaves. Now, the cabin itself: Humongo fully stocked kitchen (which is important to us, as we'll be hosting Thanksgiving Dinner for our families on Thursday), really awesome vessel sinks (this is less important, but the girl in me is totally overjoyed), a 4-person tub, and in the Master Bath? A 2-person jacuzzi tub AND A STEAM SHOWER. Yes. I'm convinced I need a steam shower in my life.

Both our venue and honeymoon cabin are reserved, with down payments pending. The next thing we're working on is 1) finding a restaurant for our post-ceremony dinner, cake and toasts; 2) finding a photographer (I think I found one! I just need to contact her); and 3) Finding a wedding dress.

Really, after we get those next three things lined up (and those are fairly big things to line up), there won't be too many big things left to do. I'm excited by this.

Sad.

Posted by Ashley at 12:24 PM

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My family-cat, Socks, died today. He was 13 years old. He pretty much always looked like this.

If Only All Advice Used the Word "Asshole"

Posted by Ashley at 11:36 PM

Monday, June 29, 2009

This is the kind of advice I'm hoping to get for my marriage (via The Slackmistress):

On your wedding day, you're going to get all sorts of advice, but there's always going to be someone who says "don't ever go to bed angry." If you don't go to bed angry, you might not get any sleep. And it's never a good idea to argue when you're exhausted. So I'll say this: when they're acting like an asshole, just remember: they're your asshole. That's the asshole you fell in love with, and you still love. Don't forget that part.

Preparing for David

Posted by Ashley at 8:40 PM

Saturday, June 6, 2009

We've got 17 months until our wedding, but I'm trying on wedding dresses on Monday. Martha says I don't have to start looking for a dress until I reach the 6-8 months out bracket, but since we've decided to elope, I don't have much else to do (find a beach, rent homes, buy Dustin a suit, hm, what else?). I'm taking my mom and mother-in-law with me, along with print-outs of a few dresses I like. But other than knowing where I'll be and at what time, I have no idea what to expect. When I made the appointment, the salesperson said I'd have my privacy invaded (remind me to shave), and that it would take about 2 hours to try on dresses (remind me also to chow down on some granola bars).

After scouring their website, so far, I'm really attracted to lace and A-lines. If it's too poofy and princessy, or if it has too much beading, I almost know I'll hate it. But just for kicks, I'm trying on a super poofy one, just to have the picture. I can be a cupcake bride, at least for 10 minutes!

These have been more my speed, though, in no particular order, though I do think the second one and last one is my favorite so far:






This is either going to be awesome or tortuous, but I'll post pictures either way.
\

A New Plan, and the Comfort That Comes With It.

Posted by Ashley at 10:14 PM

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dustin and I have been thinking about our wedding since the day after we got engaged (okay, so it's been mostly me thinking about our wedding--Dustin's excited to get married, but he pretty much doesn't care what color flowers he'll wear in his boutonniere).

Our first thought was to have a mostly traditional wedding in our hometown--wedding, reception, with cake and a first dance and photographer. But the more we got into planning, the more research we did, the less settled we felt about our plans. As much as we were excited to have a hometown wedding, with all of our friends and family in attendance, nothing felt right. We couldn't justify spending the money it would take to create the wedding we wanted. We didn't feel right limiting some family and friends to save money, especially when so many lived in our hometown. We couldn't decide on venues, on vendors, on how we would accomodate out of town guests when we would be out of town guests, too.

So we've changed our plans. We've decided to elope, immediate family in tow. At first, Dustin was worried that I would regret not having a traditional wedding. I was worried that Dustin would miss having all his fraternity brothers, WoW friends, and fellow Geek Squad Agents in attendance. But once we talked it through, we realized that as much we love our extended family and friends, there just isn't a way we can pay for a wedding that would accommodate them all.

So instead, we're taking our parents, grandparents, and siblings to a beach in Florida, where we'll spend Thanksgiving week in rented beach homes. We'll get married early in the week (who says weddings have to be on Saturday when it's just your family?), and while I'm sure we'll eat dinner together that evening at a nice restaurant, our "reception" will be the Thanksgiving dinner our newly combined family shares together. Other than getting married, that's what I'm most looking forward to. Thanksgiving has always been our favorite holiday, and I can't think of a more perfect way to celebrate our marriage (wow, that sounds good to my ears).

