Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bridesmaid Gifts: Wonderful or Wasteful?

I absolutely love giving gifts.  I love picking out items for other people that I know they'll use for a long time, and that's tough task if the gift is for someone in your wedding party.  It's very tempting to give things that refer to your specific date, but come on, who wears a shirt that says "I'm a bridesmaid!" after the wedding is over?

These are so soft and really handy! 
So, trying not to be wasteful means steering clear of gifts that adorn the wedding date, bride & groom names and even words associated with weddings or wedding party.  I thought to myself, "What do I use on a daily basis, and how could I personalize that item as a bridesmaid gift?"  Well, here's the first gift I chose: monogrammed cosmetic bags in colors that complement each girl's wardrobe/personal decor.  I made sure to use their first initials, as their last initial could easily change.  Behold, the outcome:

I love these bags because they're soft on the outside but durable and waterproof on the inside (in makeup terms that means they are super easy to clean!).  They even have a pocket inside for extra storage.  Each is a different color and has a contrasting stitched monogram.  I'm kicking myself for not buying one for me!  Five of them are for the bridesmaids and the sixth is for my officiant.  Our officiant is a dear friend of mine and would have been a bridesmaid but we decided that we would love for her to 'marry' us instead!

More gifts to come, and I'm even more excited about the next batch!  My hope is that each gift given during our wedding planning will be something that will be useful for a long time, whether it be a makeup bag or a goat given to a family on the other side of the world.

Street style I love
Journal entries with photo inspirations are becoming quite habitual, so I'll leave on the note of one of my most recent collages.  I figure that if I document my street style, it will be easier to decide on a dress.

Crossing my fingers, anyway...
D + A at the Hoover Dam


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Accessories Addiction

I'm taking a break from wedding planning to make and admission of guilt:

Hi, my name is Anna and I'm an accessories addict.

It's true; I can't pass up a sparkly ring, stackable bracelets, textured belts, multi-chain necklaces, pendants, and especially scarves.  I love both my cheap, costume jewelry and my investment pieces.  No one does investment pieces like Chanel, and I like to buy those vintage.  Most of my favorite pieces are from DVF, though, like this gorgeous textured belt or her colorful and feminine scarves.  I appreciate her color combinations and ability to go just far enough without going over the edge.  Plus, her site looks a lot like my photo inspiration journals, so I'd like to think DVF could be my BFF.  She's an inspiration as a designer and as a woman.

The Catwalk's Meow
Check out the DVF blog HERE!

When I'm not drooling over my favorite accessories label, I'm a pretty frugal fashionista.  I don't think that you have to spend a lot of money to look great.  In fact, I know you don't!  I'm in love with some of my recent purchases and I won't even say how much they cost (hint: altogether, they add up to about 1/4 of my favorite DVF scarf).  Check out my recent haul and just imagine that each item cost a small fortune.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Flora and Philanthropy

Flora and Philanthropy:

How to use your wedding to link them

When I think of weddings I've been to this past year, I think of how pretty the bride looked and how joyous a celebration the event was.  I may remember the color of the bridesmaids' dresses or possibly the linens.  I might remember how sweet the cake smelled or how handsome the men looked dressed in their suits.  However, I couldn't tell you anything at all about the flowers.  The color, the type, the arrangement; my brain just doesn't remember those details.

Planning and budgeting my own wedding has made me realize two major things:

1) There are going to be flowers everywhere and man, they are not cheap!

and, more importantly,

2) I feel guilty about using so many beautiful flowers for such a short period of time.

So, keeping in mind that my fiance and I have been looking for opportunities to give back during both the planning stage and the actual wedding, I searched for ways to use our flowers toward our goal of being socially conscious and as 'green' as we can.  Luckily, the Washingtonian's "Bride & Groom" publication had an article on getting the most use out of your flowers and how to shrink your florist bill at the same time!  Here are some suggestions:
Buy local! (Gnome not included)

Choose flowers that you can buy locally from a neighborhood florist.  You'll be giving back to your local economy, plus saving money by using gorgeous flowers grown in your area!  Buying locally reduces your carbon footprint and increases your community spirit.  (Added bonus: using local flowers is a great way to show off the unique natural resources of your city or state to friends traveling from other parts of the country)
I love how each one is so different and gorgeous!

Try to only use flowers that are in season!  Chances are you can find at least a few different types that can tie in with your color scheme, and it gives you the opportunity to give your bouquets and arrangements character with the many textures and adornments that flourish during that season.  For example, check out that Fall bouquet.  It's so rich in color and texture and fits right in with the season!  The cost is lower when you buy in season, so you can choose to buy more flowers or use the extra cash to boost another area of your wedding.
Look at those poor, sad flowers wasting away on the floor

There are several ways you can reuse your event flowers.  The easiest is to use the bride's and bridesmaids' bouquets to help round out the decorations at the reception.  You could quickly put them in vases for the head table or use them to surround the cake or guestbook.  Another way to reuse your floral arrangements is to have them delivered after the reception to somewhere special to you, like a nearby hospital, nursing home or women's shelter.  An easy yet memorable way to brighten someone's day by not being wasteful!
A very green thumb planted these lovely stems!

Finally, you can plan ahead to use your garden and green thumb to plant what you'd like to use in your wedding.  This is something that I personally am terrible at (gardening is not one of my talents), but there are several family friends I may call on to see if they could plant a specific bed filled with flowers that I would be able to freshly cut the morning of the wedding.  How special would that be?  Less flowers will go to waste and, as a bonus, it decreases your cost!

Using one or all of these techniques can save you stress and money while still delivering the lovely wedding flowers you've dreamed of!  I'm sure years from now I may forget the names of the flowers at my wedding, but I'll never forget the way they framed the joyous occasion.   Going 'green' never looked so gorgeous!