Monday, May 30, 2011

DIY Bridal Party Tanks

Ever since Mr. Hess and I got engaged I knew I wanted to give something special to my bridesmaids for being a part of our wedding day.  At first, it was going to be the shoes they are wearing for their gift, but then it hit me: there's other things I wanted to give them that just might mean a little more and feel a little more personable...

I was in one of my bridesmaid (Britt)'s wedding last November, and for her Bachelorette Weekend we ordered the cutest Bridal Party Tanks!  I fell in love with the tank style and little ribbon accent of them and decided that THOSE are going to be the bridesmaid shirts I give my girls!  So I went online and found a great website for this purpose called  I started from scratch by picking out the tank style, added the colors I wanted & chose the text of what I wanted the shirts to say.  I created the shirt I pictured in my head and figured I would add the bow later on when they came in.  I go to check out and BAM it hits me like a ton of bricks how ridiculously expensive this was going to be!  I mean, I have 9 beautiful bridesmaids...and this "extra" gift to them was something I really, really wanted them to have...but I just couldn't justify ordering them from this site. 

Here we go...back to the drawing board.

A few days go by, and I'm thinking about where I can get the shirts I wanted for the price I can afford and then I had an idea!  DIY (and for those who aren't familiar with the acronym, DIY means Do It Yourself!) That's it...all I had to do was buy the tanks, create an image to print on them, and add the bow - seems easy enough, right?

Step 1 was finding the tanks I wanted, and honesty this was not an easy task.  I would find a tank I would love, but it would be either over the price range I wanted or not come in the sizes I needed.  After all I needed 12 of these babies!!!! (9 for my Bridesmaids, 1 for my Flowermaid, 1 for my future sis-in-law who was coming to the party & 1 for me!!!) After going from store to store in the mall, I decided to look online instead and FINALLY found Aeropostale.   Lucky for me, the weekend I placed my order for the bright pink tanks there was a sale going on as well so I got a pretty great deal!

Step one: find the tank top...DONE!

Next step? Getting the customized image onto the tank!

To begin, let me just say how awesome our friend Rusty is at graphic design! He is the original creator of our HBSH logo that we have been using everywhere throughout our wedding.  I knew I could go to him to create the perfect logo for each shirt I needed & like always he went ABOVE & BEYOND my expectations!  Here is the original image he sent me:

Pretty cool, huh?

I have said it before and I will say it again: Rusty is an amazing, fun & creative artist.  He has done several projects for both Mr. Hess and I along the way of planning our big day and I would recommend him for anyone looking for any kind of custom design work.  Here's his website for more info:

Now that we have the shirt and the logos it was time to figure out how to get one on the other.  After calling around and getting ridiculous quotes from printers (each wanted to charge me a separate set-up charge for printing each different logo), I was at a loss of where to go to stay on my budget.  Finally, after a suggestion via twitter, Mr. Hess and I were steered to a wonderful t-shirt custom design & printing company called Mother Falcon.  It's located in Thornton Park in Orlando and they were an absolute delight!  We were pleasantly surprised to find out when we walked into the store that A) They were HUGE Magic fans & had created TONS of funny custom Magic Tee's I've admired at games and B) They wouldn't charge me any kind of set-up fee for printing t-shirts for me!  YAY! :)  The only thing I was surprised on is that the shirts came back all white instead of the white & green colored logo, but they said that was because the green squiggles were too thin...Oh well!

So I dropped the shirts off and picked them up 2 days later, it was that easy!  THANK YOU Mother Falcon!!! Check them out here:

So we've now got the tank, the logo, & a place to print!

After you've done all three of these things, the rest is pretty simple.  
Here is what I needed to complete the look I was going for:

  • Bridal Party Tank (with logo printed)
  • Ribbon - preferrably without wiring.  I used a bright lime green color that was 1 1/2" thick.
  • Measuring Tape - I cut each ribbon 32"
  • Scissors
  • Lighter
With the exception of the tanks, you can find any of those items above at a craft store like JoAnns, or Michaels.  Once all supplies was in hand, it was time to set each shirt up and tie those big 'ol lime green bows!  First, I cut each ribbon so that they were all cut long enough and to avoid wasting any ribbon by having to re-cut.  I figured out that 32" was the perfect length to cut the ribbon so that I could tie the bow onto the tank with ease and trim the ends later.

