Stina’s Bridal Shower

So you must think I’d  forgotten my promise to share all the wonderful details from my brother’s wedding. Well, I hope you haven’t lost interest, because I am finally ready to dole out the details.

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I arrived late on Friday night July 26th after a day of airport travels. The next day was Stina’s Bridal Shower. That morning was spent catching up with my mom while enjoying some much needed coffee and packing presents for the shower.

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Now before I share about the shower, let me answer one question: How do you creatively gift-give for a bridal shower on a budget /when you are traveling across country? 

Answer: Instead of picking off the registry, I choose to create several smaller items.

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Item 1: I found a basic pictured frame at Target for less than 10 dollars and filled it with a photo from my brother’s proposal (printed at a local pharmacy)

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and their engagement announcement/save the date card.

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With a little help from double stick tape and card stock it all came together wonderfully. Since I was traveling via three different planes, I wrapped the glass frame in some bubble wrap and layered it between a few shirts in my luggage. Total cost: 12 dollars

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Item 2: Also from Target , in the 1 dollar section I found a small makeup bag/pouch which I filled with relax/spa goodies.

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Wedding planning can be so stressful so I thought: why not pack a little pick-me up? I found a sleep mask for 2 dollars, a sample size stress relief lotion from Bath and Body Works worth probably 2/3 dollars.

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Then I added in some Yogi detox and stress relief tea I already had around the house. Last touch was a hand written coupon for 2 free massages with an expiration date of the day after the wedding. Total cost: 5 to 6 dollars

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Item 3: I found a old fashioned metal recipe tin decorated with red and yellow daises on Etsy for 13 dollars.

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My mom and I partnered up to fill the tin with recipes that we know my brother likes. Total cost: 20 dollars including shipping (it can cost less if it’s a joint gift with other family members).

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Now to the shower: That evening we piled into cars with all the presents and drove to the Moseng’s family church. The ladies of the church had decorated the room in shades of pink and yellow.

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Chairs were lined up to face a windowed wall were a couch was centered for the guest of honor. Tea cups full of lemon drops sat on side tables covered in doilies and mason jars filled with fresh flowers.

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A gift table was stationed on the right and a drink station on the left serving tea, and two types of lemonade.

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The fun started with a game in which the engaged women in the room had to try to put makeup on Stina’s flower girls while blindfolded. The rest of the women verbally direct the girls as to where to put the makeup.

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Following this, a women of the church shared a devotional and prayed for Stina. Then all women  were given the chance to share advice about marriage while Stina’s sister as quickly as possible wrote the words of wisdom down.

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After this everyone took a break to enjoy vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cake, and fruit salad.

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Both Moms enjoying the shower

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While everyone ate, Stina began to open gifts. A system was formed: her sister would write down the gifts, the flower girls would hand me the ribbons to make the practice/rehearsal bouquet, then the mothers collected the gifts or cards.

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Stina received many wonderful gifts, tea set from her grandmother, plenty of cooking supplies, and from my mother as she did with me (see Happy Mother’s Day) a homemade quilt in floral blues, yellows, and greens.

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Three generations

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It was a great start to a week of wedding events and most of all Stina enjoyed every moment of it.

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My ribbon bouquet “masterpiece”

25 is Golden

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Today June 25th I turn 25, so today is my golden birthday.  And no I do not have any “gold” themed b-day plans. So what am I doing today?

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Well this past weekend we celebrated with a day trip to Ithaca (which I will share later ). As for today? I plan to take a walk to the library, pick up a book on my long book list, stop by  Walker Cake Co. downtown and get a b-day treat (probably a cupcake). Then I will head to Soul full cup to enjoy a cup of caffeine and a good read.

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Growing up, when it was our birthday we would open up our cards and display them on the mantel above the fireplace for a few weeks. Well right now we do not have a fireplace 😦 . But I have a solution. Awhile ago my parent’s bought me a metal picture holder. Held up by two small nails on either ends, pictures can be held between two metal loops and pinched  in place. When we moved to New York , I decided to use this holder to display cards, pictures, announcements, and invitations much as a fireplace mantel would.

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Displaying all of Luke’s B-day cards in March

In seasons where there are no celebrations, I use the space to display advice cards from my bridal shower. At my bridal shower, guests were given time to write on colorful card stock advice for my marriage. They were all handed  to me at the end of the day some signed, some not. So I thought as a nice reminder, I would display these words of wisdom from my female friends and relatives. In the middle I place one of the Christmas/thank you cards we gave out this past year (for more see: invites and thank you cards: communicating with your guests).

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Displaying advice cards from my bridal shower

Since we have moved this picture/card holder’s items have changed many times, displaying Christmas cards, thank you cards, graduation announcements, save the dates, and wedding invitations. It is a way to stay connected to family and friends, to remember what is going on in their lives, and to be encouraged they are aware of ours no matter how far away we are.

