Sunday, October 31, 2010

Figuring the Flowers

Oy…flowers.  The one downside of planning a wedding in a different city is trying to figure out where to go for flowers.  There are so many florists in Vancouver that it is so daunting to try and narrow things down.  I really wanted to set up consultations while we were in Vancouver in the fall so I tried two plans of attack for finding a florist.wil-W090815_023

Image by Next Exit Photography/Amber Events/via Style Me Pretty

Posting a question on online forums:

A few different florists were recommended to me via a query I posed on a few Vancouver specific online wedding forums.  I then scoped out their websites, however the florist with the most number of glowing reviews didn’t have much of a website to speak of.  No portfolio online at all.  I did e-mail her to ask about setting up a consultation but then I didn’t hear back.  Finally two weeks later I got a bounce back e-mail from her Blackberry saying that the message hadn’t been delivered.  Given the lack of pictures and the difficulty in getting a hold of her I didn’t attempt to contact her again about a consultation.

The Google Map:

Yup, I plotted up different florists in Vancouver on a Google Map and then started scoping out their websites.  I nixed anyone who mostly had standard Teleflora bouquets and arrangements posted on their site as I was looking for something a little different.  I then contacted two different florists.  One asked me right away what my budget was and could I please send him my inspiration photos so he could be prepared for the consultation.  Two days later he e-mailed me back a full quote on bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, arrangements for the church (?), and more things that I hadn’t actually asked for.  Then he told me that if I paid in cash he’d save me money and not charge me tax.  Sounded pretty sketchy to me so I declined to meet with him in person.10450.purple-bouqet-flowers-atlanta-bouquet-.jpg.resize

Image by East Main Photography via weddingbee

Despite these two not so great experiences I did wind up having two really great consultations though, so stay tuned for the results of that!

Did you have any interesting experiences while trying to arrange consultations with vendors?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blitzing the Body

According to my checklist on The Knot (so far the one I seem to like the best) it is time to start getting in shape for my wedding.  For those of you who know me from my original blog, Runner Leana, you are probably thinking that I should be able to check this off right away.  After all, didn’t I finish Ironman Canada on August 29th60069-400-008f And…aren’t I training for the Disney World Marathon in January? 25142-1110-022fSure, I am…but I definitely want to work on strength training to tone up.  After all, who doesn’t want to look buff in their wedding dress? 

I’ve been hitting up some strength classes at my gym on Wednesdays at lunch.  The most popular class is Total Body Blitz at 11:30.  Sign up for the class opens up 15 minutes before the class start and if you haven’t lined up for the sign up before that you are out of luck.  I just made it into the class today, but I realized that I had forgotten my sneakers upstairs in my office.  By the time I grabbed my sneakers and changed I was one of the last people getting set up in the studio.  All of the good weights were taken and there were only 12.5 lb dumbbells and 4 lb dumbbells left.  Yikes, 12.5 lbs is a little heavy and 4 lbs is pretty light.  I grabbed them anyway and hoped for the best.

We then ran through a whole bunch of upper body strength exercises using our heavy weights.  So many different variations on a bicep curl.  Who knew?  I kept up for the first bit, but as we neared the end of the upper body work my arms were super fatigued and my form was suffering.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to switch to push ups in my life!

Now?  I’m finding it challenging to lift my glass of water for a drink!  Reminder to myself for next time – get to class earlier so I can grab weights that will be more effective.  On the plus side, at least I know I worked my muscles today though!

What steps are you taking to get in shape for your wedding day?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Brock House Wedding Show

One of the bonuses of having our engagement photos in Vancouver this weekend was that we were able to go to the Brock House Wedding Show!  This would give us a chance to check out our venue again, taste some appetizer and cake samples and meet some vendors.  FH was a good sport and tagged along for the event.  Thanks FH!  IMGP2415 It helped to answer a lot of questions I was having so it was definitely a useful afternoon.  There was so much going on with hair styling and lash extensions taking place upstairs…a fashion show…the place was hopping!

DJ Services

Because the Brock House is an old heritage house we have a restriction on who we can use for DJ services. 

Namely we have one DJ that we can use. 

Hot Hit Productions.  I’ve e-mailed back and forth with the owner, but now we were able to meet and talk about things a bit more.  We can book a 7 hour package that will take us right through from the ceremony to shutting down the reception at 1 am.  They have a wide catalogue of songs we can choose from and we can detail what songs we want for what events, write up a do not play list, and even bring an iPod if there is anything that we want that might not be available in their catalogue.  I’ll be honest, I’m not that wild on only have one choice for a DJ, although I suppose it helps to narrow down our options since we are booking from afar.  We don’t want to have a DIY iPod reception so we would have booked them regardless.  At least now we’ve had a chance to talk to them in person before booking though.