We've had this plan for about a week now, and already, we feel so much more comfortable with our wedding. There isn't the nervousness or the doubt. We feel good knowing our families will be there, and that we can treat them (and ourselves!) not to a day of stress, but a week of vacation. We feel good knowing that we're saving money to pay off our student loans and save for our first home. We finally feel like this is the wedding we should be having.

Words of Wisdom

Posted by Ashley at 11:44 PM

Friday, May 1, 2009

from a friend of Dustin's:

"Being married is much more important than getting married."

Hear, hear. (Or is it 'here, here.?")

School Days Inspiration

Posted by Ashley at 7:03 PM

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I've always been skeptical about Martha Stewart anything, but I signed up for her Weddings site, and I'm so glad I did!! She features such gorgeous weddings, and today, I found the most perfect little wedding. Minhee and Truman had so many great details, and while Dustin and I are going for more of a literary styled bash, "school days" touches fit into that so well.

All images below were found on MarthaStewart.com, and are not my property. Thanks for sharing the wedding love.

I just love this photo of the bride and groom--so perfect, especially since they met in 4th grade! Dustin and I met in a Shakespeare class, so you can see why I'd be drawn to these kinds of touches.

This is their invitation suite. From MS: "In keeping with the school theme, letterpress invitations, maps and reply cards were printed on vintage notebook paper by Minhee's company, Paper + Cup. Attendance reports asked guests to indicate who was coming. All the components slipped inside a small manilla folder printed with the couple's names and address label peek through the outer envelope." We won't have the funds to pull together such a large, detailed suite, but we've got a DIY surprise (along this same idea) that will knock your geeky socks off. We promise!

Um, LOVE THIS SHOT! A requisite posed shot of the bridal party without being awkward. So completely framable and playful!

And don't you just love their seating card table? I was already planning to use apples as my "seating card," but instead of stickers and graph paper like this:
I'm planning on using tipped pins to attach scraps of paper--reminiscent of those impromptu bookmarks and notes Dustin and I passed in class.


And how's this for a guestbook idea, huh? Guests all scribbled on the flippable chalkboard, had a polaroid snapped of them in front of their message (it's like the coolest photobooth idea, ever!!!!), and placed it in a vintage accountant's ledger:
I mean, how PERFECT is that idea? Too bad the Polaroid is no more. I wonder if someone will make a Polaroid v2.0. (Please???)

Okay, last image, I promise. I just had to share their favors! School supplies in a brown paper bag. Practical and cost effective:


I am completely in love with this wedding. A lot of the details would need to be tweaked--we'd mature some things from 4th grade to classic literature to better reflect who we are as a couple, but considering that we met in school, and are both going to be educators (Dustin as a high school teacher, myself eventually as an American literature professor), incorporating our passions into our wedding decor just seems so natural and easy.

I absolutely LOVE it when I run across a wedding that is just so full of inspiration--but this one has definitely been the one closest to what I'm envisioning (with rustic BBQ and beer currents thrown in!).

Weddings are not Contests.

Posted by Ashley at 10:53 AM

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I read a lot of wedding planning blogs. I'm a regular reader of OffBeatBride.com, and I've subscribed to Martha Stewart's Weddings and The Knot. I occasionally flip through wedding magazines in drugstores, and I've got the planning books.

There are a lot of people out there who have ideas about what weddings should be like. And I'm not sure I agree with most of them.

For instance: today, I read a blog post about engagement rings. I won't mention the source (though it's a widely known one), but the author was talking about the recommended budget for the engagement ring (apparently, it should cost the equivalent of two month's salary). The author was linking to another source, but included on the blog were "charts" of engagement rings. In one box, all the rings a graphic designer could afford, in another, all the rings a lifeguard could afford.

This seems absolutely ridiculous to me. When I knew Dustin was looking at rings, I begged him not to spend too much. He told me how much he spent, but I can't remember the cost! And I don't care to. I just know that Dustin picked out the ring he thought I would love, he gave it to me out of love as a symbol of our love, and the cost wasn't his main concern. When I look at my ring, I'm certainly not thinking about how much he spent on it, or whether or not he was over or under the so-called "two-month" rule. I just know I love my ring, and I love him more.

A couple of weeks ago, another blogger was writing about her problems with nailing down a specific place to honeymoon. At first, I thought I'd be able to relate to this person--Dustin and I are wavering between Germany, Asheville NC, Hawaii, Tahiti, London, and Maine for our honeymoon--and we have new ideas every week it seems. But our indecision is coming from our desire to travel everywhere, and only having 1-2 weeks and a limited budget to do so. This person was debating traveling somewhere because her curly hair might look frizzy in a humid climate.

