Seeing that I’ve been married for over a year and a half and haven’t made any updates here in quite some time, I thought it would be obvious that this blog was dead. But I’m still getting comments and e-mails in regards to this blog, so I figured it was time to put up a big old closed sign. Rather than shutting down this blog, I’m going to leave it up for future brides. Despite not updating I still received almost ten thousand hits on my blog last year, so I hope that some of my posts will prove useful for brides getting married in 2011 and beyond.

I will no longer be responding to e-mails sent to me in regards to this blog, and I’ve disabled comments on most of the posts and will be making my way through all of them. I hope that if you’re passing by this blog you’ll find something of use here.


Vendor Reviews

08Mar10

I’m cut and pasting my vendor reviews from my Knot bio, so if there is any wonky formatting, I apologize. A lot of my vendors were local to the Baltimore area-but a lot weren’t! Etsy was a wonderful resource throughout my planning process, and I also ended up using national vendors for my invitations, flowers, and other items. Hope this is helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me using the e-mail on my contact page. It may take a bit of time to get back to you, but I promise any question will be answered!

Venue: Liriodendron Mansion

We originally booked Liriodendron in October 2008 for what was then to be our November 2009 wedding. Everything went well until we moved up our date, and the coordinator gave me a slight heart attack when I was checking for other available dates. She’d told me another bride was interested in my date, and when I’d expressed interest in a September date, but that I’d need to check with my vendors to see if they were available, the response I got was that she’d already rebooked the date for another couple who was “so interested in our date!”

To say that I had a small heart attack would be an understatement. Luckily that was worked out. The coordinator told me she hadn’t rebooked the date yet (but that’s what she’d said in her e-mail) and we did move up our date the next day when I’d checked with all my vendors. I will point out that Liriodendron allows you to move your date once with no charge, so I am thankful that they accommodated us when a lot of other venues would have charged us a fee for changing our date.

When we arrived on wedding day, our caterer and coordinator waiting outside. We were told that the “Liriodendron lady” working our event wouldn’t let anyone inside until she arrived. There are two Liriodendron ladies, one that is more lenient and one that isn’t. Well, if you’re booking here, you might want to make sure you know which one is working at your wedding! The woman working at ours was a bit intrusive, telling my bridesmaids that they were holding their bouquets too low, telling me how I should pose, etc. On the day I was a bit too frazzled to remark on it, but the more I thought about it, the more it annoyed me! We booked the venue, not a venue coordinator. Her job as I understood was it to ensure that no one did harm to the mansion. She did stay upstairs and out of the way for most of the reception, but she did cause me some stress before the ceremony started.

Now that I’ve mentioned the negatives, I will talk about the positives. The space is gorgeous, and has many wonderful spots for photos both inside the mansion and on the grounds. On our wedding day it rained, so we had our ceremony on the gorgeous grounds and our reception inside. The mansion is beautiful, so if you need to go with a rain plan, you’ll still have gorgeous photographs.

The venue is also reasonably priced for the area. The other nearby venues of note are all quite a bit more than Liriodendron, and in my opinion lack the charm that Liriodendron offers. This is especially true if you’re willing to get married in an “off” month or if you’re getting married on a Friday or Sunday. They do have restrictions, but none that bothered us in the least. They have an approved caterer list. Most brides go with Dean & Brown. We did and didn’t regret it in the least. They know the space and offer wonderful service and a real value.

You really do have run of most of the mansion, and our guests loved having space to roam around. If you’re looking for a private venue, you’ve found it. We had about 35 guests, so the mansion was perfect for us. Everyone had more than enough room, and we didn’t feel like we had a lot of empty space because how the mansion is broken up. I would advise against the mansion if you’re having more than 85 guests, otherwise it might feel a bit cramped. Another big reason I booked there was because they offer their own rentals at a very reasonable price. We had my beloved Chivari chairs at our reception for a fraction of what they would have cost at a traditional rental company.

