Monday, April 30, 2012

Engagement shoot styling

The countdown is on to our engagement photos this Saturday.  How exciting!  Probably more so for me, especially since I told Derek he must try to limit the sodium in his diet this week so he doesn't look "puffy".

His response..."Definitely - we don't want no puff daddy in our pics." 

A detail you may not have known about my fiancé - sometimes he's gangster.  

Originally, we decided not to do engagement photos.  I didn't really see the point, and we already have quite a few couple photos.  But then our photographers, Steph and Neil from Stem Photography, told us that it is included in our picture package - pretty standard, we now realize - and so we got pumped about it!

If you are considering engagement photos, here are the reasons we decided to go for it:
  • they allow you and your photographer(s) to get to know each other, making your wedding day more comfortable
  • you will be able to practice poses and all the different facial expressions required for your shoot
  • after seeing your photos you will get a better sense of your photographer's style and way of shooting
  • you will see many pictures of yourself from all different angles, helping to remind and motivate yourself to keep doing your lunges or arm/shoulder exercises
  • you get to spend a couple hours with your honey, all dressed up, kissing and whispering sweet nothings to each other, looking cute as buttons!

We have also decided to take advantage of these pictures and use them for our save-the-date postcards.  

More to come on my save-the-date ideas.  For now, here's what I've been thinking about for our outfits...

I would like for us to wear two outfits, which means one wardrobe change, which makes me feel a little high maintenance...but since these are my engagement photos I'm going to take advantage of my bride status and just go with it.

Outfit Number 1

-black dress 
-yellow, black and white peep toes 
-gold necklace

I put this set together through Polyvore, and although none of the pieces are exactly what I'm wearing, it gives you a visual.  Pretty standard "Meaghan look".
black and yellow engagement

While I'm wearing my more dressy outfit, I would like to see Derek in 

-charcoal dress pants
-black gingham shirt
-slim fitting black suit jacket

I was thinking of doing a tie, but I can't decide.  I think the more casual unbuttoned look is pretty sexy.  

Outfit Number 2

-blue and green colour block silk T (the one below isn't it, but it's the same idea)
-black dress capris
-tall gray heels (mine are suede and leather, and don't have a platform like the ones below)
-gold accessories 

Engagement shoot


I like the look of gold accents with the blue and green (doesn't the colour combo look great on those earrings?!), so I'm going to do some shopping for fun jewellery this week.  

Or better yet...

**Calling all Ottawa friends - if you would like to lend me any jewellery, that works too!**

I love both of these inspiration looks, so I'm thinking for Derek

-brown leather shoes
-dark jeans
-white or light dress shirt 
-gray blazer 
-maybe or maybe not a tie?
-and glasses!  Derek will definitely need to wear his glasses for a few pics!


I have a few ideas for where we can take pictures, but since I already feel high maintenance with my wardrobe change, I don't want to make my photographers drive all over the city!

Here are my ideas
  • Stanley Park, by the river - one of our favourite parks.  We have enjoyed outdoor theatre and a few good picnics in this park.  It's also one part of our favourite running rout. 
  • Outside our new condo.  I thought it would be really neat to incorporate our new home into our photos.  The area is still somewhat a construction zone, but I think that might look pretty cool.
  • The ARC Lounge.  I would love to have some sexy photos taken at their bar and in the lobby of our wedding venue.
  • Since its prime time for the tulips, we will most likely take advantage of their beautiful colours.

Does anyone have any tips or suggestions when it comes to engagement photos?  

I haven't made any plans for the Friday night before our shoot so that I can do some pampering and ensure I'm well rested.  
I will make sure to bring comfortable shoes that I can easily slip on if we end up walking for miles.
I am also planning on bringing a few props, some specifically for our save-the-date.  I think I'll write another post about that, along with some of my favourite pictures I've come across online.

Oh yes - please help.  Tie or no tie?  And if you have some lovely jewels you would like to toss delicately pass my way, I would love you forever!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wedding crisis averted!

Last week I mentioned how The Fraser Café was no longer able to accommodate our wedding.  Thank you, by the way, for all the nice and encouraging messages.  It did help to hear about how other people got over their wedding planning hurdles, and reminded me that, in the end, if I am married to Derek, I will have had a successful wedding.

I was able to stay level headed as event coordinators from various other venues confirmed that yes, they were still available.  My biggest fear was that everything would be booked for NYE Parties and there would be no options!  We booked meetings as quickly as we could, the first being with The ARC.  Our meeting at The ARC was actually our one and only.  We fell in love so quickly that we felt comfortable cancelling the others and going with our gut.  Call it love at first second sight!

