Getting pampered

Saturday, July 31, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: | 3 comments

I did include any pre-wedding grooming services in my budget, and I allocated only $50 to it. I thought I would just bite the bullet and sacrifice full bridal pampering.  But thanks to my sisters and my mom, I'm enjoying a very cool spa package the week of our wedding as a neat shower gift. The package includes a Swedish massage, a complete Body Salt scrub (a great exfoliating experience ;) a manicure and facial. While my package was a gift, you can get the same kind of services at a spa near you for 70-80% off (with proceeds going to charity) through Spas for a Cause.

All that is left to take care of is a pedicure, waxing and my favorite -- threading. Threading has been around for awhile (mainly in the bigger cities), but if you don't know what it is, check out this video! It's a great way to remove facial hair without chemicals as waxing does. Some say it's better than waxing as it doesn't remove a layer of skin or decrease the elasticity of the skin around the eyes. I just got a full face threading and the results were great! A little uncomfortable at first, but I got used to it!

So even with all that I'm doing for my pre-wedding beautification (massage, body salt scrub, manicure, pedicure, facial, waxing (for the non-facial areas) and full face threading, I'm running just $10 over my $50 budget. Not bad!

Winner of the Lena Lime Studio Giveaway and Freebie Friday

Friday, July 30, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 2 comments

Wow! I have nearly one week left before our wedding! How the heck did that happen? Am I worried, nervous, a crazed wreck? No not really. Believe me, there is a lot to do (and some obstacles I have to deal with), but I'm staying cool and calm as can be. The bottom line, I'm getting married soon, and nothing can get in the way that!

So first thing, I must announce the winner of the Lena Lime Studio clutch!  Drumroll please!

Aik who said: "I'm an old follower." Congratulations! I'll be emailing you shortly on your prize and you have three days to respond!

Now onto Freebie Friday!
Wedding Accessories

*Win Vera Wang champagne flutes from Get Married!
* Enter for free Kodak disposable cameras for your tables!
* Win a custom card box, pen and guest book from Brenda’s Wedding Blog!
* Every Last Detail is giving away a wedding gift basket

Stationery and Printing
*Win 25 free thank you cards and 15% off Calligraphy by Jennifer via Bustle
*Win 100 free postcard print or a 16X20 rolled canvas print!

Wedding Favors
* Wedding Nouveau is giving away a $50 GC to Beaucoup favors!

Sponsored Post: Our donation/placecards from Vistaprint

Saturday, July 24, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 3 comments

As a most brides know, printing can take up a bulk of your budget. If you're like me, spending $1000 on paper that most will toss by wedding's end did not sit well with me. One place where I've saved quite a bit of money has been printing my stationery items through online printing stores such as Vistaprint. Nothing can beat some of their prices. For instance, $24.99 for 100 postcards! Some folks might be wary about the quality of the prints, but after ordering a few items through Vistaprint, I have to say that I'm very pleased! Sign up for their newsletter and you can even get things for FREE, like your Save the Dates and Thank You Cards!

What's also great about Vistaprint is that you can upload any design to have your own customized prints. To save money and trees we decided use our donation cards as placecards for each seat, instead of two separate items for each person. We grabbed the idea with these placecard/menu cards in one:

We uploaded our donation card design to their 4"X8" cards. The process was pretty easy and you can preview it before you print! Our design left a little room at the top so we can print each name of our guests later.

The cards came within days of ordering and they came out exactly as I had hoped they would! We also ordered escort cards through Vistaprint and they were just as good! So definitely look into Vistaprint as budget-friendly printing option!

*As a the writer of this review, I received 150 4"X8" cards. However, this did not influence the opinions expressed in this post.

Freebie Friday

Friday, July 23, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , | 2 comments

Yes, The Freebie Friday feature is baaaack! I know it’s been MIA, but I’ve been busy planning something called a wedding ;)
But I know there are quite a bit of people who’ve been waiting patiently, so here you go! Enjoy!

*Ohh la la! Stock up on your honeymoon “attire” and enter for Smart and Sexy lingerie!

*Everything Up Close is giving away a free bridal headpiece or a veil from Damselfly Studios!

*Win a St. Tropez Statement Necklace at Homemaker Honey

*Head over to SMP and enter for a Shutterfly stationery package valued at over $500!
*Win 100 free postcards from My Postcard Printing at Happy Hour with a Housewife!
*Win 100 free postcards from Tigerlily’s Book!

Wedding Favors
*Win a $100 GC to Beau-Coup Party Favors!

*$100 gift card from Freebies and Much More
*Harriet and Friends is giving away a $50 Target GC
*Win a $100 GC to CSN Stores!
*Win a cute wallet from Menopausal New Mom…a great wedding party gift!
*Mom’s Mutterings is giving away a $25 Amazon GC
*Win a $25 Visa GFC from Shining to Save
*Just for fun or a nice wedding party gift, win a $50 GC from Athletica!