Now, I'm not judging this blogger--but something has obviously gotten in the way of seeing her honeymoon clearly. Some message about weddings and honeymoon has gotten to her, and it's getting in the way of thinking about a honeymoon as what it should be--a time of togetherness, a time of rest, a time to be in love.

A few years ago, while a friend of mine was planning her wedding, she kept repeating that she wanted her wedding to be the one that people compared all other weddings to. She wanted hers to be the best, the most fun, the one everyone wanted all other weddings to be like.

So often, all the blogs and magazines, and ridiculous TV shows tell us that weddings have to be fairytales. Honeymoons are supposed to be the most romantic week of your life. I'm not a cynic, but I realize that there will probably be a drunk person at my reception. The hem of my dress will get dirty, and the caterer might be late with cold food. In all likelihood, I am going to spill food all over myself. On my honeymoon, I'm going to be too tired to have a wedding night of fireworks, the drinks we're served will give me gas, and we're going to wake up with terrible morning breath. I'm not expecting perfection. I hope I can do as I do every day, and laugh at life's foibles, enjoying them.

Sure, Dustin and I are planning for a wedding that most people won't see as immediately different from all other weddings. We're going to have a first dance, with food and drinks, and probably favors. We're having to consider issues like finances and practicality. But what I hope Dustin and I can achieve with our wedding is to keep it true to us. I hope we don't let our wedding planning get in the way of what it really is--a celebration of our comittment to loving each other. I certainly hope that I'm not using my wedding as a marker of our paychecks, or a popularity contest, or anything else that isn't about celebrating who we are together.

The Birdcage

Posted by Ashley at 7:49 PM

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'm still smitten, even though I'm not entirely sure it looks right. I definitely need to do something different with my hair, though. (Come to think of it, I've had the same haircut of varying lengths since 7th grade.)


This was the first time I saw the birdcage in person--I still love it. You can't see it very well, but the bow is made of an ivory fabric, that's either been wrapped around a stiff mold, or been starched. It's not bendable at all. The netting is ivory, too, and it's a double layer. I'm wondering if I can gently remove a layer--it was fine to see through, but I'd like my face to be a little more visible in any pictures (I am a HAM!).

Speaking of pictures, our photo shoot with Ellie at Bird In Hand was SO MUCH FUN! Ellie is super nice, incredibly funny, and so warm! Dustin and I aren't what you'd call photogenic, but she really knows how to make people feel comfortable (lots of kissing, anyone?). I can't wait to see what she did with us; if the pictures she took even represent a fraction of the fun we had, they're going to be so great.

We'd Look Pretty In This...

Posted by Ashley at 8:01 PM

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

For our upcoming photography with Ellie at Bird In Hand! (Can you tell I'm just a little bit excited about this? I can't stop thinking about it!!!)

Here's my dream outfit (we don't dream big over here in student loan land...):
Dream Photo Outfit
Dream Photo Outfit - by snickerdoodle564 on Polyvore.com
Both tops are from Old Navy, the jeans could be (although I want a darker wash), and I've already got the shoes! I seriously doubt I'll buy a bag (though I've been craving a brightly colored hobo since last spring), and I'll only buy jewelry if it's stupid cheap. Is The Body Shop still open in the Augusta Mall? And do they still sell their jewelry for 3 for $12 or whatever it was?

This is Dustin's "dream" outfit. Actually, I put it together, as I'm pretty sure Dustin would show up any way I asked him to. He's not big on the fashion.

D's Photo Outfit
D's Photo Outfit - by snickerdoodle564 on Polyvore.com

Jeans could be from Old Navy (Dustin, you need new jeans. Buy them). The shirt is, too. He's got the Fossil watch already, and the leather flip flops are from American Eagle. Dustin's been wearing the same pair of Corona flip flops that he bought at Walmart for $5 since I met him in the Spring of 2006. They are worn thin and it is way past time for some newer, a bit less product-placement-y ones.

Would someone like to send me an Old Navy gift card? :D

Huzzah!

Posted by Ashley at 11:03 PM

Friday, February 20, 2009

So on Valentine's Day, one of the photographers we're looking at using for our wedding (and engagement and day-after photos) hosted a contest for lovebirds! Ellie at Bird in Hand Photography gave away free photography...to us! If you'd to further be exposed to my and Dustin's super-cheeze, you can read our entry by going here.

