The Plus Size Bride

By CandidlyCarol.com


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Committment Issues: The Budget

Sandy and I are struggling. While we aren’t struggling with our relationship, we are struggling making choices and sticking with them.

Both of us are guilty of being constant “wanters”. We see something we want and buy it without much thought of consequence. “That is cool, let’s get that for the ceremony. OH! I like this too.” “Sure, lets go for it!” Now, when you do that a few dozen times it really catches up with you!Β  Our budget has taken quite the hit because of this. Our wedding, which we were intending to keep around $15,000-20,000 has ballooned to $45,000-50,000. That is a little lot ridiculous. When I brought this up to Sandy he simply shrugged his shoulders. I had to laugh.

Can we comfortably afford that? Yup. Both sets of parents are very generously matching each others’ contributions. Do we want to spend that much? Goodness no. I could think of a thousand things I’d rather spend that money on.

We certainly aren’t 21 and starting out in life with nothing like in the old timey days so spending that much seems like an antiquated idea. We’re 31 and 32, living together for 2 years and both of us have solid careers. We don’t need anything- so aΒ  bridal shower and a large guest list seem arbitrary. I’m all for other people enjoying those bridal options but it just isn’t our taste.

The biggest issue with our budget is the guest list. It is currently at 250 people and we had anticipated keeping it around 100. I didn’t even know we knew that many people! LOL Sandy’s parents both have extremely large families- both are almost Duggar big.Β  Add my average sized family and our friends…it is a lot. Too many for comfort honestly, so we are really cutting names aggressively. While we are worried at offending people, we just don’t care enough to hold off.

Here is how we are chopping things down:

  1. Have we had a meaningful conversation with them in the last 6 months?
  2. Would we make time for dinner with them if they were in town?
  3. Would they bring positivity or negativity to the party?
  4. Will they participate in pre-wedding activities?
  5. Can we imagine the wedding without them?
  6. Do we want to strengthen the relationship and hope it grows?
  7. Do our parents want us to invite them? (A little respect goes a long way!)

Our current catering bill is $15,000 (cocktail hour & 3 different 3 course entree options & Kids’ meal) and alcohol is at $5,000 so cutting the guest list down will be huge at cost saving. Cutting the list will also give us the intimate wedding we really wanted.

We have also been discussing changing our ceremony to a more casual affair without the expensive gown and tux. Again, I love blinged out ballgowns and that is the image I had in my head but it isn’t possible to wear a heavy-ass ballgown outside in the humid heat of the Island in July. I need to rethink that.

Long story short. I have to rethink a lot of things. Poop. bridezilla

How did you handle your large guest list and budget overages? Did you embrace them or make changes?


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Feeling Not So Fresh: My Opinion of the Flower Trade

I’ve mentioned in previous entries that I am not going to use fresh or real flowers in my wedding and there are many reasons why. Many people have questioned my choice and I really understand it. Fresh flowers look so lovely and elegant. Sprays of orchids, bunches of soft blushing roses with splashes of babies breath and fresh green leaves. There is really something ethereal about them…but they simply are not the right choice for me.

Sometimes I do feel like I am short changing myself by opting for paper flowers but I do firmly believe it is possible to have a chic and whimsical wedding without blooms. Perhaps you have seen the lovely images of the Chanel 2009 Spring Couture decor floating around. It is what has inspired me to go “freshless” and embrace the ambiance that only recycled paper flower can bring. πŸ˜‰

Please, go grab some spa water and setup for a 15 minute swoonfest of fashion and flowers. Pay no mind to the clothes…simply the surroundings.

Those flowers! That up-lighting! The monochromatic-ness of it all! Big ups to Chanel for the inspo! Still not convinced? Check out my Chanel Inspired Paper Flower Wedding Pinterest Board.

Couture aside, there is also the other reason why I am going freshless. There are the not-so-glamorous ethical reasons.

