From Bravo to Bride

Shots, shots, sh, sh, sh, shots!

It's bachelorette party time!  I have to give you a little back story on the theme of the party.  When I was a young Cucumber Sandwich, going to college in Washington, DC, I found myself hanging out with a certain demographic of the city.  Those hunky men in uniform to be exact!  My friends and I always went to bars by the 8th and I Marine Corp barracks.  We thought we were so cool because we were friends with marines instead of frat guys.  This little phase went on for about 2 years.

The theme of my bachelorette party was 'From Bravo to Bride' because those lovely marines had a nickname for girls like us.  Bravo Whiskey.  I was so young and naive that I thought it was a cute pet name.  Come to find out, it stand for Barracks Wh*re.  Ooops.  Sorry MamaCS!

I knew it was going to be a good time when I received this exciting invitation in the mail from BM Smoked Salmon.  The invitation says:
Tribute to a True American Patriot
Before she makes the ultimate promise of dedication to one man- come out and celebrate a girl who for many years prior selflessly devoted her life to the city she loved and the men who protected it...... Ms. Cucumber "Bravo Whiskey" Sandwich

So embarrassing but oh so true.

The day started off with picking the Sammie Sisters up from the train into DC.  By the time we got back to the house, it was completely decorated in red, white and blue!
Star and the beads!
We settled down for a light lunch complete with t-shirts and patriotic hats.
Very wrinkly after all the debauchery
After the lunch, I put those bridesmaids to work!  We watched a little Real Housewives and cut out some invitations.
Invitation Station!

Then it was time to get ready for the night ahead.  There was a dress code for the evening of red, white and blue attire.  I rented two dresses from Rent the Runway for the occasion. 
{RtR IceBreaker Dress by Badgley Mischka}

{RtR Sequin Mist by Nanette Lepore}
Sadly the white sequin was not as cute as I had hoped but the blue one was perfect.
All dolled up and ready to go!
Our first stop was Jose Andres' pop up restaurant  called American Eats.  American Eats is a temporary restaurant in collaboration with the National Archives that gives little US history lessons with all its food.  It was incredibly delicious and also neat to learn about the history of mac & cheese!
Sammie Sisters!
After dinner we hailed a cab over to P.O.V. at the W hotel.  P.O.V. is a roof top bar with amazing views of DC.  Tres patriotic!  Want to see?!?

Shots, shots and shots later, we were having a grand old time and knew it was time to move on to our final destination. 
As we said in college, "What happens at the Hawk n' Dove, Stays at the Hawk n' Dove." So this is our final picture of the evening.  All I can tell you is a scandalous time was had by all.  Around 2am we poured ourselves back into a cab and heading to my house for a good old fashioned slumber party.  There was pizza, cheese sticks and Tangled (cutest movie ever)!  One of my favorite parts about going out is the retelling of stories the next morning so it was great to have them stay at the house that night for eggs and gossip in the am!

It was such a fantastic evening and I love all my girls so much for sending this American Patriot off in style!

What did you do for your bachelorette party?  Anyone else have a slightly embarrassing theme?

Like a Hurricane

As someone who works in a school, I spend countless hours watching and reading about the weather especially during the winter.  This hurricane coming up the coast could provide me with a day or two off so I have been tracking it with the diligence of Al Roker. 
{Image via Wikipedia}
On the news this morning they were interviewing a bride as she was loading up her car to be evacuated from the Outer Banks.  Her wedding venue/site fell within the madatory evacuation area.  As I watched her story I saw the ticker at the bottom of the screen list Cape May County as another evacuation area.  Since I sometimes have the mental capacity of a 7 year old, I immediately thought about me and my wedding.  A hurricane taking over our wedding day will probably now haunt my dreams.

