Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dress Options - 2

Have been looking around online at dresses, as I'm yet to go shopping or meet with a dress maker, so have been looking for inspiration.

Also I'm still trying to decide if I want a dress I can wear again (I love that Sherry of Young House Love dyed her wedding dress to wear again) or if happy to have it as a one-off, and also if I want a 'bridey bridey' dress or something really casual.  Maybe a compromise is one that can be changed afterwards?

As you can tell I'm totally unsure on any aspect of the dress!

Keep in mind I'll be size 16-18 for the day am a tad busty and about 5'5" - 5'6", so itsy mitsy dresses worn by waifs just aren't gonna cut it.  These are some of the ones I'm liking at the moment, putting together a portfolio of sorts, to take with me when I eventually go meet with someone, to see if any of them are realistically 'do-able' for me & my bod.

Given it's going to be the middle of Winter, I'll probably wear a stoll (stole?) or similar, which also helps hide the upper arms, not a fave body part!
Gorgeous (photo source)
This is the style I've liked from the start (photo source)

Casual yet still bridey, and like the flouncy capped shoulders (photo from google search oops)
Love this - Kyra Sedgwick in Vera Wang at 2010 SAGs (photo source)
Gorgeous - but in ivory - Christina Applegate in Roberto Cavalli at 2010 SAGs (photo source)
I'm loving the Christina Applegate one at the moment!

With the big day less than 4 months away I really do need to get cracking on the dress!!  If anyone knows of any great (and not overly expensive) dress makers in the Newcastle/Hunter Valley/even Hills district of Sydney, feel free to let me know!!!  (

I've definitely got a crush on the Christina dress, just found the view of the back.

Just lovely

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Honeymoon booked - Yay!

After much back & forth with travel agents, flicking through way too many magazines and scrolling through hundreds of websites, we've booked our Honeymoon, yay!

We're flying Air Vanuatu

Our Honeymoon Airline :)
Staying 10 nights at Erakor Island Resort
Erakor Island Resort
We have booked direct with both, we picked out the package we wanted, and went to Flight Centre with the flight & accomm we wanted, and were quoted one price, I went home and checked prices myself, and booking direct would save us $800, so no brainer, I've booked direct!

And the bonus, with the flights, our reservations are held, but we don't have to pay until this Friday, which isn't a huge saving, but our VISA gets paid in full on Thursday, so we'll have room to put it on the VISA, leaving that $1,100 in our offset another month.

The bigger bonus is booking direct with Erakor we only have to pay a $250 deposit, then the balance a month before we arrive, with Flight Centre they wanted everything paid for by 28 April!  So that's 2 months of the honeymoon $ in our offset, not in Flight Centre's kitty.

And the girl at Erikor I've been emailing, Abi, has been so helpful, I think it's so much more personal to have the 1 on 1 contact, rather than via a travel agent.

Yay on all fronts, very excited!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Countdown - 4 months!

Wow only 4 months to go!  Time is flying, this past month has gone supersonic speed!

Our to do list is getting done:

  • Engagement Ring - picked up 2 weeks ago, love love love it, going to get our wedding bands from same jeweller (25% minimum discount, yay!)

  • Venue - booked & deposit paid & revisted to measure up for decorations

  • Celebrant - booked & deposit paid - we'll meet with her in a couple of weeks

  • Caterer - booked & deposit paid - need to decide on which 12 canapes & boxed dish we'll go with

  • Photographer - booked

  • Hair & Makeup - booked & deposit paid

  • Bridal Party - we told my sister about the surprise wedding via Skype on Monday night, she was gobsmacked but ecstatic!  She'll be my maid of honour, not having bridesmaids.  

  • Invitations - after my failed DIY attempt, have been saved by a friend of Mr Mel's, I've designed the invite, he's printing it.  I'll still do RSVP & travel/accomm cards myself

  • Accommodation - partly done, have booked a 3 bedroom house for my family coming from Vic, we're inspecting more this weekend for Mr Mel's side, and other friends & family

  • Honeymoon - have quotes for Vanuatu, hopefully booking today!