I would recommend Liriodendron to other area brides, and I am glad we had our wedding there. But I felt I had to be true in my review and state that they were the vendor that caused me the most stress throughout the planning and on the day. In all truthfulness that stress wasn’t THAT much compared to what I’ve seen other brides go through, but it was stress none the less!

Photographer- Studio Mathewes-Engagement Session
Jocelyn is such a wonderful photographer. She’s incredibly personable and we felt so comfortable with her when we met her at our initial consultation. We were set to book with her when she told us she was pregnant with her second child. Of course we were happy for her and her husband, but we couldn’t help but be disappointed that she wouldn’t be our wedding photographer!

Luckily, we found a wonderful photographer for the big day and Jocelyn offered to do a free engagement shoot for us to make up for not shooting our big day. She came down from Baltimore to northern Virginia for the shot and had the photos to us the next day! We felt so comfortable with her at our shoot, she has a great shooting style.

She even threw in a free 8×10 to thank me for leaving positive reviews for her and encouraging other brides to book with her. We’re so lucky to have worked with her!

Jenni of Forever-Yesterday-Wedding Day

We found Jenni through the Baltimore board of the Knot. Everyone raved about her, and I did the unthinkable: I booked her without having met her. I know, I know, but I had faith in that she’d do a good job, and she did! We met at our venue for the first time about five weeks before the wedding and I was instantly impressed by her friendly attitude and willingness to work with my crazy ideas!

On our wedding day, Jenni arrived 30 minutes before her scheduled arrival time and got straight to work. She has a great working style, friendly but efficient. She had no problem getting us to laugh for our photos and chatting with us between shots.

She also paid attention to my “must-shot” list and got all those and more. We had an intimate, laid back reception, so she spent most of it taking great candid photos of our guests. She was also able to grab a lot of professional shots of us and our guests. She never said no to any of my suggestions and really went above and beyond what she needed to do.

She had a link to us for our photos less than one week from our wedding day, and we were so pleased with how they turned out. We generally hate photos of ourselves and we really do love most of our wedding photos. Jenni is very talented!

So, long story short: if you’re a budget bride in the Baltimore area, Jenni is your girl. She will give you a lot of value for your money and you’ll love having her around on your wedding day.

Caterer- Dean & Brown
Working with Dean & Brown was the best decision of my wedding planning. They accommodated us at every turn, from meeting with us for our tasting during a freak snow storm, to arranging a visit to our venue when it was closed for a holiday weekend.

We worked with Terry, who is a gem. You can tell she loves her job and she has a great personality. She was always there to answer any question and on the wedding day she was there to help us and was just a joy to have around.

The food was excellent as was the service. You just won’t find the quality anywhere else for the price that they charge. They also give you the option of buying your own liquor and bringing in your own cake, which saves A LOT of money.

If you’re getting married in Harford county or anywhere in the Baltimore area I highly recommend Dean & Brown!

Wedding Coordinator: Heidi Kern of Entertain Me Events
My husband and I met with Heidi in January, 2009 and didn’t bother meeting with anyone else. She instantly understood that our wedding was going to be more like a party than a wedding, and was right on board with our board game theme.

After we booked her, we didn’t really contact her much until about two months before the wedding. She would send me occasional e-mails asking if I needed anything, but I just didn’t! I met up with Heidi twice before our wedding, once to go over details and to discuss matters with her, and finally with our caterer about three weeks before the wedding. At both meetings she was helpful and not shy on offering her opinion or telling the vendor what I wanted. I was waffling on whether or not we should have a bar at our wedding since it was a lunch reception. She convinced me that we should, and you know what? She was right!

On the day Heidi was the first vendor I saw in the morning and the last before I left. She and her assistant were very friendly and the day ran very smoothly. We had a very small wedding so I know ours was easier for her than most she does, but she still did a wonderful job.