Do me a favor...the debate rages on

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , | 2 comments

Three years ago, I attended my FSIL's wedding and she and her husband donated to Doctors Without Borders instead of giving the traditional favors. I remember thinking that it was the coolest favor ever! Don't get me wrong, I can awe over the tasteful handmade soap or the delicious pieces of chocolate as a token of the couple's gratitude (take a look at my previous wedding porn posts about oh-so-cute favors), but I also appreciate knowing that the efforts and money that would have gone to all of that were put toward a worthy cause. So if you've been reading my blog, you'll know that we are not doing the traditional favors. We decided that there wasn't anything we wanted to give 100+ guests on our measely favor budget that didn't scream tacky, cheap or completely useless. So we decided to nix favors completely and spend our time and efforts in donating to cancer research and support and awareness programs (the 1000 cranes we spent three months and nearly a 100 hours making will be donated to the Wedding Co. who then will donate 50 cents per crane to a cancer research organization. Do the math and that's a pretty penny going toward a worthy cause!).

But apparently, there's an arguement within the wedding industry and the blogoshere on whether or not donations in lieu of the traditional favor is a good idea at all. For some, not sending guests home with homemade soap or chocolates and then telling them where their favor went instead is incredibly rude. The first arguement is that a donation going toward something else other than me, is not a gift to me. And telling me that you did it in my honor is baloney.  I get the logic, especially if I had no say on where the donation went. But on the contrary, I did see my FSIL and her husband's donation in lieu of a favor as a gift to me, because I truly felt much better with the knowlege of where the money went to instead. Let's face it, you're not always going to care for the favor -- the porcelain figurine or monogrammed shotglass is thoughtful, but I really don't have a place to put the figurine and um, I don't drink shots, much less hard liquor. With a donation, it felt good knowing that money that would have gone toward a gift with little functionality or short shelf life that I, too, had no say in, was spent on something with more lasting impact. I also knew that the favor came from the couple's heart and was meaningful to them (they're doctors). In a way, I feel like I did share in the donation because without us the guests, a favor wouldn't have been an issue. Without us there, the donation would not have been made. No, the favor does not affect me personally, it's not something I can hold, see or personally use. But I can see how the favor will do more good in the bigger picture and how it will affect more people than myself. The thought is rewarding in itself, and I'm happy the couple chose that favor for me.

The second argument is that not everyone will agree with the cause or charity organization, no matter how harmless and worthy it may seem (read further into the comments of the Manolo post and you'll see how some might even consider donating to cancer research offensive). True, someone's objection to a cause or charity might trigger a more sensitive response than a lousy picture frame would. If you are making a donation in lieu of a favor, it is important and wise to stick to a cause that would be less controversial. But, in my mind, I still can't see how giving a cupcake or candy is somehow better than a donation to what most would consider a worthy cause such as cancer research, relieving global hunger, natural disaster aid, etc. One commenter implied that it's better to give a cheap favor that will get tossed in a day or two to avoid ruffling the feathers of one or two guests (I read the few comments against donations to cancer research, and while I do feel for their reasoning, I did not feel it was enough to not consider donating to what I truly feel is a just cause).

Lastly, I don't think it's rude to let people know about the donation. Favors are usually far from my mind at a wedding, but I think it would nice to know about the donation and it would make me feel better knowing that something thoughtful was done on my behalf. So no, the statement "in lieu of favors, we have decided to donate to ___________ in your honor" would not offend me at all. On our cards for our guests, we did not explicitly state "in lieu of favors," but we did say that a donation was made in their honor. Perhaps if I felt I was entitled to something tangible or a something edible that I can call all mine, I would be annoyed by it. But as in any favor or gift, not everyone will appreciate the thought. From a guest perspective, I think a donation favor  is very rewarding, not just for me but potentially for many people. To me, that's one of biggest favors I can ask for!

Table "Places" Revisited

Monday, July 19, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 2 comments

Remember a ways back when I found the inspiration for our table numbers? Yup, these very cute table "places" postcards from My Modern Vintage Wedding!

So the inspiration becomes reality when a friend of ours designed our table "places" postcards, each named after a city or place in the countries of our families' cultural heritage -- China, Philippines and Samoa. Here's a few of them. Enjoy!

Oh, no you didn't!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , | 1 comments

It's one thing for someone to try to pull a fast one over me...I just call them out on it, avoid falling into their trap and move on. But when someone tries to dupe my wedding guests -- my friends and family -- it curdles my blood! It infuriates me like nothing else!

Such was case with our hotel room blocks. Basically, when you reserve a block of rooms, you sign a contract with the hotel detailing the number of rooms, room details (single or double), the group rate and the deadline until the rate is valid. But make sure your guests know the details of your hotel block. Apparently, at one hotel, several of my OOT guests who wanted to book double rooms for their families were told there weren't anymore (not true since we should have had plently of double rooms available according to our contract). The situation required a strongly worded letter to management to get everything resolved.

