Vendor Spotlight and GIVEAWAY: Coaster Creations (CLOSED)

Sunday, February 28, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 82 comments

We’ve featured jewelry in our last few giveaways, but this week we have something quite different. When I first saw these adorable coasters from Coaster Creations, I thought what a unique, yet classy keepsake to give to your attendants, or maybe as favors for your guests! Michelle of Coaster Creations offers handmade, travertine stone coasters, stamped with lovely designs. Michelle even can custom-make the coasters with designs, colors and monograms of your choice. As the host of this giveaway, I received a set of tiles each stamped with a gorgeous grape cluster design over a French script background. Michelle even added a monogram of my choice! These coasters will add a great antique, old world feel to your home! Introducing Michelle of Coaster Creations!

What sparked interest in creating coasters?
I started scrapbooking followed by stamping as a hobby then a friend showed me how to create the coasters and my imagination ran wild with the possibilities.

What does the process entail?
A travertine stone tile is used as the base. Stamps, ink, and other design elements are added to the tile, an acrylic matte sealer protects and seals the surface and felt pads are underneath. The most important part of the process is identifying exactly what the eventual owner/customer wants!


What makes your work unique?
The designs borrow from current trends such as flourishes and swirls. I always use a French script background as my base. Sometimes my customers come up with the best designs.

Any advice for brides-to-be out there?
Enjoy the ride and don't get so caught up in the details that you miss out on the joy of the occassion. Also - Etsy is a wonderful resource for brides to save money and utilize handmade artisans. The alchemy feature allows you to request custom items and receive bids related to your budget

Links where we can find more of your work
coastercreator.1000markets.com
www.facebook.com/coastercreations
coastercreator.etsy.com

Now onto our giveaway!
Michelle is giving away a monogrammed set of tiles of the winner's choice!

Here are the rules:

1) Go to Coaster Creations on Etsy and comment on your favorite item for one entry! 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!

You can add more comments to increase your chance to win if you do the following (please leave a separate comment for each additional entry):

2) Become a new follower of this blog (1 entry)
3) Are currently a follower of my blog (2 entries or 2 separate comments!)
4) Become a facebook fan of “I Do” Budget Weddings (2 entries or 2 separate comments)
5) Become a facebook fan of Coaster Creations. (2 entries or 2 separate comments)
6) Blog about the contest and include a link to the giveaway. You must also include a link to Coaster Creations’ Etsy shop in your post (3 entries or 3 separate comments)
7) Buy anything from Coaster Creations (5 entries or 5 separate comments)
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. Please include a link to your tweet. (1 entry)
10) Heart Coaster Creations on Etsy. Please leave your etsy username in your comment so I may verify it. (2 entries or 2 separate comments)
11) Include “I Do” Budget Weddings on your Blog List, or on your homepage. Include a link to your blog so I may verify it (2 entries or 2 comments).
12) Subscribe to "I Do" Budget Weddings email list (1 entry)

The deadline to enter this contest is 11:59 p.m., Sunday, March 14, 2010 (PST). A winner will be randomly chosen and announced the following Monday. Good luck! THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

* Don’t forget, you can still enter to win a pair of genuine freshwater pearl earrings from House of Peltier!

Winner of the Meadowbelle Market Giveaway

We had a lot of great comments for the beautiful pearl earrings from Meadowbelle Market, but we only could choose just one winner.

Using random.org, our lucky winner is ....


Congratulations to leche4evr who said:
"I love the ivory flower fascinator!


 
Our winner has been notified and has three days to get back to me.
 
If you didn't win, you'll have many more chances to win some very cool prizes on this blog, so stay tuned!
 
*Don't forget to enter to win a pair of freshwater pearl earrings from House of Peltier!

Rehearsal Dinner Downlow

Saturday, February 27, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 2 comments

As most of you know by now, our budget includes our rehearsal dinner for about 50 or so people. I couldn't imagine throwing another mini-wedding reception at a fancy restaurant with our budget, so we decided on a no-frills, home-cookin' casual affair in my FSIL's backyard.

