Customized Bride

Planning our wedding one custom at a time

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?


Thank You Notes March 6, 2009

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!


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:


Wedding shoes February 24, 2009

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?