Next, start tying!  It sounds funny, but after a few attempts (and fails) I figured out the easiest way to tie the darn thing to make it look pretty and sit the right way is actually tying it upside down. 

Attach the bow to the tank by first making a knot (like you would when tying a shoelace) and place the first "bunny ear" like the picture above.  Loop the bow around like you're still tying your shoe and then situate the ribbon to lay with both "tails" facing down towards the shirt.  It takes a minute to make sure the bow is tight enough and in the right position to lay flat, but you'll get the hang of how to do it once you do the first one or two.

After the bow is attached to the shirt, I cut each end of the "tail" at an angle and burned the edges with the lighter so that the ribbon wouldn't fray.  This was an old trick I learned when I sewed my own pointe shoes and had to cut the ribbon to fit around my ankles!

Just don't burn your fingertips! ;)

TIP: Don't burn the edges too long, or it will misshape the ribbon or burn it to an ugly brown color.  Simply graze the flame by the entire edge just enough to form a hard rubber like edging.

And, VOILA! There you have it!  Your own, original, customized Bridal Party Tank Tops.  Wasn't that easy?!

I agree that the bow is a bit overwhelming for some, but believe me the shirts turned out adorable in pictures! All of my girls LOVED their surprise & I was so happy to have been able to customize and personalize a present for them.  Don't worry ladies, that is just 1 part of the bridesmaid presents...more to come closer to the big day.

I had just as much fun doing the gift bags as I did making the shirts!

I hope this helped anyone who wants to create customized shirts for a group & doesn't want to spend an arm and a leg to do it!  Like I said, it would have been easier to just order them online, but this was way more fun & cost effective.  I'm pretty proud of how cute they turned out - if I do say so myself - and can't wait to see them all on my girls again for the BIG DAY!

53 days to go!

When The Cat's Away, Mice Will Play (Or at least I will steal your computer mouse)

Bachelorettes and vikings? No idea!

Hello, is anyone there? Testing, testing... How does this thing work? I guess I just punch on these little letters, throw them into this electronic box, and it spits them back out at the voyeurs looking in our peephole called a blog? Well, here goes nothing:

As Ms. Presh is off enjoying an estrogen-packed weekend with "the girls," I have been left at home alone to take care of certain manly duties, such as scooping poop from the cat box and folding thongs. However, being half ninja blood, I took a moment to hack into her computer, also now known as the blog box, and thought I would punch in a few random thoughts to let you know a few extra tidbits about the author of this site, the incomparable Ms. Presh.

Warning: I am about to describe someone very special, so grab a drink and some popcorn (and perhaps some tissue) because this could get long.........

And baby, don't read this... it could get dangerously honest! :)

When I first saw this creature commonly referred to as HB, I watched as she gracefully took over a dance floor, seemingly floating effortlessly with every gliding movement. Then she tripped and fell as she stepped off of it! I told a mutual contact, "I'm going to marry that girl!" (True story.) But my fantasy was promptly smashed as I found out she was taken. I had not even talked to her up to that point. It began with merely a glimpse of this sickly gifted mystery woman that tickled my eye and awakened the butterflies that had long been sleeping within me.

It wasn't for several weeks that I finally was able to meet and speak my first words with her at a comedy festival, and she challenged me to a joke-off, and hence we wound up quoting lines from famous comedic movies. Are you kidding me? Is this woman for real? Does she know who I am?? 

Who is this eighth wonder of the world, and why God, are you torturing me with this she-devil? ... And what is this icky feeling I am getting in my heart?

But as only God would have it, I sat back and waited for Him to play his hidden hand. It wasn't until months later that the card up his sleeve was revealed -- and it turned out to be the Queen of Hearts (or at least of my heart)!!