But we're not scaling back on formality with our rehearsal dinner just because of our limited budget. We actually prefer it this way. We're just as excited about our laidback backyard BBQ/potluck as we are with our semi-formal wedding reception. We wanted our rehearsal dinner to be an opportunity where both families would feel comfortable interacting and getting to know each other. No seating arrangements, buffet style with some tables and chairs in the backyard. The menu? We're not sure yet, but we envision a mix of catered Chinese food with some homemade Filipino and Samoan food. We're probably going to fire up the grill with some Korean BBQ (my fiance's favorite). Maybe some candles and paper lanterns for a little decorative fun. Just a good ol' family get together with great food! We've had family parties for about 50-70 people and we've always had tons of food leftover (all on a budget of about $400-$600!)  That's usually how we roll anyway when we celebrate, so having a casual, initimate get-together before the big shebang will be well worth it!

What are you planning for your rehearsal dinner?

Freebie Friday

Friday, February 26, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 0 comments


Accessories
* Merci New York is giving away a gorgeous clutch from Amanda Pearl.
* Don't forget! I'm hosting a giveaway for a free pair of freshwater pearl earrings from House of Peltier as well as pearl earrings from Meadowbelle Market.
*Win a $30 Gift Certificate to CuteAbility Etsy Shop at Alphabetachic.
* $30 Gift Certificate to Rusted Chain at Etsy it Up!
* Mint Green With Envy is giving away a pair of South Sea Pearl Earrings from Realisation Creations.

Wedding Favors
* Your pick of favors galore with a $100 gift certificate at Accent the Party. Head to Brenda's Wedding Blog.

Makeup/Beauty
* Win Mac Makeup products at Secret Beauty Blog

Printing
*
Win 250 stickers/labels fro Uprinting at Travis and Sarah 2010.

Reserving a hotel block

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 0 comments

We didn't think we needed to reserve a block of hotels. What's the point? We're getting married locally. I thought it was just an added expense we couldn't afford. But when I put together the mailing list for our Save the Dates and saw all the addresses to Hawaii, Utah, Vancouver, San Francisco and even China...I realized, quite a few people will be coming from afar, and yes, they might need a place to stay. I knew reserving a block of hotels would allow discounts for each room, but I thought there might be a catch. Do we pay for the percentage discount? Do we foot the bill for unreserved rooms?

While hotels each have their own requirements, some hotels allow you to reserve a block at no cost. You may have to put a credit card number down to reserve the rooms, but you won't be charged. The guests are responsible for reserving and paying for their own rooms, and whatever rooms don't get filled by the cut-off date, the hotel releases them back to the public, again at no cost to the couple. Sweet! Be sure to read the contract carefully, though!

We looked at various hotel options by going through this hotel bidding site, which allows hotels that fit your requirements to bid for your services (there's even a cash rebate option after you've stayed at any of the hotels). After looking at costs, quality and location factors, we decided to reserve 15 rooms at Marriott Springhill Suites in Arcadia, CA.

A queen-sized two-bed suite at Mariott Springhill Suites

We liked Marriott Springhill because it's affordable, comfortable, spacious, clean and has good amenities (refrigerator, microwave, wireless Internet, pull out sofa, gym and continental breakfast). It's about 9 miles to our venues in Pasadena and at $85/night, that's not bad (especially for the area).

Not only will your guests appreciate the discount, you can too! The fiance and I already knew we wanted rooms for the bridesmaids and groomsmen to get ready in the morning of the wedding, which would mean reserving at least 2 rooms for the night before. So the hotel block discount comes in handy!

We decided to add another option for our guests, just in case they wanted to stay closer to the city center, rather than drive from Arcadia. We booked another block at the Pasadena Sheraton, a 3 1/2-star hotel right in downtown. It's pricier than Springhill Suites at $99/night (as well as additional fees for parking), but I know some folks would rather spend a little extra cash to be closer to the action.

A standard room at the Sheraton

For our honeymoon suite, we wanted to stay somewhere a bit nicer to for our first night as husband and wife. We looked longingly at the swank and luxurious Langham Hotel. But, at $300 a night (not including taxes, fees or even meals) for just a standard room, that was bit out of our price range. Luckily, reserving a block at the Sheraton allowed us to book the hotel's club suite as our honeymoon suite at a good discount. The suite comes with room service, unlimited appetizers and drinks from the bar, and meals. Yes, we're accounting for meals on our first night and the following morning. We're certainly not going to starve ourselves to save money! With taxes, fees and parking, we'll pay about $250.   

Are you making any lodging arrangements for your wedding? How did you find the best deals?

