Customized Bride

Planning our wedding one custom at a time

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?


Matryoshka <3 February 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — tonya @ 9:13 am
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I have always loved matryoshka dolls. (Funny how in some ways I really do think I was engineered to fall in love with a Soviet.) When I was a child, a family friend of ours had a set of authentic matryoshkas and when we would visit I would sit and take them apart and put them back together for hours while my parents visited with their friends. I just love them. I was thinking about including a matryoshka somewhere in our motif, but I think it might just be ethnic overkill with the pysanky going on already. Plus, they are really Russian, not Ukrainian. And ask any Ukrainian– there IS a difference!

And somehow, it seems that they have suddenly become popular in the past year or so! Suddenly my beloved matryoshka are everywhere and I am *loving* it!

From top down, left to right:

1. Lavender Nesting Dolls from Handle & Spout 

2. Tshirt from Etsy’s MaryInk 

3. Matryoshka Pouch from Etsy’s simbiosisbyjulia  

4. Matryoshka Notebook by Etsy’s bismo080 

5. Custom Rubber Stamp by Etsy’s babyjewels 

6. Matryoshka Hand Carved Stamp by Etsy’s craftpudding 

7. Matryoshka tea towel by Etsy’s SweetPeaandCo

And then….. for the nerds out there like Sergei and I, these nesting dolls are just awesome!

star wars dolls

star wars dolls

Star Wars Matryoshka from Neatorama


Matryoshkus Blanco by ArtLebedev

And then I just have to post this one in full size because it’s so beautifully detailed. It’s a template for printing paper and stickers, etc., from A Print A Day (And at $3.99, you know I ordered one!)


More Wedding Invitations! February 25, 2009

More lovlies from those hardworking indies over at my beloved  I think that I am having some real spring fever, because the flowered invites I am running across are seriously putting a smile on my face.

Katie” Letterpress by Bellis Studios. Isn’t this a fun suite for a fall wedding?

I *love* gerber daisies so this suite really is a favorite of mine as well. “Gerber Daisy” by Cheerupcherup:

Cheerupcherup’s Sunburst Save the Date is rocking my world too:

I am also loving the whimsy of “Rings” by SilhouetteBlue:


“Milwaukee’s Magnificent Bride” Bridal Show February 24, 2009

OK so I realize that very few of you reading this blog are Milwaukee brides, but I still have to ask: anyone else going to the Milwaukee’s Magnificent Bride bridal show on Sunday? I got free tickets through Broadway Paper (thank you Tracie!) and my mom is coming into town to do some wedding planning, so this should be a good time. It’s at the very high-end Pfister Hotel and the tickets for the show came in a hand-calligraphied envelope on shiny champagne colored paper, so apparently I am going to be in tall cotton. I hope I don’t fall in love with everything I can’t afford!

Have you been to a bridal show lately? Was it helpful in planning?


Wedding shoes

I am six feet tall, which has always made shoe shopping a challenge. I just really can’t wear high heels without looking like a complete giant. That being said, it doesn’t stop me from drooling over super cute shoes I know I won’t be able to wear!

One of my favorite companies is Chinese Laundry. Their shoes and bags are *so* cute.

I am loving these for wedding wear: (these are all available in other colors too)

Jemmy“- on sale for $50!

Baldwin“- I can’t imagine not falling on my keyster- but so cute! ($60)

And for something blue: “Mystic“- on sale for $40!

Apparently I like rhinestone/funky buckles. 🙂

I am also *really* excited about Lela Rose teaming up with Payless shoes to create a line of custom dyeable wedding shoes. (Lela Rose is the maker of the dress I desperately want.) Now that’s what I am talking about! The venture is called Unforgettable Moments, and apparently they are available in stores now with the website getting ready to launch in March. I can’t wait!

Even the shoes in this preview shot are adorable. Cost effective stylish shoes make me *so* happy.


Marriage prep class February 23, 2009

Sergei and I are taking a marriage prep class through our local church. It is a prerequisite to being married there, and I think it’s a good idea overall anyway. Especially considering both of us are on the second go-around. It’s weird, because you would think that we’d already know everything about marriage considering we’ve “been there, done that”, but I think that actually you are twice as cautious entering into marriage the second time around. We both know that it’s not all wine and roses and sugar-coated happiness. Marriage is hard. It’s having someone in your space 24/7, and having to make a conscious decision to respect and care for another human being, even when they’ve hurt you and you don’t even want to see their face.

The book our church is using for our class is Preparing for Marriage by Dennis Rainey:

(image courtesy of, where this book is $10.19)

It is a good book. It asks a lot of hard questions, and it has space for you to write your responses. The idea is to read the chapter, write down your answers to the questions and your fiance do the same, and then you share your answers. So far we haven’t had any big surprises, but it is interesting to read a question and think “oh I know just how my fiance is going to answer this”, and then actually hear them read their answer. Even if it’s what you expected, it’s still very validating to hear them say it.

I highly recommend this book, but it is based on a Christian perspective and Christian ideas. And if that is not your way of thinking, there is another great book I can recommend. I actually saw it on Oprah a few years back and gave it to my good friend as a shower gift and she and her fiance answered the questions together on a road trip they went on. I think there’s a lot of the same questions but without the Christian angle. 😉

It’s called The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Say “I Do” by Susan Piver:

(image courtesy of, where the book is $10 now $4.49!)

The good friend I gave it to absolutely loved it. She and her now-husband had been dating quite awhile and had one of those “I think I know it all about him/her” feelings going as well until they read the book together and it opened up some undiscovered territory for them. I have this book but I haven’t gone over it with Sergei yet, but we probably will.

Have you done any marriage-prep classes or read any similar books with your mate or mate-to-be?