Customized Bride

Planning our wedding one custom at a time

Ah, the magic of Facebook. Love, revisited March 31, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — tonya @ 5:12 pm

So, lately I’ve dug up two old boyfriends on Facebook (ok, so one dug me up and I randomly ran across the other one) and it’s got me a bit retrospective. I’ve never been a big dater – I’ve had a total of 5 boyfriends in my life and, looking back, I am so amazed by how much each one taught me about myself. One taught me that smarts are important, one taught me what it’s like to love down to the very fiber of your soul and then learn how to let it go, one taught me that you can’t fix someone that’s broken; they have to want to fix themselves. (Fix You by Coldplay is a hopeless fantasy, IME.) My ex taught me the value of other human beings and to not be *so* solitary and sensitive.

It’s really interesting how the people you touch really become a part of you, whether or not you really want them to,  and even if you don’t know it at the time. And even though I’m not with them anymore, I still smile when I hear the right song, think of the right movie, or see a thunderstorm. And I always wonder about them when coming across these reminders, even though it’s been 15 years since I last talked to some.

I think what I’ve learned the most is to love the people you come in contact with. Even if they don’t become your best friend or soulmate- even if you never celebrate your 72nd wedding anniversary with them, you still will affect them. And you still have the choice to leave a mark that can result in a smile when they hear that certain song, or visit that certain place, or catch the right movie on Comedy Central in the middle of the night.

So, life’s lesson from my life’s few loves: be kind to one another! You never know what you’re going to mean to them.


Married since 1937, epilogue March 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — tonya @ 8:58 am

For those of you that might have read my post on the couple that had been married 72 years when the husband passed away, I just wanted to follow up and let you all know that his wife passed away this weekend. Just 34 days after he died. Isn’t that something?


Themes, themes, themes March 24, 2009

Filed under: wedding,Wedding Inspiration — tonya @ 10:20 pm
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So, as I posted earlier, I have really fallen off of the wedding planning train in the last month (and yes, I promise to be better!) I think that it just got a bit overwhelming and then life intervened and it all needed to go bye-bye for a bit. Which I think was a good thing. I needed to get some focus, especially after the *very* high-falooting wedding shows my mom and I attended. I needed to remind myself not to get caught up in it all. I just don’t need every amazing detail that I see on the amazing wedding blogs out there and at these shows- I don’t need menu cards and an aisle runner and handdrawn maps of Milwaukee. I just don’t need all of that stuff, as much as I *want* it. That being said, I still draw inspiration from many places and I will still be looking. And I promise to post here a lot of the goodies that I find and fall in love with along the way. 😉

OK so I hope that wasn’t a downer. It certainly wasn’t mean to be. AND now back to your regularly scheduled wedding programming!

So here is my latest conundrum. A wedding is supposed to be all about you both and reflect your personality and likes in every detail, right? Well I can’t simply seem to find ways to incorporate everything I want to incorporate! The things that are meaningful or representational of us all have absolutely nothing to do with each other. For example:

1. Ukrainian heritage. Sergei is from Ukraine, hence the pysanky theme that we started with. I feel very attached and devoted to this theme and don’t want to waver from it at all. And I want to incorporate some Ukrainian wedding traditions into the day as well. On the other hand, I don’t want the wedding/reception to look like a wing at a Ukrainian museum.

2. The Statue of Liberty. (Yes, that is totally random, but hang with me for a sec.) I am actually a collector of SoL memorabilia, and Sergei asked me to marry him at the statue, so this obviously has an even deeper meaning for me now. And of course, Sergei is a immigrant (and a citizen now) so naturally that all ties into the lady herself as well.

3. Art Deco. I simply love art deco. Art deco everything- interior design, fonts, fashion, and of course I am a *huge* Cary Grant fan so it would be fun to do a 30s Hollywood theme. I’d love to have some Art Deco touches to the whole thing.

And that is just the top 3. There’s also the Japanese origami kusudama decorations I *love* that I read about on Wedding Bee. Sergei loves origami (and Japanese culture in general) so it would fit well with us. There’s my Dutch heritage that has played a huge part in my life growing up in a Dutch town (windmills, delft, wooden shoes)  and my love of tulips that are not readily available in the fall. There’s how Sergei loves to sail and spent every summer sailing as a kid (and will probably spend this summer sailing as well.)

Etc. etc., ad infinitum. I feel that in this age’s trend towards ultimate customization down to the last detail, I just can’t seem to find a way to pick one or two main elements and let them stand for us as a whole. Anyone else faced this dilemma? How did you (or how are you planning to) create a wedding that reflects you adequately?