Makeup for a steal

It's tough looking for bridesmaid gifts on a budget, especially when you have several girls to gift. You want to show your appreciation for the time, effort and money they put into your wedding, so you want your gifts to hold some value and quality. Unfortunately, $10 or $20 doesn't really get you far...unless you give out monogrammed totes from The Knot, which really isn't my thing. If you're looking for inexpensive, yet stylish gifts to give your bridesmaids, check out Beautycrunch.com. You can find brand name beauty products from Stila, Senna and Too Face at deep, deep discounts. Some of these brands originally retail at more than $100!

Some of my favorites:

Stila makeup set and clutch - $16

Senna Lip Color set - $8


Stila Get Glossed 2 pack set - $12

Stila makeup and gold clutch - $18  

Just curious...What are you planning to give (or what did you give) to your bridesmaids as a thank you gift? What would you appreciate as a bridesmaid?

Introducing...my shoes!

Sunday, February 21, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 5 comments

I found my shoes! Yep these purple kicks are mine! Before I tell you where I got them, I thought I tell you their back story. Remember how I yearned for a pair of purple-colored peep toe heels? Not just any purple pair--I wanted them to be plum, to match my bridesmaids dresses and groomsmen's ties. But I didn't think plum was such a rare color. It is. Not only did I want plum, I didn't want such a gigantic heel. I'm about 5'7, my fiance is just a few inches taller than me. He doesn't want me to tower over him. It's a guy thing. And maybe a girl thing too, cuz I don't really want to look like the jolly brown giant either.

Vendor Spotlight and GIVEAWAY: House of Peltier (CLOSED)

Friday, February 19, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , , | 104 comments


The understated chic and style of our next Vendor Spotlight is what initially caught my eye. House of Peliter on Etsy is full of fresh inspiration for both your home and wardrobe. As an interior designer at heart, Amy, the creative mind behind House of Peltier, pays close attention to color and detail when designing her products – each item playing a small, but intricate part of the larger picture and ambience of the room. Her lovely array of pillows – from bold blues to vibrant yellows – each offer color and character of their own.

As an artist, Amy naturally dabbled in other arts, including jewelry. Made of fine materials, including genuine freshwater and mother of pearls, her jewelry are perfect accessories to your elegant attire. As the host of this giveaway, I received a pair of Mother of Pearl earrings, and was really impressed with quality of the pearls -- shiny, smooth and iridescent. The gold knotted design above the pearls offer a lovely, sophisticated touch to the pair. Amy is currently expanding her interior design collection on etsy, so without further ado, introducing Amy from House of Peltier!

You have a diverse collection of items in your shop. What kind of items do you sell?
Being an interior designer I love fabrics, so I started my Etsy shop with pillows. However the more involved I became the more creative I got, so I started adding things like coasters and napkin rings. My parents live in Shanghai and my mom likes to keep busy by sending me pearls, so that's why I started making jewelry. I will always keep my jewelry collection small and it will probably always have a bridal feeling to it I have an obsession with weddings. But my next additions will be focused more on interior design again.


How do you describe your style?
Fresh, Flirty, Feminine, and Fun

Which pieces of your work would you say would be perfect for weddings? Why?
I think my jewelry is perfect for weddings. Pearls just belong on a wedding day because they have that feminine and romantic feeling to them. But I also make napkin rings and I have a lot of inquiries from brides who want to use them as part of their table decor.


What was your favorite detail of your wedding?
My wedding was the ultimate creative experience for me. I really cannot pick a favorite detail, I had a papaya and chocolate colored theme and I planned out everything around those colors including a smoked salmon appetizer because it had that papaya coloring to it. I am obsessive about details!

Any advice for brides-to-be out there?
The best advice I can give is to have a reception plan. I was caught up in the moment, greeting every guest, and being the best host I could be. But I forgot to sit back for a moment and enjoy the best day of my life. Don't forget to do that, even if it is for just a moment.

Links where we can find out more of your work:
I currently have all of my handmade product for sale on Etsy, but I am working on two websites. www.peltierinteriors.com is where my portfolio and virtual design will be, and www.houseofpeltier.com will be dedicated to all of my jewelry that I sell at local shows. This jewelry is not found on Etsy because it is not handmade. So stay tuned!

Now onto our giveaway!!!

Amy has been gracious in giving one lucky winner a pair of genuine, cultured freshwater pearl earrings! Each earring is accentuated by a knotted gold bead, and attached to a gold plated hook. They’re wonderful for a formal event (perhaps a wedding!) or even with casual attire!