Cake Tasting

We got to taste cake!  Sweet Thea was there with some super yummy cake bites….a rich chocolate with chocolate buttercream, and a light vanilla cake with the most amazing passion fruit puree filling.  Cannot wait for our official cake tasting later… IMGP2384IMGP2386

Appetizers, Desserts and Wine, oh my!

There were plenty of waiters with trays of passed appetizers.  Everything we tried was very tasty – salmon and avocado bites, goat cheese stuffed pickled peppers, and mini grilled cheese sandwiches.   IMGP2370 IMGP2372  And then we walked into the room with all of the desserts… IMGP2378IMGP2380 Oh my gosh…a decadent tiramisu.  Cream puffs.  Mini tarts.  Caramel apples.  Pudding cups.  Cheeses.  Oh yeah, you bet I tried the desserts out!  Plus, did I mention there was wine?  Peller Estates supplies the house red and white for the Brock House and we each received a complimentary glass.  The wine is definitely quaffable.IMGP2403All in all it was a fun event.  There were plenty of door prizes given out, all the brides received a flower from Flowerz, plus a gift bag from Jeweliette complete with a pair of pearl earrings. IMGP2413IMGP2558 

What are my final thoughts on the Brock House Wedding Show?

  • The event is definitely worthwhile if you are planning on getting married at the Brock House.  Since we had an event booked already we received one complimentary ticket.  FH’s ticket was $45 at the door though, so pretty pricey.  Given all of the food being served, plus the fact that there were adult beverages made the cost of the ticket a bit more understandable.  Since there are a limited number of vendors this wouldn’t be very useful if you were looking to meet several different florists, etc.
  • Know the vendors that you want to see.  I wanted to chat with the DJ and the cake suppliers so I made sure to suss them out and knew what questions I needed to ask.
  • Definitely stay to the end of the fashion show.  Wow, they were giving away some great prizes!  Free marriage commission services, gift cards to put towards flowers, hair, make up, cake…  Gift bags from The Bay…  Most of the women walked out with something it seemed like!
  • Don’t be afraid to come on an empty stomach.  Seriously…there was so much food available for tasting and it was all so good!
  • Bring a bag.  I brought my handy dandy purple bag and it was great to haul around my camera and it had plenty of room for stashing the gift bag and all the other flyers and business cards I managed to pick up. IMGP2499

Monday, October 25, 2010

Saying So Long Vancouver!

Wow, what a weekend it has been here in Vancouver! 

We had our engagement pictures taken on Friday afternoon.  I can’t wait to see them!  We mixed it up with plenty of pictures around Stanley Park with the fall leaves in the background, then amongst the vintage buildings and old alleys of Gastown as the sun was setting.

I was able to meet with a few florists in town here for consultations on bouquets.  I’m just waiting to get one quote back, then I think I’ll be able to make my decision on the florist.

We went to the Brock House Wedding Show.  I’ll have plenty to say about that too!IMGP2501We tried out a few different restaurants keeping them in mind for our rehearsal dinner location.

We were able to have dinner with my grandmother, aunt and a couple of cousins, giving FH a chance to meet a few more of my family members.IMGP2528

Plus, today we are meeting with a marriage commissioner!  And then hopping on a plane and heading home…

I hope everyone else had a great weekend too!  What did you get up to?

Friday, October 22, 2010

The bag left behind…

Yesterday afternoon the FH and I booted it down to the Calgary airport to board our flight for beautiful, rainy Vancouver.  We made it to the airport early (90 minutes early to be exact) in the hopes that we could board the flight that left at 18:15 instead of 19:15.  Alas, there was only one seat left on the earlier flight so we checked in for our original flight, made our way through security, and passed the time at the Chili’s.


The flight went off without a hitch and we even landed in Vancouver a few minutes early.  To help save time I left FH by the baggage carousel to collect our things and I ran down to Avis to get our rental car.  It took awhile for me to get the car as the girl working at the counter was trying very hard to up sell me from a Hyundai Sonata to a Chrysler 300 (with leather seats and XM radio for your comfort!).  I stuck with the Sonata though, got the keys, but still no sign of FH.

I made my way back to the baggage carousels and there he was.  He had his suitcase and there were a few lone bags circling around.  As we stood there the carousel stopped. 

