Stationery Drama

I was unaware that there could even BE drama regarding paper products, but apparently I was just too green to the issue.

I had been eyeballing the Vivian Elle website since before I was engaged.  I loved the modern style of the invitations.  Joey and I met in November with the owner, who is married to someone I went to school with.  I asked to see some samples of invitations and she kind of shocked me when she only brought a couple of invitations with her.  Her reasoning was because the invitations are completely custom…but how am I to make a decision without looking at all of the options?

I knew going in that I wanted a “pocketfold” invitation so she only brought those to show us.  She had us choose the colors that we liked from her color wheel.  She seemed nervous but was nice and punctual.  I loved the work that I had seen thus far and so we decided to book her after she provided us with a quote.  I mailed her our deposit check.

A couple days later, she emailed me saying that the color I had chosen for our RSVP envelope was not available in the color that I had chosen and apologized for the oversight.  I was a little annoyed but changed the color and moved on.

A couple of days after that, she sent me another email stating that the actual invitation envelopes didn’t come in the color that I wanted either.  I was pretty furious at this point.  I happen to think that if you are paying the extra price for custom invitations that you should be able to get whatever color you want.  I called Joey to bitch about it and he told me to ask her if she could order the envelope custom to the color that we wanted from her wholesaler.  She didn’t even know the answer and said that she would get back to me.  The next day she emailed me with the custom price, which I said that I would pay.

Her third email, which was the last straw, was a list of the colors that I wanted…and the color was wrong.  I have no idea how she got it wrong considering she was writing down everything that we were saying that we wanted.  I thought about it and realized that I just could not trust her to get the invitations right.

I emailed her and stated all of the problems, and that she should mail me my deposit back.  She responded by saying that I was totally right and that she was “incompetent with this project” (her words, not mine) and that she hadn’t cashed my check yet because of it.

The owner of Vivian Elle had showed me which paper company she used for her products, so I just went to their site and picked another vendor.  I found Custom Paper Works, whose website showcased some great work.  I emailed the woman and asked to set up a meeting.  She flat out refused to meet with me in person.  I’m sorry, you want me to spend over $1,000 with your company and won’t give me an hour?  I don’t think so.

By this time I was getting pretty perturbed because it had been over a month trying to find a vendor for this.  We ended up going with R.S.V.P. in Plymouth, which has a storefront where you can get a mimosa for your initial meeting and they have tons of options to look through.  I will say one thing that I wasn’t expecting was that upon our second meeting when we were going over wording, she expected me to know how I wanted to say everything.  I thought I would be receiving a little more guidance, but that’s really the only negative I have to say thus far.  They are very professional and on the ball.

Fast forward to January when we decided to use Minted for our Save the Dates.  Minted allows you to customize the placement of the text on the template that you choose.  I spent a long time figuring out where exactly I wanted everything to go.  When my proof was ready for viewing, the text was not where I had placed it.  I edited where I wanted it again and sent them a note telling them not to change anything.  Second proof…exact same problem.  You couldn’t even read the text!  They had white text spilling over onto a white background.  Tell me how that’s going to work out.  I finally made Joey call and complain and the next day the proof was how I wanted it.  The paper quality was good and the envelopes were nice so I’m happy with the end result.  I just wish it wasn’t so difficult to reach.

Image

Photo by Jeffrey Lewis Bennett

Advertisements

Shopping for Bridal Gowns, Part II

I bought my dress!!!

Saturday I went with the same crowd to my third and final bridal gown appointment.  (sad face) I’ll miss trying on the dresses but because of time constraints I needed to make an executive decision, and I knew that going in.  This appointment felt a little bit different because there was an added pressure…it was a little bit more “business” and less “dress up” than the first day.  If I didn’t find anything at the third store I was going to get the Val Stefani gown custom made that I found at B. Ella because they said that they could get it made the way I wanted.  Bella Bridal Gallery in West Bloomfield ended up having the gown that I was searching for.  It is a couture Victor Harper 2014, exclusively sold at Bella Bridal in Michigan, made in New York (which settles my mind a little bit considering a lot of gowns are manufactured in China.)  Interestingly Kenneth Pool is the designer but cannot put his name on it because he sold the rights to his name to another bridal gown designer; Victor Harper is his grandfather’s name.  I had found a Kenneth Pool gown about a year ago that I called to get a price on just to see and it was out of my budget, and I ended up with one of his designs anyway!