  • And one of the big ones, the 'lose some kgs' challenge, I've been going to Curves for almost 2 weeks now, really enjoying it and the other ladies who do the circuit at my 6.30am timeslot

    Start date28 Feb

    Interim Goal weight loss - 10kg - final goal tba once we hit May!
    Progress - 2.2kg, tba cm- day 24
    Interim Goal date - 28 May - allowing 7 weeks for dress to be finetuned before wedding!
    End Goal date - 23 July

    We're ontrack so far to be under our budget, but still alot of things to get final prices on etc, we shall see!

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    The Kindness Of Curvy Strangers

    As you could probably imagine, in having a surprise wedding, I have limited my available helpers to myself & Mr Mel, and have spent the last few weeks calling & emailing a long list of suppliers to get quotes on everything we need.

    Not being a local for long and not knowing many (well any apart from boss & neighbours) in town, I wasn't able to rely on recommendations etc.

    I joined Curves 2 weeks ago in an effort to ditch some kgs leading into the big day.  On Monday, after my failed DIY invitation attempt, I mentioned that I was craft challenged, when some of the other ladies were discussing their craft projects.  They asked what I was trying to do and as soon as the word 'wedding' left my mouth, it was on for young and old!

    Within 3 minutes I had been offered:

    • Florist services - a daughter of one of the ladies is a stay at home mum, but is a florist by trade
    • Decoration services - a friend of one of the ladies does part time function/wedding decorating
    • Cake - daughter in law of one of the ladies is a stay at home mum, works in a bakery part-time, and obsessed with cakes

    I was taken aback by their kindness and generosity, by my quick calculations based on another 5 minute chat yesterday morning, on those 3 items alone we'll be saving around $800 - $1,000! Alot can happen in our Curves circle!
    The ladies are bringing in email addresses & phone numbers to our Curves session tomorrow, so I can liaise directly.

    So yay to me for speaking up (ok kind of whinging!), and yay to the Curvey ladies, after their kind offers I can no longer call them strangers!

    Needless to say I am going to add them to the list to receive our 'thank you' photo/postcard after our day!  :)

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    DIY Invitations - Game over!

    After starting off all guns blazing in my DIY quest to make me some invitations, the first run ended in disaster.

    After about an hour of painstaking cutting, and recutting to size, with a dinky little guillotene, I had all the parts ready to assemble my first test invitation.

    All was going well(ish) until I attempted to adhere the vellum to the flower paper, the glue tape and liquid glue that the lady at Spotlight recommended went terribly wrong, first you could see the glue tape through the vellum, then when I tried the liquid glue you could see that, as well as it buckled and bubbled the paper.  Excellent!

    Original invitation DIY goodies
    As it was 2am Monday when I finally pulled the pin on it, and I had to be up for the gym at 5.45am, then work at 8am, I decided to sleep on it (after much muttering and swearing into my coffee).

    Then this afternoon Mr Mel received a call from a friend, his brother-in-law is a printer, and Mr Mel's friend asked if we would like his brother-in-law to print invitations for us, as an engagement present (remember we're having a surprise wedding!).

    So going well against my grain, I told Mr Mel to politely (nee desperately) accept the very generous and kind offer.

    So tonight I have been designing a new invitation. Sticking with our green and cream theme, I have settled on:

    New invite - partly DIY!
    I'm still tweaking it, but it will be heading to Mr Mel's friends brother-in-law (yes a Ferris Bueller moment!) tomorrow for printing.

    Our lovely original supplies won't go to waste though, I'm going to use them to do RSVP cards, maps, accommodation detail cards, to go with the invitations.  Not matchy matchy, but really does it matter?  Nope I don't think so :-)

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    DIY Invitations - I'm game!

    After trawling through probably hundreds of wedding blogs and supplier sites looking at invites, I have decided to make our invitations myself, a DIY project, I'm game, I think!

    We want to go with a mainly green and cream colour scheme, based mostly on my obsession with green, and the lovely cymbidium orchid we'll probably have as our flowers.

    I ventured to Spotlight today and holy moly what a craft section, I've never done any sort of craft, so hadn't wandered the aisles of craft, ever, so it was a bit of info and sensory overload, sooooo many options!