Really?  But my suitcase hasn’t arrived yet and our suitcases were checked in together!

I made my way to the Air Canada baggage claim desk and just as I got in line my phone rang.

“Um, hello…is Leana there?  Hi, this is Air Canada baggage at the Calgary airport.  We have your suitcase here in Calgary.”

What?  But I’m in Vancouver…

Well, when we checked in the claim tags were each put on a bag, however FH’s tag was put on my suitcase and my tag was put on his.  However FH does not have any identification tags on his bag (something that we talked about in the car on the way to the airport but then slipped our minds while at the airport).  I have three, all proclaiming my last name which is different from his (and on the claim tag).  Airport security flagged my bag and didn’t send it on my flight.

What really gets me is that at no point did baggage call me before the flight and we were there 90 minutes early.  Nor did baggage ask the plane crew to relay a message to determine whether the bag should be on the plane or not.  They just didn’t put the bag on the plane and didn’t contact me until it was too late for me to receive the bag that night.  So here it is, Friday morning…the day of our engagement photo shoot…and I have no clothes or toiletries.  All I know is that I’ll receive my bag sometime today.

So anyhow, FH and I did what anyone else would do.  We drove downtown, checked into our hotel, and then went to Bin 941 where hopefully good food and beverages would be able to ease our my sorrows.DSCN4420 DSCN4421Grilled lamb chops, tzatziki, greek salad, fried olives, spanakopita, lemon roast potato…so good!DSCN4417Piping Shrike Shiraz from Australia’s Barossa valley.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that my bag arrives soon!  Did you ever lose your suitcase at a very inopportune time?

*UPDATE* Yay, it is here!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Topping It Off

I don’t know if I have mentioned before that I lurve etsy. Really, it is official.

Amazing handcrafted jewellery? Check!
Stunning hair pieces? Check!
One of a kind boutonnieres? You betcha!

My latest love is for custom made cake toppers. After all, how beautiful is this one from Lollipop Workshop?

il_fullxfull.174449408Custom cake topper via lollipop workshop on esty

Or this one from MilkTea?

il_fullxfull.182530711 Custom cake topper via Milk Tea on etsy

I love that these cake toppers will be made to match your hair colouring, if you have glasses, even the style of dress you will be wearing. Just amazing!

What about going in a different direction with love birds?

il_fullxfull.222460610Image via strawberries and cream on etsy

il_fullxfull.209016841Image via Brittania modern art & design on etsy

il_fullxfull.233181586Image via Bent Branch on etsy

Mr. Gazelle loves them too and is totally on board. We’ll have to see if it fits in the budget, but he views it as a keepsake from the big day.

Which cake topper is your favourite?  What are you topping your cake with?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Doing the DIY

I’ve been hinting that I’m keen to tackle a few projects for the Gazelle wedding, but I haven’t actually said too much about what they are!  So, what is on the list?

  • Save the Dates – Our engagement photos will play a big role in our Save the Dates and I’m excited to get the design done once we’ve got our photos!
  • Invitations – I have a big vision in my head, complete with pocket fold invites, ribbon detailing, an embossed bicycle, and this amazing bicycle scrapbooking paper.IMGP2260
  • Hair Flower/Fascinator – I haven’t spotted a hair flower I love enough to purchase so I plan on making mine instead.
  • Flower Girl’s Accessory – I have a fun way for our flower girl to say “Here Comes the Bride!”
  • Programs, Menus, Table Numbers – You can bet that the embossed bicycle will be making an appearance on some of these items!
  • Guest Book – I purchased a Groupon for Photobook Canada with the intention of using it for our guest book.  Once again, I’m sure our engagement photos will play a big role in this project!
  • Photobooth Accessories? – Mr. Gazelle and I both love the idea of a photobooth, and our photographers definitely have that option!  If it fits into out budget we hope to have one.  Fun fake moustaches anyone?

photobooth-1 Image via Sakura Photography

There we go, that is the list so far!  I’m sure that I’ll find a few other things to add to the list along the way.

Did you decide to tackle a lot of DIY projects for your wedding?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Standing the Test of Time

Ever since I had my makeup tutorial at Sephora and MAC the other week I’ve been  making an effort to wear makeup more often.  After all, I need to practice putting the stuff on, right?