A word about Bella Bridal Gallery…what a great boutique!  We got tons of individual attention.  The owner was there, which is not something I saw at the other salons, and she spent a lot of time talking to my family while I was changing into gowns with my consultant, Ellen.  The cool thing about Ellen was she seemed to be on my side and understood the look I was going for, even without me articulating it very specifically.  I’ve seen way too many Say Yes to the Dress episodes where the bridal consultant stands by idly while the bride’s family tries to get the bride to wear a ball gown when the bride clearly wants to wear a mermaid.  There were a couple dresses I tried on that were absolutely beautiful but they were not me.  My family loved 99% of the dresses that I put on even though I was vetoing them rather quickly (which I will definitely take over them not loving what I love!) The dress that I ended up buying was the first dress that I tried on.  My family kept saying how much they loved the top, which I laughed to myself about because the top was almost exactly the same as the Lazaro that they didn’t care for at Bridal Couture of Birmingham.  I didn’t mention it though…no point.  After I looked through all of the dresses in the store and decided that I wanted to try on the original dress for the second time, the owner brought over earrings, a necklace, and a veil, dimmed the lights, and I came out of the room in full garb.  Everyone started crying which I was NOT expecting.  I ALMOST cried when I saw they were crying but I kept it together.  My mom said that how I looked was how she had imagined I would look on my wedding day.  Now, when I watch Say Yes to the Dress and I see the consultants putting brides into veils and jewelry, I actually didn’t think I liked that because I feel like sometimes they are playing on everyone’s emotions by showing the bride what she will look like on her actual wedding day and when she has an emotional reaction it will make her more likely to buy the dress.  However, I didn’t mind it in this case because I was already pretty sure that this was the dress and it was nice to see what it would look like with everything pulled together, and it ended up creating a very special moment for me.

I found a  photo of my dress online and it is much more beautiful in person and looks way better on me than it does on the model…which I am more than shocked and happy to be able to say.  There was a reason that I wasn’t 100% sure about getting the custom gown from B. Ella, and I am glad I didn’t settle.

Also…why are veils so god damn expensive???? No.  I’m not paying $400 for a veil.  It’s just not going to happen.  They have trunk shows (a show where the designer or a representative for the brand is available and discounts are offered) for bridal accessories so I am going to try and get one there.

Brides: please be mindful when you look at gowns that you will need to also be purchasing undergarments depending on your dress type, such as a slip or a hoop skirt; alterations which are usually not included in the price of the gown; and take into consideration the retail tax, which can really add up for such a pricy purchase.  Sixty percent of the price is usually due at the time of purchase before the salon will place your order.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I can’t believe I got my dress.  It’s all I could think about all weekend.

The Pinterest Bride

One of the first things my MOH said to me after I told her I was engaged was “I just made a Pinterest!!”  I thought, Shit, now I have to make one.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the direction it has provided me.

If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what Pinterest is, it’s a social media site where you can search for things like recipes, workouts, and decorating, and if you see something you like, you “pin” it to your online board to add to your collection.  The best way I can describe it is a Dream Board with links.  Pinterest hasn’t been around for long so brides today are lucky to have this resource to go to for collective creative brainstorming.

When I first signed up and looked for wedding related images, my searches were very general and therefore I wasn’t getting the kind of results that I wanted.  If you just search “wedding” you’re going to get all different kinds of wedding related items that are probably not what you are really searching for.  Once I started searching for things like “black and white wedding” or “white rose centerpieces” I got more images that helped me put together an idea of what I want my wedding to look like.

Another of the ways I have used Pinterest is for my bridal shower.  I made my bridal shower board available to be pinned on from my bridesmaids, and so they can see what I like and when they pin something that isn’t my style, I just delete the pin!  This is how Rachelle and I decided on my shower invitations and I think it makes it a little easier on everyone to have a clear vision of each others ideas, although some things that we may like may not always be feasible.