    So after visiting 2 Spotlight stores (50kms apart, yes I was committed to get it done today!), I ended up going with the options below:

    DIY invitations in the making!
    I'm thinking of using the dark green as the backer, then the flower paper with a 1cm border of dark green, then with vellum (like tracing paper), over it bar for a .5cm border, and printing on the vellum the details of the invitation.

    Then I'll use the white and pale green for the RSVP cards, and the map/directions/accommodation/transport card.

    Using a 100% recycled envelope, pale brown, not matchy matchy, but we like it :)

    The whole stash of DIY supplies
    So wish me luck, I'm sure it's probably crazy to have first crafty/DIY project as our wedding invitations, but here we go!

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    The Honeymoon

    At this stage we're leaning to Vanuatu for our honeymoon, for a few reasons:

    1 - it's good value, 10 days, including flights, beach bungalow, breakfast, scuba lesson, for around $140 a day each

    2 - my sister had "my best holiday EVER" there, and she's been around, in a good way!
    3 - my future SIL went there for her honeymoon, and loved it
    We could have gone a much cheaper option and stayed in Aus, however we've decided to splash out a bit because:

    1 - my last holiday that was more than a long weekend was in 2001

    2 - we want to start a family asap, so it might be a while till we can have a nice relaxing beach holiday!
    3 - we deserve it :)
    We want to have a week of just chilling out, relaxing by the pool/beach, snorkelling, and exploring the island, meeting the locals.  We're still working through quotes, so hopefully we can find and lock in a great deal soon!

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    He's Put A Ring On It :)

    On Saturday morning we rose at 5.30am, and hit the road at 6.15am (via McCafe for java) and headed to Sydney to pick up our engagement ring.

    I have to admit I was feeling quite ill as we arrived, nerves, anticipation perhaps.

    The staff were lovely, greeted us as we arrived knowing what we were there for, they were still polishing the ring so we had a seat for 5 mins, then they bought it out, Yowsers so sparkly!  I felt a bit nervous putting it on, but you couldn't wipe the smile off me, or Mr Mel for that matter!

    They gave us a bottle of champagne, an ID card for the diamond to ensure it was ethically sourced (Canada not Africa), and valuation certificate, worth 1/2 again on top of what we paid, yay, gotta love contacts (see earlier post).

    Our ring!  I forgot to wipe it when I took the pics, will do better photos soon!
    I love the side view
    So pretty :)
    So after a few weeks shopping around, then 2 weeks waiting while it got made, we have our engagement ring.  It's quite different to most in that the band is quite thick, but we love it, and really that's all that matters!

    I spent the afternoon trying to stop staring at it, while we were at a family birthday, and still getting used to people grabbing my hand to have a look at it! And yes the smile is still firmly planted on my face, Mr Mel's also even though I keep waving/wiggling/showing it to him!

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Clothing Mr Mel

    While trawling websites for ideas for decorations for our wedding I happened upon a photo that jumped out at me.

    Mr Mel wants to keep his clothing 'weddingy' but not too stuffy, no tie was high, well top of the list!

    Option 1 for Mr Mel's suit for the day
    I loved the casual look with the sleeves partly rolled up, open neck, no tie, but still the waistcoat keeps it neat, tidy, and 'formal' to a point.  And love the colour, different to the normal dark suits. Plus it's something he could wear alot, either to the races, other weddings, parties etc.

    And the best thing when I emailed the photo to Mr Mel, his reply was

    "Looks pretty smart i reckons."

    And in Mr Mel speak that's a glowing endorsement :)  yay!  

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    To Do List

    I've just added a new 'To Do List' page where I can keep track of what I've done and what's left to do (egads!)
    We're slowly getting through the list:
    • Venue - booked & deposit paid
    • Celebrant - booked & deposit paid
    • Caterer - booked & deposit paid

    There's still a heap of things to check off the list, but we'll get there!

    I have added a page link to the 'To Do List', for easy access.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    The Ring - pt 3

    Following on from pt 2 - we are heading to Sydney on Saturday morning to pick up our engagement ring!!  Yay!  Very exciting, we met with the jeweller 2 weeks ago, and they've been working on it since, so Saturday is the day!

    Sure I had a frantic email to them around 2am one morning when I panicked that I hadn't explained a crucial part properly, and then had a follow up call from the jeweller reassuring me all was ok and that alot of girls do the same!