Here are the rules:

1) Go to House of Peltier on Etsy and comment on your favorite item for one entry! 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!

You can add more comments to increase your chance to win if you do the following (please leave a separate comment for each additional entry):

2) Become a new follower of this blog (1 entry)
3) Are currently a follower of my blog (2 entries or 2 separate comments!)
4) Become a facebook fan of “I Do” Budget Weddings (2 entries or 2 separate comments)
5) Blog about the contest and include a link to the giveaway. You must also include a link to House of Peltier’s Etsy shop in your post (3 entries or 3 separate comments)
6) Buy anything from House of Peltier (5 entries or 5 separate comments)
7) Follow “I Do” Budget Weddings on Twitter (1 entry)
8) Tweet on this giveaway and include a link to this giveaway in your tweet. Please include a link to your tweet. (1 entry)
9) Heart House of Peltier on Etsy. Please leave your etsy username in your comment so I may verify it. (2 entries or 2 separate comments)
10) Include “I Do” Budget Weddings on your Blog List, or on your homepage. Include a link to your blog so I may verify it (2 entries or 2 comments).
11) Subscribe to "I Do" Budget Weddings email list (1 entry)

The deadline to enter this contest is 11:59 p.m., Friday, March 5, 2010 (PST). A winner will be randomly chosen and announced the following Saturday. Good luck! This giveaway is now closed.

* Don’t forget, you can still enter to win a pair of earrings from Meadowbelle Market! (CLOSED)

Freebie Friday

Photography
* Peaches by Plum is giving away a free photography package by Joseph Prezioso. This contest is open to 2010 and 2011 brides!

Stationery
* Bride on a Budget is giving away a free design by Dolcetto Designs
* In need of STD's or Thank You cards? Win 50 free 4X6 cards from Dolcetto Designs on Brenda's Wedding Blog

Jewelry
* Need bling on your wedding day? Enter to win a gorgeous necklace from Guy and Eva at Mint Green With Envy.
* Win a pair of pink sterling silver earrings from Blue Scarab Jewelry at Mint Green With Envy!
* Win a $50 gift certificate to The Vintage Pearl at Simply Stacie
* Love The Vintage Pearl? Enter to win more jewelry at Just Simply Southern.
* Win any item (up to $40 value) from Sweet and Chic Designs at Salad for Breakfast.
* Lily's Valley is giving away a silver plated/glass pendant necklace

Accessories
* The Classic Bride is giving away a gorgeous set of vintage wear!

Beauty
* Win $25 of makeup by Allure by Jen from Mint Green with Envy
* Simply Stacie is giving away a $50 gift certificate from Essential Relaxation
* Win a free mineral makeup set at Simply Stacie!

Misc.
* Win a 13X19 gloss photo from Leakey Photography at Mint Green With Envy.
* Have a blog? Think it needs a makeover? Babbling Brooke is giving away a free blog design!

Our wedding budget...5 months later

Thursday, February 18, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , | 1 comments

Because I write a blog about budget weddings, I have received some skepticism about how “budget” our wedding budget really is. $15,000 sounds like loads of money to a lot of people. It is a lot of money. We’re both very fortunate to have that much available to us.

First, when talking about budget weddings, you have to consider several factors. $20K sounds like a huge budget, but for 200 people in the Manhattan area, suddenly $20K ain’t that much. For us, in the Los Angeles area, average weddings are about $30K (not including the honeymoon). Cost of living is higher than in other parts of the country. In some cases, it's double the cost. I'm not saying a sub $10K wedding isn't possible in LA. It certainly is, especially when all you need to get married anywhere in the US is a couple, an officiant and some witnesses. But you have to look more than just the dollar amount. You have to look at what you want your budget to include.

Bridesmaid dresses...from Target?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 4 comments

Yes, you read that right. Target. Before you judge, let me show you a photo of a wedding featured on Budget Savvy Bride and Style Me Pretty (the site of $50K weddings!)


Gorgeous, eh? Where do you think these lovely ladies got their bridesmaid gowns? Yes, Target! I'm not saying all the gowns at Target can rival Vera Wang, but think about it. How many bridesmaids actually wear their gowns again? The bridesmaid gown isn't something we hold a whole lot of emotional attachment to, say, the wedding gown. So, would your ladies really care if they wore a designer bridesmaid gown? Target makes a variety of special ocassion dresses that can surely pass as bridesmaid dresses, and none of them are over $40! In my opinion, a lot of them are darn cute. I'd wear them again!