Another friend tried to book her room over the phone in another reserved hotel block when the agent told her that all the rooms in the block had been booked and the group rate was not available anymore. Sure enough, I checked and there were plently of rooms left in our block with time left before the rate expired.

So when you book a hotel block for your guests, I suggest to you double check with them to make sure they received the rate you agreed upon with your hotel. If you signed a contract with the hotel, your guests are entitled to the discount. Perhaps hotels assume your guests won't know and they'll do anything to make an extra buck. But for people coming the distance for your wedding, you definitely want to look out for them!

Our Music Playlist

Monday, July 12, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 4 comments

Our DJ is a friend who has offered his services for free...the thing is, he's not an actual, professional DJ. He just happens to have all the necessary equipment. So out of necessity, we've been very involved in picking and supplying the music (We have an MC to help him along). We came up with a list of music (a long process scouring our ipods and the Internet) and divided it up of Cocktail Hour, Meal songs, and Dance songs. We even designated songs for cake cutting and the bouquet toss.

Our playlist on Excel.

The hardest part, actually, was agreeing on what songs to play. The future hubs and I have very differing musical tastes. He loves hip hop and R&B and I would much rather be jamming at a Coldplay or Muse concert. So we came up with these guidelines for picking the soundtrack to our wedding day:

1) The lyrics should be pretty clean, meaning no cuss words! We purposely looked for Radio Edit of all the songs.
2) The lyrics shouldn't be about breakups or anything ominuous. I was at a wedding once where the bride and groom danced to "You've Lost that Loving Feeling" as their first dance song and I almost died!
3) Diversify the list. We came up with a list of healthy doses of hip hop, pop and alternative, as well as some the older crowd will appreciate.
4) Cocktail hour music could be upbeat or mellow, Meal songs are mellow tunes to play softly in the background, and Dance songs are any popular tunes to get people excited to get onto the dancefloor.
5) We decided that our wedding wasn't really the time to expose our guests to majorly obscure tracks that we love, so we thought a good mix of pop music was essential.
6) No Macarena or Chicken Dance. Nope!!!

Did you come up with a Music Playlist for your DJ? What were some of your Do Play or Do Not Play songs?

My DIY bridesmaid bouquet, part II

Sunday, July 11, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 4 comments

OK, I know I've missed my weekly installment of Freebie Friday this week, but I promise to have a lengthy batch for next Friday! But in the meantime, we got much done this weekend. Such as another bridesmaid bouquet trial! I tried one months ago with carnations, but this time we got a little more adventurous. Here's the inspiration photo:

Here's what I came up with:

I used 3 yellow orchids, 10 yellow roses and 2 calla lillies. The bouquet was pretty easy, except for the orchids which can be kind of tricky. You'll need floral wire to insert into the stem, as they their stems aren't long enough. After that, just bunch them together, tape with floral tape, wrap your favorite ribbon around the stems and secure with corsage pins (make sure you pin in a downward motion). For the final run, I'll replace the calla lillies with billy balls (they're cheaper), and use a more lighter shade of yellow for the roses. I made four bouquets for less than $40 (using flowers we purchased at the LA Flower Mart).

I also made a trial boutonniere for the groomsmen. I didn't think we'd be able to give boutonnieres for our groomsmen since our ceremony is in the morning and I assumed that boutonnieres needed to be made the day of to stay fresh for the wedding. But I tried one anyone using a leftover rose from our DIY bouquet.

I simply cut a rose two inches down the stem, added a little baby's breath, taped down with floral tape and wrapped a ribbon around the stem. Use a corsage pin to pin it down on the jacket and voila! You have a boutonniere!
I refridgerated the boutonniere in a corsage box overnight and the boutonniere stayed fresh for two days.

Are you DIYing your flowers? Any advice for brides going the DIY route? 

Vendor Spotlight and GIVEAWAY: Lena Lime Studio

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , , , | 97 comments

Clutch purses are very popular items to give to your bridesmaids, but they can pretty pricey. As much as you love and appreciate your bridesmaids, your budget may not allow for showering them with $100 clutches. But when I came upon Lena Lime Studio on Etsy, I found affordable, yet completely darling clutches at reasonable prices. Dana from Lena Lime Studio handmakes clutches with a cool retro vibe. All of her clutches are made to order and you can chooese from a variety of fabrics. Check out these cuties!

I received an awesome 7" clutch from Dana and I was digging the mod 60s pattern of the cotton fabric! The purse is small and cute, but still pretty useful. Put a small wallet, some makeup and your phone in each purse and you can step out for the day in style! Each purse comes with metal clasp and make wonderful bridal party gifts or an accessory to compliment any outfit.