I've been to The ARC before and love the space.  Their lounge is chic, modern and very cozy, but at the same time has sort of a retro feel.  The space offers a mixture of design elements from dark wood floors, cement accents, a stone wall with a burning fire place, modern leather furniture and a bar that lights up!

It works perfectly for creating different zones and incorporates tables and seating for people to rest their feat.  Even though we are hosting a cocktail party and I expect people will be on their feet mingling and dancing most of the night, it is important for me that my guests feel comfortable and have the option to take a load off.

The ARC also uses red/orange in their décor, and the vibe is similar to that of the Fraser Café, so I don't plan on changing up my colour schemes at all.  I love the fact that I don't have to do much in terms of decorating the space.  As I mentioned before I plan on having white and red poinsettias in metallic pots, and they've confirmed they have all the candles I will need.

Our meeting went really well with Nadine Tremblay, their even coordinator.  She is experienced in planning wedding receptions and is very organized and enthusiastic.  She seemed just as excited about our wedding as we were, providing us with suggestions and numerous options for our food and beverages and the floor plan which she can arrange to suit our specific needs.

One of the major benefits to hosting our wedding at The ARC is the fact that it is a hotel.  We have a few guests coming from out of town who will be able to take advantage of this convenience.  Derek and I also plan to book our wedding night suite at The ARC and we couldn't be happier.

Finally, I can't forget to mention, the cost of hosting our wedding at The ARC is actually less than it would have been at Fraser Café!  Talk about a bonus!  Since we are saving a few bucks, we are looking into having a DJ instead of using our laptop/ipod like we had originally planned.

I'm so happy that everything worked out and we can't wait to be married at our new venue!

Friday, April 20, 2012

An emotional roller coaster!

Even though our wedding is over 8 months away, friends and family are always asking me for wedding plan updates.  I love this, since I love weddings (especially my own!), and have been so lucky since everything has been going so smoothly.  We are feeling pretty organized and have most of the key items taken care of (or so we on).

When I check out the to-do lists put together by wedding websites, like The Knot, I delete a lot of the items because they don't apply, but am pretty happy to see the following major items crossed off my list:

  • Set a budget and date
  • Book the venue 
  • Select the wedding party members
  • Book a photographer
  • Book an officiant
  • Find a dress
  • Schedule engagement photos
  • Put together a wedding website
  • We even booked our honeymoon this week!

I figure we are well position for the time being, and I am not going to stress about any minor details until the fall, since between now and August I am pretty busy with...

  • wedding showers (2)
  • baby showers (2)
  • bachelorette party (1)
  • weddings (4)
  • new babies (5)
  • our condo's closing date (July 23)

Not to mention all the other fun events (including MY BIRTHDAY!) that happen over the summer!  It's a little crazy, I realize.

All that to say, I was feeling on top of things until yesterday.

I was notified by The Fraser Café's Table 40 that they will unfortunately not be able to host our wedding.  

I know, it's really sad, but we will all live.

They have realized now, after being open for a few months and hosting several cocktail parties and other events, that they will just not be able to accommodate our needs and meet our expectations.  I am a pretty understanding person and realize mistakes happen, so I didn't go all bridezilla on the event coordinator for making promises he couldn't keep.  

I am slightly stressed that it might be difficult to find a similar venue within our budget since we are not only competing with weddings but also New Year's Eve parties.

The event coordinator suggested Urban Element as a good option.  I am anxiously waiting to hear back from them.  Meetings are booked with the event coordinators at Juniper and The Arc Lounge for next week.  And I am also waiting to hear back Sidedoor.

I would be very happy to get married and any of these locations.  And so far, I'm just relieved to know there is still availability.  (Juniper actually told me that their NYE wedding was just rescheduled a couple days ago, so the timing could be perfect if that location works out!)

I am telling myself that everything happens for a reason and we will be married at the location that is meant for us.  I think stumbling over this hurdle early in my wedding planning will help me realize that things can fall through at any time and I need to be ready to roll with the punches.  I'm sure a few other "disasters" will occur before our big day.  

Have any of you experienced fun surprises like me while wedding planning?  I think as long as I look fabulous the day-of and our guests are happy and healthy I will be fine.  

Yes - looking fabulous is at the top of my priority list.  I'm not ashamed of my wedding day vanity.  

Anyone have any other wedding venue suggestions?  I would love to hear about them if you do!

TGIF peeps!!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Don't forget about Craigslist!