When describing her, I have always said the same thing: she is one of the few humans I know that EVERYONE loves. It doesn't matter if it is an old grumpy man who rarely talks to anyone, or even a fickle female who trusts no one of her same gender... everyone adores Ms. Presh! In fact, that is how she got that name, and it didn't even stem from me originally. We were at a practice with several of her peers when one of her co-workers, lovingly known as Spike, kept repeating, "Ooooh, isn't she precious?" Well, in fact she is, and from that moment on, the name stuck.

You can't tell here... but she is more precious than naughty!
It's actually a little absurd how sweet and... well, precious... she is, and if you know her, you do not need to be reminded. If you don't know her, picture a cross between Minnie Mouse, Lady Diana, and Jenny McCarthy. The former only because... well, once again, if you know her you do not need an explanation. Truth be told, if you have a problem with Ms. Presh, you should probably take a good, hard look in the mirror, because chances are it's not her! I know this because whenever we have disagreements, it usually stems from my idiocy, and not the contrary. (I say that now, but if anything changes, I will let you know.)

Seeing her daily growth spiritually, emotionally, mentally... thankfully she never has to worry about physically... is my great honor and my gift in life. Her relationship with her family is unparalleled. Spending time with them is a priority for her, and that is a blessing that I miss out on far too much with my own. Her passion for people (and even animals) is unwaivering. She gives and gives and gives, expecting nothing in return, and actually becomes embarrassed when the attention is turned toward her, although more deserving than most. Her love for life is extraordinary, and when I say extraordinary, I mean "extra ordinary." She loves living more than the average person and she relishes the moment - every moment. The way she handles conflict and obstacles and drama (I hate that word but it's out there, especially in her world), I gotta say, I TAKE NOTES from Ms. Presh, the princess of calmness and the champion of resolution.

Sporting her shirt with a motto for life!
But the thing that has captured my heart the most is her budding love for the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords, the creator of the world who is also the creator of my special sweetheart, the one who brought me up from dark places only to find His light, and who delivered Ms. Presh to me in a time when I needed it the most. I have to tell you, when things started getting serious between us, I came to a moment of decision. Did she have the same beliefs as me? Was she willing to walk on the same spiritual plane as I wanted to go? Was I willing to compromise my God for my girl, the one I so desperately loved? The answer to all three was no. The crazy thing is Ms. Presh was a better person than me, and even had a gentler spirit and more passionate soul than me, but still I was conflicted because we were not parallel on the one thing that mattered most.

But let me tell you how big a God I serve: there was no pressure from my end, but only the occasional conversation and a consistent seed of a message planted at the beginning of our budding relationship together. One of the greatest moments of my life was getting to be a hand in Ms. Presh's commitment and baptism. She is not ashamed! Not only does she love the Lord, but she is a constant reminder of how amazing He is and how rich His blessings are. And now, she often keeps me in check in our daily walk, which happens with a sweet but meaningful punch in the face every now and then, and far too often.

I will admit it here and now, and every other time it pops up: I DO NOT DESERVE THIS WOMAN! People say it all the time, and I will not argue the obvious fact. I am certainly marrying UP! I try not to take things for granted in my life, but this elephant in the middle of the room is staring me down daily as a meek and humble, passionate and driven, consistent and genuine, gorgeous and sleek, petite, blond beauty (sometimes brunette, honey, or ginger, depending on the time of the year). Her deliverance has changed my life. Never has she tried to change me or the way I do things, but because of that, I WANT to change to constantly adapt to be the man of her dreams.

I was not even sure I would marry again. (Yes, I was married before for the newbies reading the blog.) I was slightly jaded and terribly hurt from that experience, and God knows I never saw it coming. I had not dated since junior high, so doing so was a like walking into another country with a backpack and flashlight, but not speaking any of their language. Meeting Ms. Presh removed me from that gross situation, changing my notion and clearing my head. She spoke the language of love, and that is what I needed the most! I have walls that would intimidate most onlookers, driving them away and bleeding them of their patience. But not Ms. Presh - she confronted them gently, taking them down like those of Berlin, with her chisel called love, brick by brick.