We're so excited! I don't really know the details yet (other than I'll have to wait until I'm actually back in Augusta--three more weeks!), but we are really pumped about meeting Ellie, and working with her. She's got so many great couples in her portfolio; we're honored that we can be photographed by such a talent.

Flowers--Valentine's Day and Otherwise

Posted by Ashley at 11:33 PM

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I've been paying a lot more attention to flowers lately. When Dustin and I first started dating, I proclaimed that I hated cut flowers, and he was never to send me any. He didn't, for a long time, until he realized I was bluffing, and I really do love flowers, no matter how much I'd originally protested.

His first bouquet was yellow and white flowers in a smiley face mug. He's sent a few since, and I've dried a rose from every bouquet he's sent (they've all had roses in them, don't think he planned it that way...), and I have them saved in an antique vase my grandparents gave me.
On Thursday, I got two bouquets from him, and they are so lovely I have to share!






See? Told you they were lovely. They're even better in real life. (Okay, babe, I admit, I love having flowers sent to me from you!)

Getting these bouquets made me think a little harder about my own wedding flowers. My wedding florals are nothing I want to worry about. I was originally planning on growing my own wildflower mix and using those (which would have gone so well with the invitations we're looking at!), but I don't want to trust my growing skillz with my wedding bouquet. I can handle pansies and decorative cabbage all right, but I won't get to try my luck with anything harder until mid-March (I'm going to try to grow my own veggies!).

So instead, I'm thinking of asking our wedding guests to make my bouquet. I love the idea of guests bringing a flower or stick of rosemary from their garden and then tying them all together right before the ceremony. I think it will be a great way to involve my guests in my wedding--something they don't often get to do. How many times have you gone to a wedding and felt completely invisible?

As far as the wedding party's florals, I'm totally considering DIY. There are tons of tutorials out there, and I don't want anything fancy anyway. I'm very willing to try my hand at pulling together some Farmer's Market or grocery store flowers into some simple bouquets and boutinierres. It would be a big costsaver, especially since our centerpieces aren't going to be florals!!

First Wedding Item!

Posted by Ashley at 5:15 PM

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

So I'm the proud owner of the first item for our wedding. Never mind that I haven't held it, or seen it in public, or tried it on, it's the first thing we've got for our wedding.

My mom found it at an estate sale. It was the last of the hats--all the others were sold in bulk, and this one was forgotten! It wasn't stored in a hat box, so the lace is a little crushed, but it just needs reshaping. The bow is perfect and still clean. I was originally going to go with a miniature pillbox hat with blusher veil attached, but I'm loving this one even more! I can't wait to couple it with the Sears-Roebuck dress I am probably going to have made!


My New Favorite Thing

Posted by Ashley at 2:36 PM

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dustin and I went to Atlanta for a day trip yesterday, and we stopped by the Lenox Mall to go to the Apple store there (a total disappointment, btw). I went into Anthropologie for the first time, and be still my fluttering heart, it is now my favorite place *ever.* I can't afford a single item there, but I love their home decor stuff. The most amazing little drawer pulls, stoneware, adorable aprons, romantic and quirky bathroom things--I could spend hours fantasizing about the house Dustin and I will one day put together.

And then there's this thing:
A birdcage gazebo decorated with botanical prints and stacks upon stacks upon stacks of haphazardly stacked books. I am besotted.

Reception Ideas

Posted by Ashley at 12:07 PM

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A few ideas, in pictures:


BBQ and all the fixins;


a huge variety of beers served in these galvanized babies;

and a candy bar and cake for dessert.




It's 2009!

Posted by Ashley at 9:28 AM

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Which means we're getting married NEXT year! Please ignore that we still have 23 months left; "next year" sounds so much better. Not to be anticlimactic, but I probably won't start the serious planning until next January. My ideas are so fluid right now, it would be a bad idea to start serious planning--and paying deposits--too soon. I do, however, have a few things I want to get done this year. And thus, I give to you, my 2009 Wedding Resolutions:

  • ASAP: Work with AzurBadger for 8-bit Save the Dates (Work on less creative STD's for uptight family?)
  • Start looking at Wedding/Reception Venues; Make comparison chart w/ photos of venues
  • August-Dec/Jan: Book Venues
  • July-Dec (absolutely not later than December): Book Honeymoon; check site frequently for booking updates
  • Explore further photographer options; Make comparison chart
  • May-August: Meet, Interview, Review Portfolios of Photographers
  • October or November: Take Engagement Photos
  • Continue to improve living healthily
  • Continue to gather ideas and inspiration for smaller details