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Bride-chilla, not Bride-zilla! [wedding]

2 Feb

Get it? Like a chinchilla – cute and fluffy. Or I suppose you could also go the “chill” route, as in calm & collected. Either way, this is what I strive to be. Bride-chilla.

If you’ve ever been a bridesmaid, I’m sure you were told by a completely oblivious bride that the bubblegum pink poof-ball she had selected for your trip down the aisle was “just so pretty!” and that “you could totally wear it again!”.  You wouldn’t dare correct her, for fear of losing your head – Queen of Hearts style.  If you haven’t, count your blessings.  I’m one of the lucky few that hasn’t personally experienced this phenomenon, but I was told a first-hand recounting of such a situation that gave me nightmares for weeks.

I am determined. DETERMINED to never be that bride.  I want my wedding to be fun for everyone involved – especially the people we are closest to and have asked to  be a PART of the event.  Now, this does not, in any way, mean that I’m willing to let go of my personal preferences for my wedding in hopes of pleasing everyone; it is still my wedding, after all.  I simply want to give my lovely bridesmaids a bit of control over what they get out of the $150 or so they will fork out for dresses.  That’s why, when I had a stroke of genius, I pounced…like a chinchilla…and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

CUSTOM.Bridesmaid.Dresses. = BRILLIANT. Like a brand new light bulb in my brain.

None of those all-look-the-same, shiny-satin, ill-fitting dresses for those special women in my life. NO sir, because I have a friend. A friend named Lindsey.

Lindsey is the brilliant (and genuinely awesome) owner  of an Etsy shop called Skimpily Clawd. You can also check out her Facebook page here.  She has designed gorgeous retro and pinup-style dresses that make me drool on pretty much a daily basis. I’ve wanted a custom dress by Lindsey since the day she opened that shop, I just never had the money or a legitimate reason to wear such a special dress.  I figured maybe my bridesmaids would be in the same boat, so I got a hold of her to start working out details of commissioning 6 bridesmaid dresses (and a rehearsal dinner dress for myself…cuz I finally can) in a matter of 18 months.

The plan is for me and Lindsey to band together to select 4 or 5 different dress patterns from places like Simplicity or Vogue Patterns to lighten her work load – not having to do the basic design of the dress’s structure will be incredibly time-saving.  Elements from multiple different dress patterns can likely be combined to make exactly what the girls want – as long as the girl is willing to pay for the extra labor it takes to mix n’ match.  Doing things this way will ensure that each girl goes home with a dress that she finds flattering to her figure and that she will WANT to wear again and again.

The only thing my girls won’t have control over will be the fabric. Fabric choices will be left up to me and Lindsey (me to coordinate with the rest of my wedding aesthetics, and Lindsey for ease of construction).  I’m thinking about finding a great print that falls into my color story & wedding theme.  I’ve been scouring Spoonflower for prints, and have found a number that I REALLY love. Unfortunately, I was informed by the very courteous, aforementioned designer that the price of these fabrics would push the cost of each dress to the $200+ category. I just can’t do that to girls who work so hard for what money they do have.  So, the hunt for the perfect print at the perfect price continues…

Just for funsies, here’s a few of the dress patterns I’m a huge fan of. My dresses need to be light and breezy since I’m getting married outside in JULY.

Hopefully you can see the cohesive elements – flowy ruffles and breezy fabrics with a fun, bold print… that’s where we’re headed.  I tried to pick out silhouettes that can flatter a variety of body types and personal styles.  How do you think I did?  Has anybody else gone the custom route with their bridesmaid dresses? Any tips? I’d love to hear from you!! I’ll be sure to update as soon as we’ve got some more details worked out!




Venue Selection [wedding]

28 Jan

I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but Iowa isn’t exactly a hub for gorgeous event venues.  Of course we’ve got a couple nice hotels nearby – two Marriott’s and a Hyatt. There’s also a few stand-alone venues that specialize in the all-inclusive wedding or two.  However, these options simply don’t appeal to me.  Whether due to price or lack of character in the space, there’s no way I can get married in any of these places. Thus, the hunt began early for the perfect wedding venue (ceremony to be held outdoors, reception nearby under cover of some sort)…

Before we dive right in, let’s back up a little.

Shortly after I turned 21, my parents and I visited the Fireside Winery in Marengo, IA. It’s about 35 minutes from home and it was absolutely breathtaking. I knew then and there that I wanted to marry the love of my life in that space…some day. So, when my main man popped the question (finally) on 11/11/11, I immediately went to the winery’s website, downloaded their rental agreement, and contacted the events manager to schedule a visit.

It wasn’t until later that evening, while reading through the rental agreement, that I really started to re-think my decision.  I saw so many restrictions and downfalls – no sparklers, no hard liquor, no rice throwing, maximum capacity of 120 people, and to top it all off the manager called back to inform me that they would not be holding weddings on Saturdays any longer.  I was crushed.

I’m sure we could have worked around all of the restrictions the way most people would, but I have a certain vision for my wedding. This is something I’m only planning to do once in my life and I want to make sure that there are no regrets when it’s all said and done. SO, the search continued.

The more time I spent on Pinterest, the more I realized EXACTLY what kind of wedding I want to have – something vintage, with plenty of romanticism and elegance – a vintage barn wedding… which is apparently all the rage these days.  Here’s a couple examples of the direction we’re headed here:

Martha Stewart Weddings

Martha Stewart Weddings

Barn Wedding

These are obviously only two of hundreds of inspiration photos I have pinned so far, but they speak the most to the luxe aesthetic I’m aiming for.

My mother and I contacted the manager of the barn to set up a time to visit and put down a deposit, if we chose. Well, to make an incredibly long story short: we visited, I gushed, I signed, mom paid, and I HAVE A WEDDING DATE! haha. I’m not excited at all, can you tell?

Here’s a few pictures of the barn’s great bones that I pulled from their sharepoint:


Facing toward Stage area (the village mural isn’t normally there)

Facing towards the main entrance

Since I’m in a photo-happy mood, here are a couple I found in my Google image search – so you can imagine it with decorations:

Festhalle Barn Wedding

Style Me Pretty

Sb Photography

What do you think? Those decorations could turn out to be way too far out of our budget, but luckily I read DIY blogs like my life depends on it – so, in the words of Tim Gunn, I’ll have to make it work!

I’d love to hear any feedback on barn weddings, wedding planning, Iowa weddings… life… you know, whatever! I’m so new at all of this I’ll take all the pointers I can get!



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