I want my kid to be just like her (far left)!!
Shocker alert!! This is going to be a little crazy for some of you out there, but those who really know me today, it will not. I work with kids nearly every day of my life, but seldom did I see myself desiring my own little wolfpack. Ms. Presh is a game changer. I... I... I... I want kids!! Shoot, it's not too late, right? Hopefully her traits win out so they are beautiful little boogers, running around that look like her, fart like her, act like her, break things like her, dress like her, burn toast like her, talk like her, love like her. Notice I didn't include my qualities in there... no, no, no... I definitely do NOT want to deal with those kids. (Seriously, please Lord, make them like her!)

And don't be surprised if that happens in Costa Rica, because we are going to enjoy it to the fullest! She's going to hate this part, but I warned her not to read due to my diarrhea of the mouth. If she has a baby nine months from our wedding night, don't any of you go thinking it happened sooner, because that would be impossible - in fact, a miracle. Many of you have heard the whispers, and speculate the rumors, but suffice it to say that what you possibly heard is true. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, read between the lines.) And for those of you who know me, you know it truly is a miracle! So look out Costa Rica... land of volcanoes... you have competition. (Sorry Ms. Presh.)

What else can i say? I have said this before, and many of you will probably hear me say it again... I have witnessed some crap in my life - it hasn't been all roses and champagne. But that is what makes life so amazing, isn't it! We must experience the bad, in order to appreciate the good. How would I recognize the peaks if I haven't first found myself in the valleys, how would I know what is warm unless I have first been cold, how could I see the light if I hadn't first been in the dark?

I love music, so let me explain it to you lyrically with a couple links: Rascal Flatts sang, "God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you..." and I believe that song fits. And similarly, the great lyricist Jason Mraz (how can he not be if he also sings "Geek In The Pink") explains my above sentiment best in his song, "Life Is Wonderful," given to me by a great friend several years ago. Check out the link and listen closely to the lyrics... it might take a few times to get it.

Wherever it goes, we're going together!
Ms. Presh, I don't know what our world together has in store. I have a feeling we will journey down some rivers of laughter, some trails of tears, some highways of adventure, and possibly some sideroads of misfortune. However, no matter where we venture, I have extreme comfort knowing that you will be traveling to experience it all alongside me.

You simply have to take a glimpse to your side and will find me there - the keeper of your heart, the guardian of your soul, the lover of your life, the leader of your home, your shoulder to lean on, your pillar of strength, the father of your babies, your very best friend. I will never take you for granted. I will never leave you forsaken. I will go to you for guidance. I will accept change. I would die for you, but I will certainly die with you.

I LOVE you.

Wow, I'm a mushy mess! But who can blame me? Let's get on with it already...



Monday, May 23, 2011


I absolutely CAN.NOT.BELIEVE. the wedding is now less than...


Normally, I would be stressing out at this point, running around like a crazy woman & spending every free second of the day trying to get something done.  Well, wait...I kind of am!  But, I'm trying my best to do all of these things sans the we'll see how it goes! ;)

Even though I have a break from my night job right now, I have a brand new one - full time wedding planning! :)  The good news is, I LOVE this job!  After going through what I have and planned what we've planned, I could really see the appeal of why wedding planners do what they do.  At the end of the day, it's for one purpose, and that's to join 2 peoples' lives together in marriage.  I would imagine this job is very rewarding at the end of the day when there is a happy, newlywed couple standing in front of you, giving you inspiration to move onto the next.  If you do enough reserach and find a handful of great and creative vendors in each of the main categories you need to plan a wedding, the stress level of the wedding planning process would seem to go down and eventually turn into fun...right?

At least that's what I'm telling myself.  We are officially into the detailed, pick this not that, add this to that, take some of these away from those kind of decision making at this point.  This is where the the more tedious of tasks come in, but this is also where some of the fun things begin to happen as well!  For one?! MY Bachelorette Weekend is coming up...THIS WEEKEND!!!! I can't believe it! I have been to a bachelorette party or five in my day, lol, and it's just so crazy to me that it's finally MY turn.  I know from here on out that time is seriously going to disappear...the weekend after that is one of my best friend Ashley's wedding!! She is a bridesmaid of mine, and I am also in her wedding.  Her BIG DAY sure did come fast, and I know mine is going to feel like a split second right after hers - so we're getting down to the wire & I am SO EXCITED!