As we count the days until we move into our new condo, I day dream (and night dream) constantly about furniture placement, wall colours, wall galleries, how to hid the television cables, if we will have enough storage....etc, etc, etc.  I roam furniture stores and browse online for inspiration, re-work our budget if I see and love something more get the point.  I'm obsessed.

Recently, I decided to check out what furniture was being sold on Craigslist.  I've purchased some great pieces off of Craigslist for my previous apartments, and even sold some items when moving.  I think it's a great resource.  

Unfortunately I don't usually seem to find many great deals - UNTIL TODAY!  

And I think I've figured it out.  People who have quality items to sell post strategically (like Friday afternoons - the day before people are planning to go weekend furniture hunting).  I get it now.

I've pulled together a few of my favourite Craigslist finds.  I'm not necessarily in the market for all of these items, but I think they are great deals and someone better take advantage of at least one of my stellar finds!

This charming hutch is selling for $300 (or best offer).  It looks to be in pretty good condition while offering plenty of storage and shelves to display whatever your heart desires.  

If I were to bring this baby home I would absolutely paint it out a nice, crisp white (maybe leave the natural wood detail like they did).  Ooooo, doesn't this one look beautiful?

However, I'm not sure how I would decide on a backing.  I love the light, robin's egg blue in the hutch above, but I think wall paper would also be stunning.  Honey Sweet Home did a beautiful job restoring her used hutch find.  I love how she picked up the gold detailed wallpaper with gold hardware.  It's so luxe.

This Victoria style couch may not appeal to everyone, but I think it's pretty cool.   And for $400 for the couch and matching chair, I'd say it's a decent deal!

Especially when you can funkify it into something like this awesome love seat by reupholstering it with some colourful, geometric fabric.  I can totally see it working in a kid's playroom or an entryway.  

This $175 vintage dresser had nice lines and great storage.   

It reminds me of John and Sherry's from Young House Love.  I'm not sure if you would be able to remove the stain, but if so you could do a great wood base with white top like they did.  

This one from Design Sponge is pretty awesome too.  I love how they used it as a television console.  

Or you could go all out and paint it a bright and cheerful colour like Erin did at Domestic Adventure for her nursery.  I love yellow in a nursery and her numbered knobs are the cutest thing I've ever seen.  (I should also mention it was her first Craigslist purchase and was only $10 - can't you believe that!?!?)

I found this great looking couch which looks to be in excellent shape for $600 (OBO).  With a few colourful accent pillows you're golden!

Anyone in the market for any (or all) of the above-mentioned furniture?  If not, maybe it has inspired you to look a little further on Craigslist?  

Which one is your favourite?  I can't decide between the hutch and the vintage dresser.  I want both!  

Happy Friday the 13th everyone - I hope you all have lovely weekends!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Movie theatre etiquette

I went to see a movie last night.  Not just any movie though - The Hunger Games!  I just finished reading the trilogy and my girlfriend, Ashley, just finished the first book.

First, let me say, I thought the movie was really, really great.  I loved Katniss' (she's so beautiful!).

The scenes of Panem were great and the Capitol fashion was pretty fun.  Effie was my favourite, I can't wait to see more of her.

We saw the 4:45pm movie, right after work, in a small theatre.  It was perfect because we were playing ball hockey together later that evening.  Since we came from work we had a couple bags with our ball hockey gear, along with some sandwiches Ashley picked up from our favourite German deli for dinner.  There were about 12 people in the whole theatre.  We had taken our shoes off, settled ourselves in nicely, we made ourselves comfortable.

The lights dimmed and the previews began as we got more and more excited to meet the characters we had fallen in love with in the book.  

Then, all of a sudden, a couple strolls in, walks down our row and the guy sits right beside me.  Like RIGHT beside me.

I looked over at Ashley and we sort of gave each other quizzical looks.  

What could I do?  

My personal bubble isn't very big, and I definitely expect to be close to people when I go to a movie theatre.  But when there are a hundred seats to choose from and someone sits RIGHT beside me (during The Hunger Games, when I have my shoes off and legs crossed, ball hockey gear on the ground beside me, and I'm enjoying my German deli sandwich with my best friend Ashley) I'm a little annoyed!

It all turned out to be fine in the end.  The guy ate his pop corn pretty quietly and leaned towards his friend on the other side of him.  Plus the movie was so captivating, I hardly noticed he was there.

But what do you think?  Strange behaviour?  Isn't there some type of movie theatre etiquette where this is totally unacceptable?