I highly recommend Heidi and her team! If you think you don’t need a DOC, trust me, you do. Having Heidi around to do set-up and take care of any last minute problems was worth what I paid her and more!

Save The Date Design, Rehearsal Dinner Design & Monograms: Ashley of 2BirdStone on etsy.com
I was very pleased with the end product of our save the dates. Ashley’s idea to make our relationship into a board game was genius and was better than anything we could have come up with ourselves. Our guests have been very impressed with them!

Ashley also created two custom monograms and our rehearsal dinner invitations for us. I highly recommend her.

Sate The Date & Rehearsal Dinner Printing: Vistaprint.com
The quality of our save the date postcards was excellent. I was expecting a cheaper cardstock, but the front is very glossy and the stock is good quality. I got our save the dates in half the estimated shipping time, and since I had a free coupon we only paid for shipping!

Officiant: Rev. Steve Weeks of Weddings Anywhere, Anytime
I’m going to be honest, neither my husband or myself really cared who married us. As long as they were competent and could speak clearly, we were good. We booked with Rev. Weeks in January and made plans to meet him at our venue about six weeks before the wedding.

Unfortunately he also serves as a chaplain for another organization and had something come up, so we met with his wife, Janet. Janet has a very calming presence about her and she gave us the advice that really calmed my nervous husband: “It doesn’t matter who can hear your vows. As long as you can hear each other, that’s all that matters.”

We mostly dealt with Janet from there out, in revising our service and in other matters. We met Rev. Weeks on wedding day. I only spent a few minutes with him before the service, as I was getting ready, but he spent time with my husband and the best man. Rev. Weeks incorporated humor into our wedding, getting the best man to play a bit of a trick on me, acting as though he lost the rings.

In the end, our ceremony was short and sweet and we’re glad that Rev. Weeks and his wife Janet were there to marry us!

Florist: viennasflowers.com
found Tara of Vienna’s Flowers through an internet search. I’d contacted other floral companies without a response, but I received a quick response from Tara, the owner. We had a phone consultation and really clicked. We have the same name, so that was a great starting point. I’d sent her inspiration photos, and we talked about what I liked in those photos and what I didn’t. We altered one of her existing designs for the bridesmaids, as well as the mother’s corsages.

I placed my order in March and had the flowers in June. They were so, so gorgeous and everyone said they couldn’t believe they were silk! I could have never afforded a bouquet with dahlias and calla lillies in real flowers, let alone the gorgeous ribbon wraps she offers on all her bouquets.

I highly recommend Tara and her company Vienna’s Flowers if you’re like me and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on flowers, but still want gorgeous flowers!

Jeweler: Helzberg Diamonds
We bought our rings at Helzberg Diamonds at Potomac Mills Mall in Woodbridge, VA. I fell in love with my engagement ring as soon as I saw it. It’s part of a bridal set, so the wedding ring is included. Since Jeremy was approved for credit, we just went ahead and bought his ring then so we’d have time to pay both of our rings off. We did things a bit untraditionally, and I’m glad for it. I’m way too picky, I needed to pick out my own ring!

Invitations: Twin Ravens Press
I first found Kristin’s work through Weddingbee.com. She designed a couple of the blogger’s wedding invitations and I thought they were beautiful, but that I probably couldn’t afford letterpress invitations. A few months go by and another blogger friend recommends Kristen, as she had worked with her. I decide to bite the bullet and contact her, and I’m so glad I did!

If you’re a budget bride and feel you can’t afford letterpress, contact Kristin. I’m not going to lie to you, letterpess is NEVER going to be cheap. I budgeted a chunk of my budget for my invitations because it was important to me. But Kristin was still far cheaper than the “cheapest” letterpress invitations I’d found. She also sent me a sample pack, free of charge, where most other vendors charge.

Kristin and I worked together over the span of about three weeks editing a design she’d worked on for another bride and groom. We finished edits in the end of April and I had my invitations in mid-June. Everything came out beautifully, and I loved having invitations that were 100% original, and letterpressed!