Here are samples of Target offerings. Which one would you choose for your ladies?

Asian flair

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 0 comments

Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year everyone! Not only was Sunday Valentine's Day, we also rang in the Year of the Tiger! My fiance is half Chinese, and we spent the holiday weekend with his family, eating oranges and other sweets, as is the New Year tradition.

As you might know from reading my blog, I plan to incorporate some cultural details into our wedding, including some of my fiance's Chinese heritage and my own Filipino customs. So in honor of the year of the tiger, I put together some of my favorite Asian-inspired details. So many lovely possibilities...which ones should I choose?

I heart parasols! On a warm, summer day, these are lifesavers! And they're gorgeous hanging from the ceiling! (Left: Bride and Groom, Right: Source)


 (Left: Wedding Nouveau, Rice Paper Fan: Source, Palm Fan: Source )
On a hot day, your guests will love you for these fans!

Lucky Bamboo: Source,  Mini Bamboo Steamer: Wedding Things

(Left: Style Me Pretty, Right: Source)

Vendor Spotlight and GIVEAWAY: Meadowbelle Market (CLOSED)

Sunday, February 14, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , , | 164 comments

Happy Valentine's everyone! As a V-day gift to you, we're bringing you another Vendor Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!I'm really excited to bring you our next Vendor Spotlight, a sister duo from Kansas City: Erin and Aundrea of Meadowbelle Market! Classic, vintage inspired, timeless, elegant, and feminine. That's how the pair would describe their line of jewelry and bridal accessories. What started as a love for all things sparkling and chic, has grown into a jewelry and accessory line full of lovely items any style-savvy bride would love. The pair sell creative hand-made jewelry of fine materials, as well as a lovely bridal line of flower hair pieces, bird cage veils and sashes on their online etsy store. I received a tropical inspired flower hairpiece from their store and I'm just in love with it! The whimsical, romantic look is classic Meadowbelle style. Made with white silk and fastened to an alligator clip, the flower is the perfect match for the tropical/classic look I'm pulling off with my gown :) Go ahead, browse their store and you'll find tons of accessory inspiration for your wedding day!

So, without further ado, I bring you Erin and Aundrea of Meadowbelle Market!


What sparked your interest in creating jewelry?
We’re like any women who love accessories; much like a good pair of shoes, we love jewelry because it always fits. A new piece can make your wardrobe feel fresh and updated. In the same way, creating jewelry can be fun, beautiful, and inspiring and of course we create pieces that we would want to wear. In addition, there are so many mediums that can be used to construct jewelry—sometimes the options seem endless. For example, we love sparkling glass beads, but Erin also enjoys the freedom of being able to create unique structure with soldered sterling silver elements.

How long have you been creating jewelry?
We started making jewelry at a young age—maybe we were five or six years old. At that age, our designs were more likely to include macaroni and plastic pop beads (for those of you who remember the ‘80s). By age 12, we were selling our designs on consignment at a local art store. We continued creating jewelry as a way to fulfill our dream of working together.


What advice can you give to brides as they accessorize for their wedding?
We love anything that sparkles, dangles and shines. On your wedding day you will want to feel like the most glamorous person in the room, even if your style is generally more casual. And remember the rule of 3 (so as not to overdo): Pair 2 bold items with 1 classic/subtle piece, or 2 classics with a bold (ie: classic dress, classic shoes, bold jewelry OR bold dress, bold accessory, classic jewelry).


Buy this Loved necklace and $15 of the purchase will go towards Haiti relief efforts.

What is the most creative thing you've seen at a wedding? What did they do?
In lieu of one large wedding cake, a friend enlisted the help of a dozen or more artistic friends to each bake their favorite cake for the centerpiece of every table. All the cakes were different, and included a small card with description and credits to the ‘baker’. The cakes were a great way to facilitate conversation, and everyone was interested in mingling, curious about the cakes at other tables.

From an entertainment point of view, Aundrea had an instructor provide basic dance step lessons to get people on the dance floor. Erin had a magician during dinner—everyone loved it!