Back to planning

Filed under: Uncategorized — tonya @ 10:37 am

Hi all! I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and life has just gone completely crazy for a little bit there. Sometimes with balancing two jobs, taking a college accounting class, moderating the Lush Cosmetics forum and trying to maintain my life’s relationships, my little blog kind of gets put down to the bottom of the pile. I think I have like 1000 wedding blog posts to catch up on in my google reader!!

But I realize that time is coming up short, even if we are planning a fall 2010 wedding. No, we still don’t have the date! But we have narrowed it down a bit. I am working on a blog post for tonight, so please bear with me as I promise to get back in the swing of things 🙂

I hope you are all well and welcoming spring. In Wisconsin it’s supposed to snow this weekend! Am I allowed to cry? 😉


Jim Gaffigan on Cake March 6, 2009

Filed under: wedding cake — tonya @ 11:32 am
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In my previous post about cake, I referenced comedian Jim Gaffigan’s comment about cake. I absolutely adore Jim Gaffigan- I think he’s *hilarious*. I finally found a copy of his cake bit online that hasn’t been deleted so I just have to share it. It’s from his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, so you have to forward to about 0:54 to get into the bit about cake.

This still makes me LOL and I’ve heard it a million times. 🙂 And his new bit on bacon almost makes me cry, it’s so funny.



Thank You Notes

Filed under: wedding,wedding invitations,weddings — tonya @ 8:37 am
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Ah, the thank you note. That requisite piece of paper that shows your gratitude to everyone involved in your wedding, and heaven forbid you should forget anyone! According to Emily Post, we have 3 months to thank everyone for a wedding gift. Luckily, I don’t plan on having more than 50 people at my wedding, so that should not be a problem.  But besides the pleasure of sending those closest to you a token of your esteem, the fun part about thank you notes is that you have another reason to shop for more stationary. Yay!!

In my searching for wedding stationary, I have run across several invitations “suites”, where the RSVP cards, invitations, Save the Dates, all have the same motif. They all match, basically. I call shenanigans on this practice! I agree that the ceremony-related items should match, like the invitation, program, table cards, etc. They will all help to tie the theme of the wedding together. But I say let your fancy fly when it comes to save the dates and thank you notes. I will probably buy thank you notes in various quanities from various paperies as I go along, and send different thank you notes to everyone. That is the fun of it I think– more reasons to use and delight in more stationary! And these little gems are on my short list (and naturally they are all from Etsy!)

Letterpress Arts and Crafts thank yous in Green, by Armato Design. $12 for 6

Letterpress Thank yous by Orange Beautiful. $16 for 6.

Look at these beauties! Letterpress Yellow and Orange Wildflower thank yous by Twinravespress. $20 for 6.

Letterpress Elegant Scrolls thank yous in Blue again by Twinravenspress. $20 for 6

And if you have a French/modern theme going, how are these for fun? Lettpress Etienne thank yous from smockpaper. $14 for 6

What do you think? Should ALL stationary you use match, or are you going to go for the eclectic mix and match for thank yous?


Married since 1937 March 5, 2009

Filed under: wedding — tonya @ 7:00 am
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For those of you that don’t know me IRL or might not follow me on Twitter and don’t listen to me tweet about it, I am a hospice volunteer director. Which means I recruit and assign people to visit hospice patients. (Hospice is health care for people that have 6 months or less to live.) It’s very, very rewarding and it’s not nearly as scary as everyone seems to think 😉

This past week, a gentleman on our service passed away. He died of old age– his heart just finally gave out, and considering he was 95 years old that is not suprising. The unique thing about this man is that he and his wife had been married for 72 years.  Can you imagine? They were married in 1937. In 1937:

+Hitler was chancellor of Germany

+FDR was sworn into his second term as president

+America was in the midst of the great depression

+The Hindenberg exploded in New Jersey

+Most people still travelled long distance by train or oceanliner

+Telephones were all partyline

+Telegram was the way to send a quick message

+Amelia Earhardt disappeared

+I always think in terms of what was going on with Cary Grant at the time. (Yes, I know I am obsessed. Don’t worry, I’m OK with it.) Cary Grant was just starting to become famous. He starred in The Awful Truth, one of the first movies to seriously launch his career.

And *this* was what your wedding party might have looked like:

See this photo’s source for gorgeous early century wedding photos.

Think about everything these people lived through as a couple. WW2, the first man in space, the 60s social revolution, women’s lib… Really, the whole world changed since they fell in love and got married.

Sergei and I are in our mid-30s, so there is probably no way that we’ll reach our 72nd wedding anniversary. But I can’t wait to see how the world changes during our marriage. I hope we’ll be old and griping about “the kids these days!” and reminiscing about the invent of cell phones, Nintendo, VCRs, and days when you actually had to get up off your hinder and change the channel yourself.