I highly recommend Kristin and her studio Twin Ravens Press!

Dress 1:: Milly Bridal
I ordered my dress from Milly thanks to a point in the right direction from one of my blog readers. They have been very easy to work with, and responded quickly to any question I had. The dress shipped in about three days from China! I will complete this review once I see my dress in person, but from the photos I’ve seen so far, I’m in love!

Edit: The dress is in! The overall quality is great, and the fit is darn near perfect, I just need a bra to put the “girls” in their right spot as my mother says! The only issue we had is that some of the sequins were not as sewn in as tightly as they should have been, so it shedded some when I wore it. The lace is also a bit itchy. The dress will need a bustle, but since we got this dress for a song, I’m debating getting a short dress for the reception and forgoing alterations. We’ll see.

Dress 2: David’s Bridal Woodbridge, VA
I will spare the long story, but I decided not to wear the Milly Bridal dress on my wedding day. The short version of the story is that the dress, while gorgeous, weighed a ton and the lace was itchy. This is probably my fault for not requesting a sample of the lace, or not realizing just how itchy lace made me. I’m not faulting Milly Bridal here.

I tried to find a more casual dress online with disastrous results, so I found myself at David’s three weeks before my wedding. Luckily my consultant was a star and even though she pulled a ton of dresses for me, I loved the first one I put on. She talked to the alterations manager and told us as long as we paid for it that day, we’d have it in time for the wedding! It was ready on time, and it fit…well, as well can be expected for only having one fitting. I had to be pinned into it to keep my bra from showing, and my halter was a bit loose. But I’d rather have it be a bit big than a bit small! The bustle worked wonderfully, and the hem was the right length.

My only real issue with the Woodbridge store was when we picked up my dress. There were only two consultants working and we stood in the front of the store for awhile as they were both working with other brides. I ended up walking in the back and found the seamstress myself.

Rehearsal Dinner: Magerks Bel Air
We loved the space (The Fireside Bar) and the overall atmosphere of Magerks. The food is also very tasty. Jen, the coordinator there is awesome and responds very quickly to e-mails, which is important to me!

After the wedding:
We did have a wonderful rehearsal dinner. The food was wonderful, and it was great having our own bartender. My only issue was that when we got there people were still wandering in through our semi-private room. Once I told the bartender to have the management put up a sign, people weren’t wandering in from outside anymore (there was a sign with a chain blocking off the stairs) but even though there was a chalkboard with a sign saying “PRIVATE PARTY, PLEASE USE FRONT ENTRANCE.”, lazy douche bags were still walking through the our space and out the back door because they were too lazy to walk out the front door and around the building.

SO, I would recommend Magerks for your rehearsal dinner. I’d suggest using their large private room, or if you use the Fireside Bar, insist on having a staff member there to stop people from walking through the space. It didn’t ruin the night for me, but it did make some of my guests uncomfortable.

Desserts
Sweet & Sassy Bakery-Newark, DE
Sanders Cookie Jar-Hagerstown, MD

I can’t get too in depth about these reviews as my sister handled getting the desserts for my wedding. She had gotten us congratulatory cupcakes from SAS when we got engaged, which sealed the deal for us. We knew right then we wanted them for our wedding! We just ordered from their regular selection and they were a HUGE hit. There were only a few left for us to take home!

My sister has been getting pies from Sanders for years now. Their pies are seriously the best I’ve ever had. My sister’s co-worker did all the ordering and pick-up for us, so all I can tell you is that everything was delicious!

Other Details:

Wedding headband: Untamed Petals on etsy
Amanda was wonderful to work with, and I LOVED my headpiece. It went very well with the flower on my dress!

Cupcake Flags: Laurenmakes on etsy
I was really pleased with the quality of our cupcake flags and the price was really great!