There are definitely TONS of things I could be writing about during this stage of the planning process, but the trick is that Mr. Hess and I don't want to give too much away.  These are the details we are planning to go into our ceremony, our reception, our decorations & accessories.  Believe me, it is KILLING me not to do a blog about a few things we've put together, but I know keeping the element of surprise will be well worth it when I can share everything with you AFTER the big day.

For starters? INVITATIONS!!!!! We have officially decided what OUR wedding invitation and enclosure cards will look like and they are being assembled as we speak! I can't wait to get them in my hands and into the mail at the very beginning of June.  I'm very much looking forward to posting about those bad boys, once I know they have all gone to their rightful owners...they turned out PERFECT!!! :)

So, what does one focus on @ the 2 MONTH TO GO mark?
Well - there's tons, but here's a look at what's posts are coming up :
  • Invitations
  • Videographer (I know there's someone out there for us!)
  • Bachelorette Party & Bridal Shower (YAY!!!)
  • Writing our Wedding Vows <3
  • Wedding Favors (or...hmm?)

And I'll leave you with that for now.  I'm sure there will be plenty of updates and stories along the way....

60 days to go...(but who's counting?!)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

All about the Ceremony

With just about 2 months to go, it's finally that time where we are getting down to the details.  Our venues and vendors are booked, our cake is picked out and we know what our centerpieces will look like.  Mr. Hess and I have spent the last several months focusing on the reception and the main decorations of our BIG DAY, but today it hit us...we haven't spent more than a few minutes talking about the wedding ceremony.

If you were to ask either one of us, we would both tell you the wedding ceremony IS the most important part of this entire day!  Although most of our focus has been on the wedding reception, events leading up to the day, and details having to do with everything that will happen AFTER the nuptials, we have yet to accessorize the chapel and go through the ceremony that we will share vows at.  So, it's time to start crackin'...

We have seen a few different approaches to how brides in the past have decorated the space of our chapel, and we have the general idea of what we do and what we don't want to use.  Before I go any further, you should know that we really, really wanted to get married in a church.  I have had dreams of what an outdoor garden wedding would be like, or even a ceremony on the beach, and I loved the idea of both of those.  BUT, we just couldn't shake wanting the one traditional aspect of the wedding day to be sharing wedding vows at an actual altar, in a chapel, at a church.  I knew this was one of the more important things that both of our families would appreciate, and to be completely honest I am just as excited about the ceremony as I am the reception!

Our actual chapel...without giving TOO much away!

With all of that said, the choice to have our ceremony inside of our church's chapel was a very simple one.  For one, being in mid-July I couldn't image standing anywhere outside for any length of time in central Florida even attempting not to sweat, and for another, our church just so happens to have a wedding chapel used for this purpose when we saw the space we both thought THIS was the place to do it!

 In the very beginning of our relationship, I started joining Scott at his church, First Baptist Church of Orlando.  I thought the church was HUGE, but loved the senior pastor, the people and the community the church had to offer.  Even though the main congregation can hold thousands, I have always felt like I've gotten to know a decent amount of people and have felt connected as part of a church family there.  This church has gotten us through some hard times, some happy times, and has allowed me to personally grow spiritually more and more every year.  It was a treat to go to service last Sunday, because I usually work on the weekends, and as we were leaving the church I stopped for a second and just gazed up at Henry Chapel.  I had the biggest smile on my face and turned to Mr. Hess saying, "we are going to get married RIGHT THERE!"... Every time I pass this chapel, I keep picturing what the day will look like and it's finally starting to come together.

The view we first saw of the chapel & never knew this building was just for weddings!