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Displaying my b-day cards as well as my bro’s grad announcement, save the date, and wedding invite

What are you favorite b-day activities or treats?

What do you do with cards and announcements?

Happy Mother’s Day

We are spending this Mother’s day sleeping off last nights travels back to New York. We had a wonderful time with family out in Oregon. We wish we could spend mother’s day with our moms but I think we did the next best thing by seeing them the week before.

Speaking of moms-I’ve got great ones. That being that I include both my mother and my mother-in-law. I am blessed to be able to celebrate two amazing women this year 🙂

Mom 2 aka my mother-in-law
Mom 2 aka my mother-in-law
My mom
My mom

I could write forever about my moms but I think for this year, continuing on the wedding season theme, I will share a story:

My bridal shower was on a hot sunny September day this past fall in SoCal. As my mom and I packed gifts in the car from those who couldn’t come, in also went a big black and white rose print bag which I couldn’t place. It was from my mom. She told me I would have no clue what it was, which of course made me so curious I couldn’t wait to open it at the shower.

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After some fun games, great treats, and catching up with my female friends and family it was finally gift-time. There were some great surprises, sentimental touches, and awesome picks from our registry. But nothing prepared me for what was in that rose printed bag.

I looked at the card : “something from home to take with you no matter where you live”. I pulled the heavy bag onto my lap, quickly tore out the tissue paper and began to pull out a red and white quilt pattern. I asked my mom: “Did you make a tree skirt for me or is this yours?” See my mom had been taking quilting classes for the past six months. In that time she had made a Christmas and Thanksgiving wall hanging and a beautiful tree skirt. So my first thought was that she was either giving away her tree skirt or she had made one for me.

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Then she encouraged me to pull the whole thing out. I was shocked as she and my grandmother helped me unfold a complete queen size quilt all in red and white to match my beautiful red headboard (see sleep after marriage ).

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As I admired the details she told me the story: My mom had been working on this since the beginning of her quilting class, the second she knew I was engaged. She casually asked me to look at some of her quilting magazines and noticed me eyeing the  red and white pattern with the 8 point stars. She quickly took the pattern, went to the store and got started.

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All those other quilting projects were cover ups for her real masterpiece. The many annoying times she asked when I was going to be home or how long I’d be gone was so she knew when she could secretly sew the quilt.  This gift was gorgeous, totally unexpected, and I know my mom put hard work into it. The pattern was for intermediate to advance quilters but she did it anyways. That’s my mom for you.

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It took on even more significance when we found out we were moving to the East Coast. I would still have this beautiful piece  from my mom that would remind me of home. Through the winter my mom’s cotton quilt has sat folded on top of the cedar chest in our bedroom.

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Now that it is spring we have moved it to the bed.

So Happy Mother’s day Mom! And thank you for the hours of prayer stitched into each piece of this quilt-I love you.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Who to choose for your bridal party?

The people in your bridal party are there to support you, help you prepare for and celebrate in your marriage. Too often though bridal parties cause conflict, drama, and stress for the engaged couple. It all comes down to who you choose to be in your bridal party. (And when I say bridal party I am speaking bridesmaids and groomsmen!)

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Here are 3 things you should know:

1a Know your expectations

Planning a wedding puts the bridal party and the future bride/ groom under a lot of pressure. Before choosing your bridal party, consider who is up for the challenge. Only you know what responsibilities and expectations you hope to delegate to your party. Ask yourself:

Do I want them to help with the invitations? Dress shopping? Registry?

What type of “day of” events do I hope they will take care of?

Do I want them to help organize my schedule?

I would suggest not having more than a few (1/2 ) bridesmaids/groomsmen that live far away. This is especially true for bridesmaids. You need some people  less than 4/6 hours away to help plan a bridal shower and be available to meet with you face-to-face.

My in-state support team : first cousin and college roommate
My in-state support team : first cousin and maid of honor my college roommate

Still do not dismiss your out-of-staters. Know when they can come into town for the wedding and let them help the week-of. Delegate things to them you know they can do long distance or that you won’t need until the week-of. They want to help even if they are not close.

Luke and his best-man who lives in Luke's home state of OR
Luke and his best-man who lives in Luke’s home state of OR
My matron-of-honor who lives in the state of  WA where I went to college
My matron-of-honor who lives in the state of WA

1b Know your values

I have heard several couples less than five years into their marriage share they are no longer in contact with their bridal party. If you are a young couple, you have a lot of change down the road: moves, careers, children, all of this can cause separation from those you are close to when you get married.

So think about:

– In 10 years will I still be in contact with my wedding party? Will that matter to me?

-Is it important that my future kids know who they are/or that they are involved in their lives?