According to Wisegeek, Scientific American and Smithsonian Magazine, “Most cut flowers are grown in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia in large greenhouse environments staffed by underpaid, non-unionized workers. The greenhouses are carefully climate controlled to yield the best flowers, and they are also heavily sprayed with pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. Because the flowers are grown in nations with more lax environmental laws, many banned substances including DDT and methyl-bromide are used in flower production. These substances have a profound impact on the health of the workers: many suffer from health problems such as skin conditions, respiratory problems, impaired vision, and birth defects thanks to their exposure to these chemicals.”

A lot of the flowers in grocery stores that are $14.99 for those bouquets of florescent coloured Gerber daisies, carnations and 3 or 4 roses are precisely the flowers I am talking about. The ones we grab with our cheap bottle of wine and head to a dinner party. It is so messed up that these flowers cause such calamity. They are the flowers covered in fungicides and chemicals that are killing the bees and laborers yet we so carelessly place them around our homes.

To add insult to injury, in 2012 there was a 1 in 12 chance that your roses would be cut by a child working 20 hour days in Columbia. I find that reading things like this make a “fresh cut” flower smell less delicious (The Atlantic).

Of course, there is the other bugger of it. Even if the flowers were ethically grown they would still be creating a large carbon footprint due to shipping. Plenty of flowers are grown ethically but the freight alone is astronomical. Groan.

There are alternatives to supporting the flower trade. You can always source local farmers who grow flowers during their growing season. There are online services for organic flowers but always be mindful and research those choices. Many countries do not have the same guidelines for labeling organic as in Canada or the US (Seven Pounds) Better yet, get on Etsy and look up some alternative bouquets. There are so many breath taking designs for brooch bouquets, handcrafted butterfly bouquets and even bouquets made of buttons!

Of course, you could always follow my lead and use paper or fabric flowers. I am absolutely smitten with the gorgeous creation from MyWoollyMammoth:

paper flower bouquetI have also ordered boutonnieres, corsages and bridesmaids bouquets through MyWoollyMammoth.

What are your thoughts on the flower trade and what creative ideas do you have to replace fresh flowers in your wedding? Dying to know!


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I Need A Dress

It has been a long time since I’ve posted and I am certain that my family in Cape Breton think I am not planning at all. Oh nay, nay! I have been wheelin and dealin’ behind the scenes and making some choices. Woohoo!!

Thankfully we have completed all the essentials but I am still without a dress. I was waiting for my sister to come out before I selected one but she won’t commit to a date because of a horse show she might be showing in so I’ve decided to book an appointment for the 29th at 10 am to try on dresses and purchase one that day.

I have been really torn between Alfred Angelo, Stella York and Martina Lina designs. I really didn’t like Mori Lee or Maggie Sottero, which is weird because they are always my favorites on Say Yes to The Dress. Regardless of what designer or brand I go with, I just want to feel confident standing in front of everyone in my gown so it needs to be classic, timeless and elegant. My worst fear is that I will look back on my dress and be embarrassed by it.

My current dress obsessions are the Martina Liana 649, Stella York 5987, and lastly Pronovias Mayda. All 3 seem like they will handle the passing of time without looking overly dated and I really hope that is the case. I had been eyeballing the Alfred Angelo Disney Fairy TaleΒ  Weddings Tiana 246 in Ivory but I just can’t commit. Something keeps holding me back even after trying it 3 times. It makes me feel like this is not the dress for me.

Hopefully the appointment on the 29th will get me in the right direction. What dress designers are your favorite? Check out my Pinterest boards for more wedding dress inspiration

Here are all the rejects below. For reference, I am a size 18w wedding gown and an apple shape:

Tiana Dress- Front view

Alfred Angelo Disney Fairy Tale Weddings Tiana 246

Maggie Sottero- Front View

Maggie Sottero “Lorie”

Mori Lee- Side View

Mori Lee

Fitted dress- Front View Frilled Dress- Back view Pink Pouf- Front View


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Finding Long Distance Friendly Vendors

Every bride has struggles that are unique to their own big day. Being a long distance Bride really adds a unique complication to the hair-greying experience that is wedding planning.

So how many other brides struggle finding a vendor when planning a wedding in a different location? In my case, my wedding is on the opposite side of the country and it has been a real headache. Thankfully, I have been learning some tricks as I go to finding the perfect vendors from the other end of the country.