Without further ado, here's Dana from Lena Lime Studio!
When did you start Lena Lime Studio?
I started my business officially in January of 2010. I had dreamed of doing it for months but never could find the time to sit down and do the prep work for my site: research, website, pictures, etc. But then one evening, I broke my foot! I was grounded in my chair for a couple weeks and found plenty of time to do lots of work!

How would you describe the products you sell?
Beautiful, useful, and handmade!

What got you started in creating handmade bags?
My passion for sewing and wanting to make things I could use everyday. What's more useful than a gorgeous new bag?!

Which from your collection is your favorite and why?
It's so hard to choose! I'd have to say my clasp purses. If you would have told me 5 years ago that I'd be able to make one, I would have laughed and shook my head. They symbolize a successful business that I had never known was possible!

Tell me something unique about your bags.
My bags are loved. I take a lot of time to make each one and make sure its perfect (probably too much). From spending hours at fabric stores to make sure I have the right color match to spending hours planning the best outcome for each textile before I make a single cut. I won't make it or sell it if I'm not completely in love with it!

You can tell a lot about a person from what they wear. What can we tell about a woman and her purse?
I'd say, the bigger the purse, the more prepared that woman is! A woman who can leave the house with a small bag that just holds a phone and keys is brave. A woman with a giant bag full of answers for the "what ifs?" is talking my language! Got to love a big purse that can even hold the kitchen sink.

Links where we can find out more of your work:


Win a 7" clutch, or $20 gift certificate towards a large bridal order. Winner can choose from Dana's collection of fabric patterns.

The Rules

1) MANDATORY ENTRY! Go to Lena Lime Studio on Etsy and comment on your favorite item and which fabric you would choose (visit Dana's Flickr account to view her list of fabrics). This is mandatory! Contestants who do not do this will be disqualified. Remember to leave your email address or some way to contact you with each entry!

Additional entries (remember to leave separate comments for each additional entry)

2) Become a new follower of this blog. You must follow publicly (1 entry)
3) Are currently a follower of my blog (2 entries)
4) Become a facebook fan of “I Do” Budget Weddings (2 entries)
5) Become a facebook fan of Lena Lime Studios (2 entries)
6) Blog about the contest and include a link to the giveaway. Each entrant must also include a link to Lena Lime Studio in their post (3 entries) Please include a direct link to your blog post in your comment.
7) Buy anything from Lena Lime Studio (5 entries)
8) Follow “I Do” Budget Weddings on Twitter (1 entry)
9) Tweet on this giveaway and include a link to this giveaway in your tweet (1 entry)
10) Grab my button and place it on your blog (1 entry)
11) Subscribe to "I Do" Budget Weddings emails (1 entry)

The deadline to enter this contest is 11:59 p.m., July 21, 2010 (PST). A winner will be randomly chosen. Good luck!
*As the host of this giveaway, I received a clutch purse for review, however the opinions expressed here are my own honest observations of the product and shop.

Winner of the Custom Printables Giveaway!

Sunday, July 4, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: | 2 comments

Happy Fourth of July! Today we're spending it with our good friend, Jinny, whose birthday just happens to be today! Happy B-day, Jinny!

One other person has a reason to celebrate: the winner of the Custom Printables giveaway!

And the winner is... Becky who said:
"I "liked" you on facebook!"

You have 3 days to claim your prize, Becky! Please email me!

Tracking down the elusive RSVPs

Friday, July 2, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 3 comments

So our RSVP deadline came...and went. And at the end, we counted nearly 60% of our guests had taken the time to tell us whether or not they're coming. Not bad of a response, considering we went the nontraditional route with online RSVP's, but it could be better. I was rather surprised because even some of the "older" folks logged on to our web site to give us an answer. People commented on how so much fun and easier it was to respond online. The other 50 or so people who didn't RSVP? I think they probably wouldn't have responded regardless if it was snail mail or online.

So, we're hitting the phones this week! Wish us luck!

Freebie Friday

Jewelry and Accessories

*Win a free headband (in white and yellow) from the etsy shop Yellow Elm and Oh, My Darling.
*Win a freshwater pearl necklace from Ten Talents

Wedding accessories
* Win a custom parasol made by Kio Kreations from Wedloft by Wedding Window. Ends on July 5.
Photography and Printing
* Babybix Blog is giving away a 12X12 Vistaprint photobook!

For the Honeymoon
*Things I Can’t Say is giving away a $96 GC to Hapari Swimwear

For the Home
Two of a Kind and Select Comfort is giving away a True Silver Mattress Pad!

*Because a bride needs some relaxation! So Much More than a Mom is giving away a Deluxe Lavender Spa Relaxation Basket!

*A great groomsman and Dad gift! Win a Lawry’s Grilling set from There are Two Sides