-Why do I want them standing next to me at the wedding and in my family pictures?

It may be old fashion, but I see the bridal party as literally standing with you in agreement of your marriage. They are the people who I can go to or them to me as accountability to the promise I made on my wedding day. I want my future children to either know who they are or I will be able to quickly tell them their importance in my life.

My younger Engaged! brother and my first  cousin
My younger Engaged! brother and my first cousin

I would encourage you to include family in your bridal party. Even if you move far away, they will be around for holidays. There is a guarantee you children will know their aunts, uncles, your cousins etc. Also, if they grew up with you, they know your values, and expectations pretty well.

2. Know their personalities and character

A lot of problems and drama occur because the bride or groom do not want to hurt someone’s feelings by not choosing them to be in the wedding.  But often friendships end after a wedding because of  bridesmaid/groomsmen conflicts. You want people who are truly responsible and capable of being there for you in this important and stressful time.

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So mull over this:

-Are they encouragers/can they tell when I need help or a break?

-Are they trustworthy/reliable/dependable/on time?

-Will they be respectful of my family and work well with the other bridal party members? (AKA Would grandma like them?)

-Are they apt to push their wants on my wedding? Or be impolite in expressing their dislike for my plans?

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It is a privilege to be asked to participate in planning and/or being in someone’s wedding. The person has probably earned a special place in your life, gained your trust and respect. If you choose someone who is unreliable, disrespectful, or inappropriate then you will find yourself with unnecessary drama instead of encouraging help.

3.Know their experience and talents

Even if the people you are considering for your bridal party understand your expectations, are mature, and willing to help they may not know what to do. Once again, if you are a young couple then it is likely that your peers are not married, have not been in a lot of weddings, and very possibly have not been to many weddings. You may be surprised how many people don’t know what is included in wedding planning, or typical groomsmen/bridesmaid responsibilities.

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Consider this:

-Have they ever been in a wedding before? Have they been to a wedding before?

(If no then ask: are they quick learners?)

-Are they creative and independent?

-Are they flexible and organized?

I would highly suggest choosing at least one married matron of honor/bridesmaid. Having one or two people in your wedding party who have “been there done that” is helpful. They have perspective, experience, and can help you prioritize. They will know what you are going through and are less apt to project their thoughts on your wedding.

The best man is married and my brother and the other groomsmen are both engaged
The best man is married and my brother and the other groomsmen are both engaged

Answer these questions honestly. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in planning for the wedding and choose people who are strong in your areas of weakness. But be realistic, no one is perfect.  Consider these questions and suggestions and you will be on your way to building a strong support team!

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Wedding Season has Begun!

I choice to take a mini-spring-break from blogging because I haven’t felt much like writing about our real-life stuff right now. Were are in the middle of some car drama and I’m in the up’s and downs of job searching. (And yes I’ll share that all with you . . . eventually).

But let’s change topics shall we?

A week ago when I was in the middle of a hectic run-around I received a very anticipated phone call. So I pulled my Walmart grocery cart to a traffic free zone and answering my phone. It was my brother  sharing the good news that he and his girlfriend had just gotten engaged!  Everyone knew it would happen very soon and we are all thrilled.

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Pacific City OR

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Thinking about their wedding plans I began to look back on some of the details of my own wedding almost 6 months ago. I didn’t pintrest my way through my engagement or blog it out. But knowing at least 8 (probably closer to 10) couples who got engaged so far this year I thought: maybe I should take sometime to share advice and details from my wedding? Maybe it will spark some creativity for those planning their weddings?

As we head into this wedding season I’ll be dispersing some details and advice blogs from a bride who has been there done that. (I think 6 months is long enough to reflect back but not so long ago that I’ve forgotten the little things.)

So for all of my engaged couples-enjoy! And for my single friends these blogs may be good to ear-mark for that future special day down the road. Or if you are not one of those single “one day, day-dreamer” types remember you’ll probably be involved in a friend or family member’s wedding in the next 5 years. Even if you were at my wedding you may be surprised by some of the sentimental small details you probably didn’t know about.

Here are some topics to look forward to:

Who to choose for the bridal party?

Special Guests: how to care for kids, grandparents, and those with allergies

4 month engagement- a timeline and some big helps

Favors from friends :a great way to $ave

The Sentimental Personal details

No ring bearer? No problem

Things to double check with DJ/MC/Video/photographer

Advice for the Bride on her big day

Tips for Bridal Party including: when planning a bridal shower/ Bachelor(ette) party

Invitations, Thank you cards, and Gratuity

And that is not all! (Yes I went on a brainstorming craze). What do you think? And don’t worry tons of pics from my wedding and updates on the bro’s wedding plans will be shared along the way!

Wedding Season had Begun!