There are only so many vendors available where I am having my wedding and I bet a lot of brides are from small towns too who are having the same issues! Most vendors are a one person operated home-based businesses with limited capability. On my search to find appropriate and cooperative vendors I created a little method to my madness.

The most important part for me was keeping everything organized. Having a wedding binder is very important. I made mine from Dollarama supplies and was gifted a TheKnot brand one which has been a blessing. Having two is useful as you can save one and provide your day-of coordinator the dollarama version to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Here are my suggestions for finding long-distance friendly wedding vendors:

  1. Get organized! Make or buy 2 wedding binders to keep all your goodies in one place. I use a lot of plastic page protectors to hold my samples and fabrics swatches.
  2. Google the service you are looking for(ie: Catering, Decorator, Flowers, Wedding DJ, Videographer, etc.) and compile a list of potential options.
  3. “Like” their pages on Facebook and read their reviews.
  4. Google each businesses’ reviews and do some research.
  5. Ask the venue you booked who they recommend. They often have a list of vendors they work closely with.
  6. Ask around. Often word of mouth leads to the best finds and they can offer honest input about some vendors.
  7. Do not waste your time and money phoning them. They will screen your call/not answer long distance.
  8. Send out emails to each vendor with a reply-by date asking all your vital questions and ask for references. Do not be surprised if only a small few reply.
  9. Compile replies into your wedding binder and review. No need to rush on such an important decision!!
  10. Schedule a phone date to discuss your vision, budget and to see if your personalities are compatible.
  11. GET A CONTRACT!! Put it in writing to protect yourself and the vendor. Spending this much money on a specific vision and date is insane. I am not even trying to be cute with this one. I go full bridezilla when I hear the words, “We don’t do contracts.” Always get it writing, folks. Save a copy on your hard drive, wedding backup usb and a hard copy in your wedding binders.
  12. Be sure to document all emails and email money transfers in your wedding binder for fast reference when you’re on the go. This also encourages accountability from you both and provides you peace of mind knowing that if worse comes to worse- you can back up your demands. (Can you tell I have a Legal background? πŸ˜‰ )

Even after following these steps and you still haven’t found a vendor- don’t give up! It is a struggle for vendors to want to work with someone they cannot meet. They really have to put a lot of trust in you to reserve an expensive job based on a small deposit without looking you in the eye. If I were a small business, taking that kind of risk on would be something I probably would not do.

That being said, sometimes you need to beg and call in major favors. Finding a decorator and caterer were the most difficult part for me.Β  I found that I had the best luck by name dropping previous weddings they had worked on and complementing their work. Every ego loves a good stroke- specially those rooted in the hospitality industry. This may not surprise you either but money talks very loudly too. I was up front with my budget with all the vendors and I feel that worked in my favor as well.

Just make up a list of everything that is important to you while being realistic about your budget and start listing out questions that you feel need answering. Be sure to get pricing, packing information, cancellation policies, contract information, setup and take down info (is it included? extra?), do they require a meal at the wedding…So on and so forth. Are you picking up what I am putting down? I feel like I am putting down a lot. LOL

What are some things you suggest to finding the perfect vendor? πŸ™‚


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Gotta Have My Girls!

Woohoo! I am so excited. All five of my girls have agreed to be my Bridesmaids and the only thing left to do is to send out their gifts.

One of my Facebook friends was hosting a Stella and Dot trunk show and I thought it would be a great idea to shower my girls with some jewelry since they are blessing me with their presence. One of my favorite necklaces, On the Mark, and staple earrings, Sparkle Studs, are only available through Stella and Dot so I ordered one of each for all my girls. The hardest part of the whole thing was waiting for them to arrive in the mail.

After about 4 days of waiting they arrived and I am so excited! They look even better when they are all sparkly and new. Mine are starting to show their age. Maybe I should have ordered some for myself too. πŸ˜‰

Bridesmaid GiftBridesmaid Gift2

Giving a gift without a cute little card seems thoughtless so I wanted to include a personal touch. I love using PicMonkey. It is a free photo editing and graphic creator with the option to upgrade. I have used the arrow on the necklaces as my inspiration for my gift tag and am printing them off on high quality card stock. Here is what I came up with:

Candidly Carol: The Plus Size Bride - Bridesmaid Gift Tag

Did you do a bridesmaid proposal? How did you make it your own? πŸ™‚

 


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Va-va-va-Vino!