First off a bit on my skincare regime!  I start off the morning with Philosophy’s Purity face washpurity_made_simple_re_a1 I’ve been using this face wash for about six months and I love it!  I’ve tried so many different kinds of face wash – drug store brands, department store brands, and this is the first time I’ve been happy with how my skin looks.  I follow that up with Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar moisturizer.  The smell is kind of so so, but it is lightweight, sinks right in and doesn’t feel heavy.hope_in_a_jar_re_a1

Today I tried out the Dior Airflash foundation for the first time after my skin was primed.  Just spray your face in a z (with your eyes shut), then blend with a foundation brush or sponge.  It didn’t take much and it gave a nice matte finish.

I used a little of MAC’s paint pot on my upper lids as a primer (I still have to crack open my Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion).  I followed it up with a bit of my purpley eye shadows and liner and Two Face Lash Injection mascara.  Good to go to work!  I then put the make up through a test by taking a 60 minute cardio pump class over lunch.  I sweated my way through a class consisting of 40 minutes of cardio, plus some strength moves.  And seriously, it was so hot in gym!

How did my makeup fare?  It was amazing!  No raccoon smudges of mascara underneath my eyes.  The shadow on my lids still looks exactly like it did before I left for work.  No smutz in the crease, which used to happen all the time.  And my skin still has a nice finish, no shininess after the workout and a quick shower.  Unbelievable!

Now I know my makeup can last through a workout I feel confident that I can apply my makeup to last throughout the day, be it at our engagement photos or on our wedding day.  Now I just need to keep practicing my eyeshadow applying techniques!

What is your favourite beauty product?

Visiting the Land of Fabric

Also on my list of things to do on the other weekend was visiting fabric stores.  I was on the hunt for two different things.

First up?  Ribbon for invites.  I have a big idea in my brain for the invitations that I’m planning on DIYing.  I can’t wait to share what these invitations are going to look like!  I’ve already picked up almost all the materials to create a mock up, I just haven’t had a chance to pull it together yet.  I’m still looking for idea generation though!  For the closure on the invites I found this picture for inspiration from Paper Circle

Inspiration-Gallery-3cImage via Paper Circle’s Inspiration Gallery

I haven’t found any ribbon at Michaels that I liked so I wanted to see what other options existed at a fabric store.  I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but I figured I would know it when I saw it.  Hmm, maybe not this one with the coins…DSCN4395I liked this narrow white ribbon with silver edging.  It is a good possibility.  DSCN4396

I also like the idea of baker’s twine though…

Oyster-1Image of Oyster Divine Twine via Whisker Graphics

From the ribbon I moved to looking at fabric possibilities for the bridesmaid dresses.  I wonder how the girls would feel about some fun fake fur?  DSCN4406 Or maybe some purple pleather?  No?  DSCN4397I love this oriental fabric but it doesn’t quite go with the style of the wedding.  DSCN4398The fabric I like the best is silk dupioni, but they didn’t have any in the colour I was looking for.DSCN4403There was definitely plenty of purple out there, but it was a silky kind of fabric that isn’t quite the look I’m going for.

So what look am I aiming for?  The girls and I all love these bridesmaid dresses from Alfred Sung.  In an effort to save some cash and because my mom is an uber-talented seamstress she’ll be making the dresses for us.  Thanks Mom!

D444Alfred Sung Style D444/Image via Toronto Dresses

D438Alfred Sung Style D438/Image via Toronto Dresses

I’m scoping out pattern books, but that is the inspiration!

What did you do for your bridesmaid dresses?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Antiquing it Up

The other day Mr. Gazelle had some studying to do so I decided to get out of the house and do something a bit out of character.  I decided to hit up some antique stores.

You see, I blame etsy.  There is so much awesomeness on there!  Pictures of beautiful milk glass cake stands ruffled hobnail milk glass one have me drooling over prettying up our wedding cake.

il_fullxfull.178690736Image via havenvintage on etsy

I googled antiques in Calgary and decided that Heirlooms Antiques seemed like a good place to start.  This store was amazing!  All kinds of beautiful china, chests, crystal and glass.DSCN4394Royal Doulton figurines.  Vintage purses, gloves and hats.  Old milk bottles, food tins.  They had a pretty good number of old Herend figurines, including this one:DSCN4393My mom is from Hungary and we visited the factory while visiting family as a child.  I was always drawn to the lady playing the guitar.  The one for sale at Heirlooms Antiques is about a foot tall.  Love it…but it is a little out of the budget…

Anyhow, there were quite a few gems there and I managed to pick up three things I’m in love with.  First up?  I was hoping to find a jewellery box so I could graduate from the tiny organza bags collected in a Ziploc bag that I’ve been using. IMGP2320Next up, was this gorgeous Fenton milk glass covered dish.  I honestly have no idea of what I’ll use it for, I just really liked it.  I could see a love affair with milk glass starting…IMGP2314And finally, this glass cake stand.  I couldn’t find one in milk glass there, but I think this one is simple and pretty.IMGP2313From there I popped into Urban Barn and found this super cool antique looking bird cage.DSCN4408Card box anyone?