    While we're there we're going to pick out our wedding bands also, I'm going plain white gold, Mr Mel is having white gold with some sort of texture, unsure as yet.

    So hopefully the photo I post on this blog with the ring on my finger will look exactly (please engagement ring/jewellery gods look kindly upon me) like the one we picked.

    The photo we gave them to work off
    Here's hoping!!

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Another Wedding This Year! HRH

    Another, not so surprise wedding happening in 2011, 29 April 2011 to be exact.
    The Royal Wedding of Prince William & Catherine Middleton

    What would a wedding blog be without a mention of the biggest one of the decade (apparently!)

    While I'd never want to have the life Kate & William have and will have, I could sure use a couple of their minions to get our day in order!

    In case they happen to drop by, Congrats Wils & Kate!

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Catering - Confirmed yay

    We locked in our caterers over the weekend, Hot Rock Events + Catering, they will be providing our canapes, soup stations, and wedding cake!

    Hot Rock Events + Catering are based in Merewether, Newcastle, run by husband & wife team Michael & Melissa Carroll.

    Hot Rock Events + Catering
    I had been emailing back and forth with Melissa re options, and then Mr Mel and I went for a taste test a few weeks back.  The food was just delicious and both Melissa & Michael were lovely, very laid back, and interested in what we're trying to achieve with our food.

    When we arrived we had thought we'd do canapes, then a spit, but after a bit of brainstorming, we ended up going with canapes and a hot soup station, as it will be winter, soup should hit the spot!

    At this stage we're tossing up between 9 and 12 canapes and a hot box of either rissotto or noodles, or fish & chips, per person, plus soup, bread rolls etc.

    Hot Rock will also provide our wedding cake, we've decided to go with a cupcake stand, in keeping with our 'finger food' theme, with a small top cake that we will use to cut.

    We're yet to decide the flavours and colours, but we're thinking we'll probably use the green from the flower scheme we're leaning to 

    Flower scheme - cake colours probably going to be in same range
    We've paid our deposit and have a few months to finalise the menu, which is good as we're having trouble whittling down what we'll go with!

    We can choose between:

    Served cold

    Assorted sushi- nori omelettes, Atlantic salmon + cucumber, poached chicken with avocado
    Rare peppered beef with baby spinach + parmesan on a crouton
    Smoked salmon on a pancake with sour cream + chives
    Prawn cocktail with seafood sauce in filo cup
    Thai style prawn, pork + chicken on fresh pine apple + watermelon
    Fresh soft cheese (or goats cheese), roasted tomato + basil tartlets
    Greek salad skewers - olive, feta, cherry tomato, cucumber + lemon thyme
    Poached chicken, apple, celery + walnut ‘Waldorf’ on costini
    Mediterranean frittata topped with onion cream + olive
    Sesame cracker with tofu, avocado + coriander

    Served Hot

    Spicy lamb meat balls with garlic + yogurt
    Thai fish cakes with cucumber dipping sauce
    Chicken san choy Bau
    Pumpkin + sage risotto balls
    Polenta wedges topped with pesto+ roasted capsicum
    Zucchini flowers filled with ricotta, sundried tomatoes + basil (summer time only)
    Savoury tartlets with pistachio nuts + blue cheese
    Mini beef pies with tomato sauce
    Mini sausage rolls with tomato sauce
    Mini hamburgers with slow cooked onions, tomato, lettuce + bbq sauce
    Spinach + cheese filo triangles

    Standing Dishes

    Noodle Boxes:
    Thai style glass noodle salads:
    Avocado + Tofu/Chicken/Beef/Pork/Duck/King Prawn

    Paper Cones:
    Crumbed or Battered Fish + Chips – tartare + lemon
    Salt + Pepper Squid with shoe string potatoes

    Chicken, mushroom + shallot
    Lemon thyme, prosciutto, pecorino + goats cheese
    King Prawn + pea risotto with basil + mint

    Fragrant lamb backstrap with pistachio, mint + saffron cous-cous
    Grilled chicken breast with Mediterranean vegetable cous-cous
    Fried five spice fish pieces with cucumber + garlic yoghurt with plain cous-cous

    So as you can see the choices are staggering! Wish us luck!  :)  I'll get into cake options on another post!

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