And our patient’s wife entered onto our service this week. He has been gone just a week, and she’s dying of a broken heart.


What a weekend! March 3, 2009

Filed under: wedding,wedding planning — tonya @ 11:06 pm
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This weekend was a mad dash, but plenty of fun. I am still tired! (Looks like I need to stop working and get more of a life!)

We saw a ton of really cool dresses, cakes, invitations- just anything and everything. We attended two of the most expensive wedding shows in MKE– for free I might add, which makes my Dutch blood sing– and I have more brochures and pamplets and websites to review than I think I can ever tackle!

In re: the goals I set for this weekend:

1. Picking a date. Well, still not set yet, but we did narrow it down to be a Sunday. Which Sunday in August/September is yet to be determined! This week I will be setting up some time to take a look at a few different venues for the ceremony itself, and at that point we should be able to set a date. Interestingly, my mother made it very clear that she did *not* want me to have the same anniversary date as her and my father, and that she did not want the date to be on her birthday. Duly noted.

2. Firming up the budget. My parents did offer to help out with the wedding to the tune of a few thousand dollars, which is very good news. I think if we have it on a Sunday, their conribution can pay for the reception, so that would be a great relief.

3. Firming up the guest list. Done. I had forgotten to add my landlord, who owns the duplex in which Sergei and I have separate apartments. Other than that, we’ve got it covered I think. If every single person showed up, we’d have 40, so I am hoping 35 show up and we can call it good.

4. Wedding planner purchased. Done! I purchased the Bridal Bargains Wedding Planner:

$17.95 from Barnes and

I bought it more for the advice than for the note-keeping, as I have my handy dandy binder with my Russell + Hazel printouts. It’s got a ton of really good advice, however, which is what really sold me. Great ideas on how the wedding industry works and how to get the best deal. The book is positively garish–I swear the neon pink is going to burn my retinas, so this time Dutchy won out over my love for design.

One other thing that we decided was to have the rehearsal dinner be a backyard BBQ at my house (weather permitting.) I think this could be *great* fun, as I have an adorable back yard that will greatly lend itself to a BBQ and really cute decorations. I am already envisioning different ways to hang lights from the trees…..

So that’s my recap! And now on with the planning!


Wedding planning weekend February 28, 2009

Filed under: wedding,wedding planning,weddings — tonya @ 8:00 am
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Well, my house is still a mess. I need to do laundry, one final sweep of the bathroom and clean the catbox at the *least*, but in any case my mom is on her way from Nashville to spend the weekend with me doing wedding planning. It should be a good time, even though my mother and I have *completely opposite* tastes. I am not kidding- we are like night and day. I am 34 years old and I have never seen her without her nails done, and I have no idea what her actual natural haircolor is. My parents’ house is always immaculate. I, on the other hand, am putting on makeup at my desk once I get to work half the time and my house is a perpetual atomic-blast zone. She is Saks 5th Avenue, I am Etsy.

I still think it will be fun. My mom did 90% of the wedding planning for my first wedding, and it was an amazing over-the-top formal affair for 250 people that went off pretty much without a hitch. The wedding was gorgeous, even if the marriage wasn’t. (A side note: the moment my brand new husband said “I do” there was a huge clap of thunder overhead. Even God was like WHAT ARE YOU DOING!)

Anyway. My mother is a party-planner/organizer/entertainer extraordinaire so she will be giving me a good, constructive kick in the pants to get started really planning in an organized fashion. We are going to visit the hoytee-toytee bridal show, and hopefully that will get me inspired/motivated. At least a little bit. When she leaves Monday afternoon, I want to have the following completed:

1. Pick a date. Yes, we still don’t have a firm date planned. Part of it is budget– can we afford Saturday vs. Sunday or Friday night. Which leads to:

2. Firm up the budget. I am totally in denial about how much this whole thing is going to cost us. Which is closely related to:

3. Firm up the guest list. I have the preliminary one done, but I need to make sure that I am not forgetting anyone important. And the final number on the list will determine where I can afford to have the wedding.

4. Wedding planner. My mother, knowing my love of stationary, has offered to buy me one, which leads back to this debate. I will report which one I choose on Monday.

And we’ll see where else whimsy takes us. I will probably blog again on Monday. Have a great weekend everyone!


Engagement Photos? February 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — tonya @ 8:00 am
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I am just not sure about the whole engagement photo thing. Is it something we should invest in, or should we just save our money for the wedding? I think engagement photos can be a lot of fun (especially considering they’re so much more relaxed than when I got married the first time 11 years ago) but for some reason I just don’t feel like they are a very high return on investment. I think I’d rather save the money and hire a more expensive wedding day photog, but I am just not sure….

Do you think engagement photos are a true necessity, something nice or a waste of money?