Enter:  The Pinterest Bride.  I’ve seen so many boards with hundreds of photos that say “I am definitely doing this at my wedding.” Although I have found Pinterest to be very helpful for putting together ideas, especially for someone who is not especially creative such as myself, I have also noticed that most of the decorating photos are professional photos and many of them are taken at $100,000+ events.  I feel like this raises expectations for the everyday bride, and when their event inevitably doesn’t look as grandiose as the weddings on Pinterest, they will be disappointed.

Secondly, because so many people are pinning photos of “Do It Yourself” decorations that look amazing and are no doubt a bitch to put together, this is going to put some serious pressure on brides who are having a mostly DIY wedding.  I tend to think DIY brides are a little nuts…there is enough to do already when planning a wedding without individually putting together every piece of it.  Please consider that most of those super cute DIY items you’re seeing have not been prepared by the bride but by an event coordinator who pays someone to do it as part of the decor.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE DELETE THE MESSAGE FROM THE PINNER BEFORE YOU.  When you are pinning an item, the message from the last person who pinned the image remains there until you delete it or write your own.  It’s so weird when I see “My daughter Celeste really likes this cake!” when you most definitely do not have kids.  Use the message box to write the reason for pinning the photo or to write a little note to yourself about it.

Pinterest has been the perfect addition for those planning a wedding to gain inspiration, but being inspired does not mean that your event needs to look exactly like the one in the photo.  Remember to keep your expectations realistic.  My advice is to think about what exactly it is that you like about the photos you’ve pinned  and then share them with your floral or event designer and let them take care of the details.  It’s their job to make your vision come to life within your budget, and having photos to see what your style looks like will help them bring your event together perfectly.

My wedding Pinterest board:  http://www.pinterest.com/jessiestacks/wedding-inspiration/

Updates

Imagine my surprise when I log into my Knot account and my upcoming “to do list” had gone from 130 to 75.  WHERE DID ALL OF MY TASKS GO?  I started looking through them and discovered that apparently the website did a complete overhaul of their checklist.  YOU CAN’T JUST DO THAT, KNOT.  I had already gone through and deleted the tasks that were not relevant, so now I am faced with trying to figure out for myself which tasks have been removed??????????????  I’ve only figured out five. 😦  I looked at a few other websites but no other checklist was as detailed.  The greatest thing about The Knot checklist was that it included everything so that you don’t forget the little stuff, and now a lot of the little stuff is gone.  If I forget something the day of the wedding no one is going to want to be around me.

Last week Joey and I registered at Macy’s.  IT WAS SO FUN.  Definitely my favorite part of the wedding preparations thus far.  There was a lot of “What is that?  WE NEED IT.”  We kept each other in check and didn’t put anything on the registry that we won’t use.  Your registry gets auto imported into the Macy’s website so you can go back and change things if you need to update quantities, decide you don’t want something, or you accidentally register for something when your fiance “sees what happens” when you press the button from far away.  We went on a weekday so that the mall wouldn’t be crowded and we didn’t feel rushed.  It took us about two hours.

Our second registry is with Z Gallerie.  I found them when I was looking for something that Jeff Lewis used on Flipping Out because we love his style.  We used this website more for the home decor type items.  Registering online sucks.  It’s not that fun and it takes forever to go through everything.

A couple people have asked if we were going to register at all since we “already have everything.”  I beg to differ.  We moved in together when we were 19 so most of our kitchen stuff is cheapo.  Our dining sets are a hodge podge, our pans are all warped on the bottom, and much to the chagrin of Rachelle and my mom, we don’t own a coffee pot.  We also have completely different taste than we did 8 years ago.  We have updated a couple of things along the way but there are still quite a few things that we need.  You’re basically an idiot when you’re that young and our tastes have become much more modern and refined.

We went over to my parents’ house over the weekend to address Save the Dates.  I thought I wanted to print and my mom thought they should be in cursive.  According to Joey, “cursive is dead.”  We each addressed one and hers looked way better so we did them all in cursive.  Joey was in charge of stuffing and stamping envelopes because if he were involved in writing they would all be returned to sender.