Any advice for brides-to-be out there?
# 1.) Plan, plan, plan. Get a simple wall calendar to use solely for wedding planning; pencil in goals of “due dates” for everything from beginning a task to when that task should be completed, from now until the big day. Breaking it down this way gives you a few manageable tasks each month and lets you rest assured you’re on track.

If you’re not organized by nature, enlist a friend who is—which brings us to #2.) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Have friends and family to do one small thing. They’ll be honored to be involved. If you don’t hire a wedding planner, delegate one main person the day of to field questions (this should not be someone in the wedding party—they will be helping you get ready).

Visit Erin and Aundrea's blog for more of their work!

Now for our giveaway! Erin and Aundrea are giving away a beautiful pair of pearl earrings from their store!


Here are the rules:

1) Go to Meadowbelle Market on etsy and comment on your favorite item for one entry! 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!

You can add more comments to increase your chance to win if you do the following (please leave separate comments for each additional entry)

2) Become a new follower of this blog (1 entry)

3) Are currently a follower of my blog (2 entries or 2 separate comments!)
4) Become a facebook fan of “I Do” Budget Weddings (2 entries or 2 separate comments)
5) Blog about the contest and include a link to the giveaway. Each entrant must also include a link to Meadowbelle Market's etsy shop in their post (3 entries or 3 separate comments)
6) Buy anything from Meadowbelle Market (5 entries or 5 separate comments)
7) Follow “I Do” Budget Weddings on Twitter (1 entry)
8) Tweet on this giveaway and include a link to this giveaway in your tweet. Please include a link to your tweet. (1 entry)
9)  Heart Meadowbelle Market on etsy. Please leave your etsy username in your comment so I may verify it. (2 entries or 2 separate comments)

The deadline to enter this contest is 11:59 p.m., Saturday, February 27, 2010 (PST). A winner will be randomly chosen and announced the following Sunday morning. Good luck! This giveaway is closed.

Valentines for him on a dime

Saturday, February 13, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , | 0 comments

I'm really looking forward to this Valentine's Day. It's our time to take another break from wedding/marriage planning and just have fun with each other. But V-days always presented some sort of challenge for me. I never knew what to give my guy on Valentine's Day. Everyone always says it's a chick's holiday, but it doesn't seem right to forget about my significant other on a day about love.  But every site suggesting V-day gifts for him always named some sort of electronic gadget, and we all know any tech toy beginning with an "i" ain't cheap. So how do you show the guy in your life how much you love and appreciate him without shelling out major $$$? Well, if your guy is anything like mine, he'll love the thoughtful things much more than the expensive stuff. Seriously, it's the little things you say and do for him that will really get him!

My favorite budget gifts for him:

1. Dinner and a movie
So you may not be Paula Deen, but guys love a home-cooked meal. And if you don't make dinner often, it could be something really special you two can do together. What's more romantic than making dinner together, sitting down and having a great conversation over your culinary achievements? Sure it might be just Prego pasta and salad, but it's the time together that really counts. Follow up dessert snuggling on a couch with a rented movie.

2. Random love notes
An unexpected "I love you" note can really make your day. What makes them really sweet is leaving them in places around the house where he'd least expect it. How about leaving notes describing a favorite memory each of you had with one another, with the last note being a gift certificate or coupon for another new memory you can make with other another?

3. Love Coupons
Making him some "I owe you's" might make him excited about things to come. How about a massage? A dinner? A night at the movies? A day doing whatever he wants? If you're not crafty, you can download them for free .

4.What about doing things you both will enjoy, not just whatever he or she wants to do? For us, it would be a day hiking, a day trip sampling new cuisines, or trying something new and fun, maybe rock wall climbing, paint balling or bike riding along the beach. Look into your community's entertainment guide and you might find a lot of inexpensive or free ideas.The possibilities can be endless!

Winner of the My Shining Lights Giveaway

Friday, February 12, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 0 comments

Yay! My first giveaway is officially over and I'm pleased to say we had a great response! Thank you to everyone who entered! Unfortunately, I had to pick just one lucky person using http://www.random.org/ and the trusty random generator chose...


Thelma who tweeted about the giveaway and won a lovely pearl necklace and earrings set from My Shining Lights! Congratulations! The winner has been emailed.

If you didn't win, don't fret! There's a few giveaways coming up that I'm really excited about! Stay tuned!

Freebie Friday 2/12/10-2/18/10

I know I'm late with today's Freebie Friday, but here you go! Watch out for several of my own giveaways coming soon!