Oh my goodness. Where do I even start? This weekend was a bridal bonanza! Between getting my Bridesmaid Proposal gifts ready, picking out seating charts, invitations and sampling wines everything just flew by in a blissful blur. Megan and I really got stuff done and had a blast doing it.

It is no secret that I love a good glass of whatever is clever and I think wine is just fine! Having a bottle of wine last me throughout the week is something I really look wine2forward to. I call it my “liquid motivation.” LOL There are so many good wines out there to try and not enough time to do it.

A few of my girl friends and I have decided to do a bi-weekly Sip’n’Dip. We all bring a bottle of wine and a dip to try out.Β  Praise Jesus. He listened to my prayers! This certainly won’t help me fit into my dress but it will help me have some fun.

I think I am still recovering from all the wine we tried. There were quite a few Canadian wines tested and there were many that made the list. Prospect Reisling and Sibling Rivalry Rose were delicious for an easy sipping wine.Β  What are your favorite wines and regions?

Wine

Sandy and I have also been thinking about doing a champagne toast during our reception as well as having the same bubbly available at our rehearsal dinner. I love the sparkling moscato, Emari and Martini Asti but I think they might be too sweet for bulk of everyone’s taste buds.

Perhaps at the rehearsal we could purchase 3 different bubblies and different frozen fruit for garnish. Hrmmm…A bubbly bar might not be a bad idea. I do have an unhealthy love for mimosas.mimosa-bar

Have you thought about what wines you want to use at your wedding? What are your favorites? πŸ™‚


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Paper Flowers Everywhere!

IMG_2077

So I decided it would be fun to tackle a Pinterest project that I have been eyeballing for quite some time – Coffee Filter Flowers!

The reason I choose to try paper flowers is because I am having a paper flower ocean front themed wedding. It sounds like a hot mess but I swear there is method to my madness.

Our ceremony and reception venue is very affordable, 2 blocks from my Parents’ house and it is very basic. We have a very generous decorating budget but I want to throw in some individuality to break up the Decorator’s standard tulle, lights and chandeliers. Standard…Basic…Blah!

IMG_2085Sandy and I are getting married on our 4th anniversary so I wanted there to be a beautiful flower for everyday we have been together…and that means 1,460 flowers! Having that many fresh flowers would be so amazing but I hate the idea of harvesting that many; therefore, I am choosing not to support the flower trade. That is just my personal choice. I think fresh flowers look amazing at weddings and really add to the romance.  That is the feeling I wanted but needed a different option to bring the whimsy. Paper flowers were just what the doctor ordered.

With the help of a bottle of Cupcake Chardonnay I decided it was a DIY kind of night. Sandy was away for a few weeks so I had some time to burn.  Earlier in the week I raided the local Dollar Tree and bought 3 packs of coffee filters, flower wire, flower wire cutter, spray bottles (for misting with colour), a floral foam wreath, and some paint brushes. At Dollarama I picked up a mini glue gun, scissors, glue sticks and some sticker bling. That is all you need and of course- some time.

After a watching some tutorials (which I have listed below), I got busy snipping, clipping and folding. Here are the end results. I felt quite proud of myself and posted them on my Facebook page. I received a lot of positive feedback. They became easier  and quicker to make as I got into a rhythm.

Here are the final results from my first try! Sandy and my sister say “nope” to the bling stickers and I agree. They would be cute for a baby shower though but not a wedding. This bouquet is currently in my office at work. It looks great next to my coffee maker. πŸ˜‰

The Plus Size Bride: Coffee Filter Flowers

Hand painted coffee filter flowers made by Yours Truly in less than 2 hours. First try and look how great they look!

As mentioned above, here are a few tutorial videos that I followed to make my roses, carnations and peonies. They are so easy to make it feels criminal! Give it a whirl. You can make wreaths, gifts and home decor with them. They become addicting to make. πŸ™‚