What amazed me about the interview was how calmly the bride was reacting to the news.  I probably wouldn't have been able to be on camera because I would have been blubbering and sobbing about my day being ruined.  This bride just shrugged her shoulders and said 'it is what it is'.  She talked about how at the end of the day they just wanted to get married and they were going to drive inland to look for somewhere to do just that.  I retold the story to MamaCS expecting the same reaction that I had (sheer horror), but MamaCS told me about a friend whose daughter got married during last winter's snow-mageddon.  She said the friend knocked on some doors, invited the neighbors and it was a great party!
{Photo by Meg Perotti/Wedding by Elizabeth Anne Designs}
I swear I have a point and it seems to be that my wedding is going to be entirely what I make of it.  Mrs. Trail Mix, Mrs. Fro-yo and Mrs Tiramisu (especially Mrs. Tiramisu!) all weathered the weather and I should too.  Not only did they handle the uncontrollable events on their wedding day with grace and poise but they threw an awesome party.  If you are having a good time despite the hiccups then your guests will too!  While having to be evacuated for my wedding might be an extreme situation, it may rain for my outdoor ceremony.  I am not going to say there is nothing I can do about it because there is..... I can maintain my positive attitude and guests will probably follow suite.  I will still be surrounded by friends and family for an out-of-control party and I will have just married Mr. Cucumber Sandwich.  You can't ask for anything better than that.  

In case anyone is getting married this weekend I found you an entrance song.
{Via YouTube}

Anyone else worried about weather for the big day?  Married bees, how did you deal with poor weather?

*P.S.  Everyone stay safe out there this weekend!*

Head Over Heels

This weekend was my hair and make-up trial.  I am so excited to report that it went fabulously.  Bring on the pictures!

I can't believe I am about to post these for the world to see but here are my before:
Sammie Sister took my picture while I was staring in the sun.  I am completely making excuses because I look like a hot mess!  Please scroll quickly.
Hair before, freshly unwashed and unkempt.  I think I might have managed to run a comb through it but that could go either way.

And the after!
I got a little overzealous in the middle of the trial and told Mia that 'of course I wear eyeliner under my eyes, all the time'.  Blatant lie!  I must have gotten caught up in the moment because I have no idea why I said that.  I am going to tell Mia on the wedding day I don't want my bottom lashes lined or at least not that heavy.  Even though it is really pretty and dramatic, it is not the bridal look I was hoping to achieve.

Onward and upward to the hair!

The hair from all angles.  Unfortunately it is hard to tell from the pictures all the fantastic loops and twists that Mia managed to create.  It looked great in person!  You also get a first glimpse at my hair piece.  I am a no veil bride and so all I will be wearing on my wedding day is that delicate hair comb.
{Etsy seller ChantalEveleen}
At first I was a little apprehensive about not wearing a veil because when else am I going to get to wear one?  Then I thought about it and realized I could technically wear a veil whenever I wanted; my child's christening, the Kentucky Derby, Prince Harry's wedding while I watch at home on my couch or even out in the garden if my heart desired.  Just because I can wear a veil on my wedding day doesn't mean I have to!  I think having no veil at an outdoor beach wedding is going to be much easier. 

Anyone else have a hair trial this weekend?  Lets hear it for no-veil brides!

Designer Shoes and Tie-Dye

Before I mentioned that it was hard to find orange shoes so I was thinking about getting either navy or gray as my colorful shoe choice.  I am never one to back down from a challenge however!  Unless it involved working out and going to the grocery store all in one day.... that is just way too much.  Spending hours looking for shoes online though is definitely something I can do.

All my typical shoe sites were leading to dead ends in orange department so I needed to resort to unconventional methods.  MamaCS had a light bulb moment and started pushing dyeable shoes.  The thought of dyeable shoes conjured images of prom. 
{Yeah Ugly 90s Clothes}
That is me on the right.  I was very skeptical until I stumbled upon My Glass Slipper.  I think I have gone to heaven, dyeable designer shoes!  I could get Kate Spade, Paris Hilton or Badgley Mischka shoes in bright orange.  Winning!
{Clarice by Kate Spade from My Glass Slipper}
You can order shoes through their 'try and dye' program.  They will ship you the shoes in white or ivory for you to try on.  If the shoes work then send them back to be dyed, easy peasy!  After searching through all their amazing options I ordered the Cherie by Grazia.
{Cherie by Grazia from My Glass Slipper}
I am so sad to report that yesterday I had to send these shoes back.  Unfortunately they seemed like the perfect shoe but were too tall for my dress.  They were advertised as a 3.5 inch heel but my seamstress said they were more like 4.5 inches.  My dream shoes were no more.

All is not lost though.  I took a nap (because shoe shopping is hard) and am feeling completely revitalized.  I found my way over to Nina Shoes.  Did you know you can design your own shoes on their website?!  I have found two options that I am unreasonable excited about.  May I present Fulvia and Kyleen...