Simpsons Caketopper: kharygoarts on etsy
We were SO pleased with how our topper came out! She did a wonderful job and for a great price.

Ring bowl: sayyourpiece on etsy. I found this seller through one of the Baltimore Knotties. I loved our ring bowl-especially that it was custom to our date and had our names on it. We use it every day to store our rings!


Everything else

08Mar10

This post features everything else that I wanted to highlight about our wedding. Photos of our reception, some of my favorite formals and candid shots. Once again, all photos are copyright Jennifer Combs of Forever-Yesterday Photography.


The loot! I don’t recall posting about it before, but my father made the card box. It’s now serving purpose as a jewelry box!


Posing inside the mansion.


At the reception!


We didn’t do a lot of traditional things at our wedding, but our coordinator thought it would be cute for us to cut a cupcake and serve it to each other, so we did!


Our shoes!

Hope you liked all the photos from our big day!


Even though I vowed never to be one of those brides who became obsessed with the weather on her wedding day, I was. It rained on the days leading up to my wedding, and on my wedding day itself. I got so lucky that it held off for my ceremony and other outdoors photos. Looking back, I couldn’t have asked for better weather for our wedding. Sure, a little sunlight would have been nice, but we were married at noon. If the sun had been high in the sky, our photos would have been full of people squinting. I loved the overcast look in our photos, everything looks so green, and the purple in our bridesmaids dresses and groomsmen’s ties really pops.

All photos are copyright Jennifer Combs of Forever-Yesterday Photography.


A shot of our ceremony with our venue, Liriodendron Mansion, in the background.


A shot of our ceremony with the woods in the background.


Walking back down the aisle. I LOVE this shot, everything looks so green!


Walking back up the aisle as husband and wife!


Our wedding party coming back up the aisle.


With our wedding party on the mansions’ front steps.


With our wedding party on the grounds of the mansion.


With all of our wedding guests


With my bridesmaids during cocktail hour.


One of my favorite black and white shots.


Here are how some of those details I slaved over looked on wedding day! All of these photos are credited to Jennifer Combs at Forever-Yesterday Photography.


My bouquet and my girls’. My bouquet is currently residing on our coffee table in a vase. That’s one of the benefits of going with silk!


Custom pencils & dice


Our guest book, which I made on shutterfly.com


Our cupcakes! They were a huge hit.


A few shots of our dessert table.


Our guest tables.


Our ring bowl


Custom napkins


My $23 Target shoes!


Scrabble Tile escort cards. I was one C short, and my give a damn was broken, so I just hand-wrote it. I really regret not just printing a label with one of my Scrabble fonts! Oh well.

I don’t regret a second spent on the details for my wedding. I got a lot of compliments on how unique our wedding was!


Wrapping it up

08Mar10

Since I will be celebrating my six-month anniversary later this month, I figured it was time to get the rest of my wedding photos up. I have accepted the fact that my give-a-damn to get recaps up is permanently broken, but I figured I owed it to the brides who read my blog to show them what our wedding looked like. I know many of you have gotten married yourselves or moved on when I stopped updating, but I figured it would be nice to have photos of the wedding up for those new brides that stop by, or for the few of you still hanging around.

I have moved on in more ways than one! I am working on a novel, working part-time at my job, and most importantly: closing on a house at the end of March. We will be so glad to get settled in and hopefully the next step will be the patter of little feet (first in the form of a four legged canine friend, then a two legged human child)! Thanks to all of you who followed along with me on the journey down the aisle. I wish all future brides the best in their planning!


I do promise that I will come back here and finish up with our wedding recaps. Life is a bit nutty right now, as Jeremy and I are looking to purchase our first house!

That said, I did want to pass along a link, as Kristin from Twin Ravens Press blogged about our invitations! Her timing is uncanny, as I was just working on the page in our wedding scrapbook with our invitations and I was remembering what a special part of wedding planning that was for us!

Hope planning is going well for all the 2010 brides!




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