Photography
* Get a free engagement session from Jessica Feely!

Jewelry:
* Mint Green with Envy is giving away two items of your choice at Sweeter Than Me Designs!

Beauty
* We all know that brides are in serious need of R&R! Let a $25 gift certificate to Ulta help! Enter at The Backyard Bride!
*Get 15 samples of Mineral Basics at Mint Green with Envy!
Other stuff!

* PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com is giving away a $250 Victoria's Secret Giftcard to one (randomly selected) Facebook Fan. Hurry! The winner will be selected on 2/13.
* Shoot, why worry about a budget when you can have a $100,000 dream wedding from Crate and Barrel!

Last Chance: My Shining Lights Giveaway Ends Tonight!

Thursday, February 11, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: | 0 comments

If you haven't entered to win a lovely necklace and pearl earrings set from My Shining Lights, today's you're last chance! The contest ends tonight at 11:59 PM (PST). Good Luck!

Finding "The One"

Monday, February 8, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 2 comments

I expected to burst out into tears when I found "The One," but when my tear ducts remained dry, I was discouraged. Isn't that what everyone said I was supposed to do? Like all of sudden, have this, "You had me at hello," bond with a dress? I didn't. But when I finally made up my mind on The Dress, I was ecstatic. Really. I actually did this goofy dance, clapped my hands and jumped. Nerdy, huh? But that was my reaction.

*Future Hubby, if you are reading this, DO NOT READ FURTHER!

Freebie Friday

Friday, February 5, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 0 comments

Once you start following wedding blogs you're prone to another addiction: Web Giveaways! Why not? I haven't won anything just yet, but I know quite a few people who seem darn lucky with these. And who doesn't enjoy free stuff, especially when you're planning a wedding and all those little things start adding up? After entering countless giveaways, it's hard to keep track of all of them. Well, I decided to make things a little easier for you (and for me) by featuring all the giveaways I come across on a weekly feature called Freebie Friday. Click on the links below and you'll find details to various contests on the Web. Do not comment on this post to enter any of these giveaways...your entry won't go anywhere! Thanks!

Jewelry:
* Looking for jewlery to wear on the big day, or maybe gifts for your bridesmaids? Enter Brenda's Wedding Blog Giveaway for a $100 gift certificate at Tilly Jewels!
* Win a $50 gift certificate to Madison Reece Designs.
* Channel your inner Bella Swan and win a pair of "Twilight" inspired jewelry at Etsy Mom
* Of course there's my own giveaway, sponsored by My Shining Lights. Win a lovely necklace and pearl earring set. Details here!

Beauty:
* Looking for a cute gift for one of your bridesmaids? Beauty Beau is giving away a beauty kit of mascara, lip balm and earrings in a nifty cosmetics purse!
* I Heart Cosmetics is giving away a makeup kit of MAC makeup, nail polish, lipstick and eyeshadow.
* Loads of nail products at Babbling Brooke!
* Eyeshadow, lipliner and more at Computer Girl
* Eyeshadow, nail polish, lotion and more at Plane Beauty
* Love natural mineral makeup? Then you'll love this giveaway featuring natural mineral eyeshadow from Handmade Beauty

Printing
*Need STD's or Thank You cards? Vista Print has you covered with 100 free postcards at With This Ring, I Thee Blog
* Get free online poster printing from Shooting For a $3000 Wedding

Other cool stuff:
* Last but totally not least, you can enter to win a free Fuji Instax Mini Camera! We all know Polaroid is no more, but the Fuji camera gives you the same instant printed pics Polaroid gave you. Check out details at Creature Comforts

* Please note, I am not the host of the giveaways I mention here or connected to them in any way, unless otherwise noted.

20 down, 980 to go!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 3 comments

I was actually serious when I said we were going to attempt to fold 1000 paper cranes in 6 months. Never mind that I had never folded one in my life before. I can't even fold a paper plane without messing up. But I love the symbol of paper cranes. They're auspicious birds in a lot of Asian cultures, including China and Japan. Legend says if a couple folds 1000 paper cranes, they can look forward to lucky marriage.


And when I heard you can actually donate your efforts toward cancer research, I knew this was a done deal. Instead of putting our time, money and effort into a DIY favor that no one will take home, we wanted to do something meaningful and hopefully make an impact. What better way than making a donation to a charity?