{DYO Fulvia by Nina}

{DYO Kyleen by Nina}
I am leaning towards the Kyleen.  They are so simple and pretty with their little knot.  I am a little bit gun shy about ordering them because they seem taller than the 3.5 inch advertised height and after losing the last shoe to too-tall-ness, I am nervous. 

Which shoe do you prefer?  Know of any fantastic orange shoes floating around the interweb?  Any other brides go with the dyeable shoe option?

I Whip My Hair Back and Forth

I have my hair and make-up trial coming up this weekend and I am excited/nervous or nercited!  I am super excited to start having my bridal look come together but I booked Creations by Mia without a trial first.  Hence my being nervous.  One thing I am sure will help with my nerves is to have a clear picture of what I am looking for in my hair style. 

I knew I want to wear my hair up since our wedding is going to be by the ocean and there is 'shore' (hahah) to be a breeze.  I don't like hair blowing all over my face so up it is!  I am looking for something in the low chignon category. 

{Photo from by Beauty A Go-Go}
This is almost exactly what I am looking for.  Clean, neat but still has a little drama to it.  I call it "ballerina at play".
{Image from Beautiful Hairstyles/ Photo by Dimitri Sherman}
I love this one too but I think it is a little more loopy and structured than I would imagine my hair.

Last two inspiration pictures came from the Hive!  The ever lovely Mrs. Tarlet and the stunning Mrs. Cowboy boots!
{Mrs. Tarlet/Photo by Photo by Aruna B. Photography / Hair by Posh Studio}
{Mrs. Cowboy Boots/Photo by Tec Petaja}
I love both of their hair so much.  Very classy and elegant.  I only plan on giving Mia four inspiration photos hoping not to overwhelm her.  I think my inspiration is pretty consistent through the photos so hopefully 4 will be enough!

It is going to be a big weekend because I am having my make-up trial too!  Two inspiration missions for the price of one.  My make-up request was pretty simple.  I want my bridal glow to shine through so lots of peaches and dewy-ness.  When looking for inspiration I first had to rack my brain for which actresses have dark hair, pale skin and blue eyes.  I don't know why it took me so long but I finally remembered on of my favorites... Zooey Deschanel!

{The Weird Fishes}
{TV Commercial Songs}
{Idol Image}
She looks so natural and stunning in all these photographs.  I have absolute faith that Mia will transform me into Zooey with a low chignon this weekend.

Any one else have a hair/make-up trial recently?  How did it go?  And how much to you love Zooey/want to be her in that cotton commercial?

Invitation Proclamation!

Hive, I have a bridal confession to make..... my lovely bridesmaids did a huge chunk of the heavy lifting on my invites.  Phew, I feel shame and relief saying it out loud.  The CukeSammie BMs were in town for my bachelorette party (coming soon!) and I most certainly put them to work to get these puppies out.  I am so thankful to my very cooperative BMs for all their help but part of me feels a little upset that I didn't do it all myself.

I think sometimes I struggle with delegation not because I am a perfectionist but because I want to be able to say 'why yes, I assembled each one of those invites by hand'.  Now don't get me wrong I was not sitting around eating bonbons yelling at them to work faster but I still feel like I should have done more myself.  I think sometimes as brides we put so much pressure on ourselves to do everything and to make sure we touch each detail that we lose perspective (for me at least).  My invites would never have gotten in the mail on time without their help.  But that didn't stop me from glancing over while I was typing the labels to feel a little bit sad that I didn't personally glue in each of those envelope liners.  I have no real solution for this problem I have but I wanted to let anyone else who feels like they have to do it all to be a 'good bride' that you are not alone in feeling this way.

Now that is out of the way, on to the pretty, pretty princesses I call my invitations!  Previously, I mentioned that I was working with Kyndal to create our invitation.  After many, many edits here she is in all her glory.  It pains me to blur any of her goodness.
I know my 'secret' identity has been compromised by leaving in our names but I loved that font so much I had to show you just a peek.  I decided to use CatPrint to have all three pieces printed.  I highly recommend contacting them prior to printing and getting a free sample of their paper.  The sample came super fast and made our paper choices so easy.  For the invitation we went with heavy cardstock in luxe cotton.  For the map we used the extra heavy cardstock in matte and finally for the RSVP postcard we went with ultra cardstock (seemed the most durable).  CatPrint had their work cut out for them when dealing with me but did a fantastic job!

Next we had an envelope liner party the night before my bachelorette.  BM Smoked Salmon is an interior designer/architect by trade so was gracious enough to use her exacto knife/measuring skills to cut them all out!  I heart her.  After gluing in the liners we let them dry over night to be stuffed in the morning. 