Finally I stopped by Crave Cupcakes for a little treat.  Pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese icing.  Yum!IMGP2323Did you find yourself doing something a bit out of character in preparation for your wedding, like antique shopping?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Meet the parents

This past weekend it was Thanksgiving up here in Canada.  My parents were back in town for the holiday weekend.  Thankfully dress shopping was now out of the way, so this was a great opportunity to arrange a “meet the parents.”

FH’s parents are divorced so the meet was split into two parts.  On Friday we went over to his dad and girlfriend’s house.  FH’s brother was also there.  We had a really fun night full of great conversation.  FFIL cooked up a great roast beef and some homemade Saskatoon berry pie.

On Saturday we met up with FMIL for lunch at Brewsters in Airdrie.  She lives about two hours away from Calgary so Airdrie seemed like the best compromise.  Lunch was nice, and it gave us a bit of a chance to fill FMIL on some of the things we have planned for the wedding so far.

Parents meeting parents?  Success!  I think FH was a bit nervous about the meet up but everyone got along really well.

As for the rest of Thanksgiving?  It was awesome!  FH suggested that we brine our family turkey in bourbon (Wild Turkey to be exact).  The birdie sat in bourbon from Friday evening until it was roasted on Sunday.  Wow…yum!  The meat was so flavourful.  I think this was the first time ever that we actually were fighting over the dark meat as it had just a touch more bourbon flavour. 

My mom has declared FH’s technique a new family tradition!  Considering that our family hangs on to our traditions pretty strongly, this is huge!  We’ve been having the same foods for Thanksgiving and Christmas for as long as I can remember.  No wavering.  There was one year my SIL cooked a turkey here in Calgary.  She omitted the bacon from the top, a family favourite!  Oh boy, she might have been given a hard time about that… 

Did you blend family traditions at big holidays after you got engaged?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Getting Beautified

Mr. Gazelle and I wanted to get engagement photos taken, and  in preparation for that I needed a little help on the make up front!  I don’t wear a lot of makeup anymore and I figured if I was going to try and DIY my makeup for the engagement photos I could probably use a little tutorial.  I got home from work, changed out of my office clothes and snapped a picture of my typical look:DSCN4376The only thing I use on a regular basis is an eye shadow to darken my brows a bit.  Otherwise this is me, au natural!

My first stop was Sephora as I was interested in getting Dior’s Airflash Spray foundation.  I thought this seemed like a good idea to get that airbrushed foundation kind of look.  Luckily the lightest shade matched my skin tone and gave it a nice matte finish.  Just close your eyes, spray it on your face in a Z pattern, then even out and blend with a foundation brush or a sponge.

Next up I grabbed some mascara, Too Faced Lash Injection mascara.  It promises  to plump my lashes and make them nice and full, plus it is waterproof so I figure it is worth a try.  And finally, I got a freebie sample of Urban Decay’s Eye Shadow Primer Potion, to help my eye shadow last all day!IMGP2290Next up was MAC for some eye shadow and some help from an awesome gal named Val.  We picked out some eye shadow colours that would work well together, then she worked her magic.

What did we pick?  How about a couple of awesome shades from MAC’s Venomous Villains collection? IMGP2291IMGP2292I’m such a Disney nerd, I love the Evil Queen on the packaging!  I picked up Her Alter Image and Vile Violet.  I also got a third colour to round the look out, Beautiful Iris. IMGP2294 Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Permaplum, a waterproof and long wearing eye liner.IMGP2296 And lipstick in Patisserie, a nice neutral pink colour.IMGP2297How did it all come together?DSCN4382Sorry for the extreme close up!   Val used the middle purple shade over my entire lid, the darker purple along the crease and along the lash line, then the lightest purple underneath the brow bone.  Finished off with liner along the upper lid only.DSCN4387She definitely applied the shadow keeping in mind that I would be wearing glasses, and here is what it looks like with the specs.  What do you think?  I think she did a great job of making my eyes pop from behind my glasses.DSCN4384Did you decide to DIY your makeup and did you get a tutorial ahead of time?  Do you have any favourite make up products that a makeup illiterate person like myself should investigate?