Here is where the real fun began.  We had a whole little assembly line of hole punching the moo cards and measuring the bakers twine the following morning.  I decided to use sticker paper for the wrap around labels instead of my xylon machine so all the labels had to be cut to size.
Sammie Sister hard a work
We probably spent about 6 hours working on them (with 4 helpers) over the course of the weekend and then I spent another 4-5 hours by myself.  Now that you have the time break down let me give you cost!

Invitations from CatPrint (3 color pages, 2 front and back): $238.40 for 100
Kraft Envelopes (200 envelopes from $38.00
Moo Cards (200): $46.73
Divine Twine in Orange: $18.88
Full sheet label paper from Staples: $40.00 (for 100 sheets; I didn't need that many but it was all they had in stock)
Zazzle Custom Stamps: $77.25 (major splurge!)
Postage: $39.60 (luckily our invites only required $0.44)
Custom Design by Kyndal: $65.00

Total spent: $563.86

So we spent about $5.63 per invite including all postage and shipping for materials.  O.M.G.  I can't believe our invites cost that much.  Of course we have tons of extra materials that I can use for other projects like envelopes for my rehearsal dinner invites.  I love, love, love our invites but I guess the take away message is that DIY is not always cheaper. 

Anybody else surprised by how much their DIY ended up costing?

P.S. Don't tell Mr. Cuke Sammie how much it was!  I have to break it to him slowly.

Nominated for 3 Paper Awards

Coming Soon to A Mailbox Near You....

The Cucumber Sandwich Invitation Suite!

Critics are calling it "Like Opening a Present"

Roger and Ebert said it was 'Very Ralph Lauren'

The most anticipated invitation of a weekend in October.

Starring Moo Cards in 7 different roles
This invitation has not yet been rated.

I Spy....

... with my little eye something that starts with "I"

Need a hint about what all that brown could be?!?

See that maniacal, crazed look in my eye?  That look could only come from hours spent finishing the CukeSammie invitations!  I am so relieved that they are finally in the mail and on their way to guests as we speak.  These invitations were a hell beast and I am still recovering from the trauma they inflicted.  It was a miracle they even made it the mail at all.

We are waiting just a couple more a-cross-the-country people to receive them but I can't wait to show them to you tomorrow!  Can you feel that excitement building?

Let's hear your horror stories of getting your invites out on time!

Thanks for the Memories

Now that I received all these generous gifts from my shower it is time to write thank you notes.  I have a tendency to drag my feet, kicking and screaming when it comes to writing thank you notes.  They were the dread of every Christmas and birthday party.  I am always grateful and incredibly thankful for the gifts it is just hard for me to write it down in a card.

To make it a little more fun I decided to get a little creative with my thank you notes.  I purchased some blank cards along with a 'thank you' stamp from Michaels.  The stamp and the cards were less expensive than pre-made thank you notes (in my mind at least).  On the inside of the card I wrote a generic thank you note.  If it would help anyone here is roughly what I wrote:

Dear Auntie Cucumber Sandwich, 
Thank you so much for the extremely generous shower gift.  Mr. CukeSammie and I can't wait to use it for..... I also am very thankful that you were able to attend my shower.  It means so much to me to have you there in the pre-wedding festivities.  Thank you again and I can't wait to see you in October. 

Cucumber Sammie 

And here comes my favorite part.  I included a picture of their gift in action.  I thought it might be a little corny at first but then I had so much fun taking the pictures so I figured I had to include them.  For instance my aunts got me some stoneware baking sheets.  And now baking sheets in action.
I printed out this exact picture of their gift in action and included it in their thank you note.  The completed cards and pictures looked a little something like this.

Blank Card/Starting Point
Completed with stamp and picture
Of course no wedding project is complete without an etsy purchase so naturally I forced myself to buy a return address stamp.  I purchased the LetterSmith stamp from NoteTrunk and am so thrilled with how it turned out.
{Etsy NoteTrunk Stamp}
I can't show the stamp we actually purchased because I would have to blur everything and that would defeat the purpose.

And there you have it, the Cucumber Sandwich no-tear-plan to thank you notes.  Now this was only about 20 notes so who knows if the no tears will hold up through the numerous more wedding thank you notes.

Any tips for writing thank you notes?  Anybody else dread them?