I'm going to leave a lot of what I WANT to put in this post out of it, because there are some things I really want to be saved for the BIG DAY only.  What I can tell you is that the chapel is beautiful, and is obviously designed by a woman!  LOL, I say this because there is a great prep room for the bridal party complete with couches and coffee tables, a full length mirror, a bathroom suite with mirrors and bright stage lights, TONS of outlets, an ironing board, fans & a full length closet!  The groom's suite is a similar version of the bridal suite, but just a little smaller and not as many outlets (see why I think a WOMAN designed this one?!) Brilliant.  I'm looking forward to spending the last hour or two with my bridal party in that room and getting ready for the biggest day of my life!

Although we want the traditional aspect of having a ceremony IN a church, that doesn't mean everything about it has to be traditional.  We are certainly going to have bible readings, prayer, vows, singers, and rings, but we are going to try to add in a few things here and there that people haven't seen before.  For one, we are figuring out the unity candle...traditionally, the bride and groom each light a candle and then use their flames together to light one big one in the middle to symbolize joining their lives in marriage.  Some people use sand ceremonies as an alternative - blending two colors of sand together, or even use flowers - like a rose from each mother's bouquet.  We like all of these ideas, but have a few more I want to save in case we end up using one in OUR unity!

I've been getting more and more excited as Mr. Hess and I talk about each part of the ceremony and decide what we want to do.  I am SO SO SO happy that our senior Pastor David will be conducting our ceremony, and I know that what he is going to share with our guests and to us that day will be absolutely beautiful.  Almost every sermon I listen to and certainly every service I attend, I end up tearing up at one point or another because I get such a great feeling being in that church.  Pastor Dave has a way of really inspiring you, and you totally get what he's trying to preach.  When I found out we were officially having our ceremony IN our chapel at church and Pastor Dave was officiating us, I was estatic!  I couldn't imagine it happening any other way, which is really one of the main reasons we decided to have the wedding here in Orlando.  Believe me, there are times Mr. Hess and I swear we should have eloped.  BUT, when I think about how much this ceremony is going to mean to us I calm down, take a few breaths, and remember the feeling I get every time I pass by the chapel.  It's going to be OKAY, it's going to be perfect, and it's going to be US.

As time is flying by, I am getting very anxious and ready for the day to get here already!!! There is still so much to do, so many more decisions to make, and still a few people to hire.  At times, it can get very overwhelming, but I am at a state now with two months left where I am at peace.  As long as we get the ceremony in place and set, the rest will happen...eventually.  Nobody is going to know if something did or didn't happen but us, and when it comes down to it the ceremony IS the most important part of it all.  I can't wait to share it all with you after the wedding...

63 days until the "I DO"s,

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Costa Rican Honeymoon!

I know I've mentioned it before on here a time or two, but I am SO EXCITED to share that Mr. Hess and I will be going to the beautiful, scenic, exotic & dreamy country of COSTA RICA for our Honeymoon!

At first, we wanted to go somewhere in Europe like Ireland (Mr. Hess's dream vacation) or Italy (MY dream vacation), but we quickly figured out we would just have too much to do there!  Plus, those flights alone are not ideal for our budget right, we thought long and hard and out of nowhere it hit us:  We bid on, won & paid for a "get-away" trip down to Costa Rica for a 5 day 4 night stay at a great resort in the Guanacasta region about 2 years ago. Well, what better way to use a "get-away" than cash it in for our Honeymoon?! Pretty genius if you ask me....

Costa Rican Paradise....ahhhhhhh!

I knew we wanted to go on a longer trip than 5 days so we added a weekend onto our stay at another resort that's a little more on the "nicer" side - close to what we would pick out ourselves to stay for our big celebration!  I don't know the exact hotel name because I told Mr. Hess that is HIS department, and he has now made it more of a surprise for me & I won't complain about that whatsoever...I think it's more exciting that way!  Here (at Resort #2), we will spend the last 2 nights of our stay in a different city and get to experience more of the country's culture & scenery.

When we were booking our flights, we saw there are 2 options:
1) Fly into the LIR Airport in Guanacaste (which is only about a 20 minute drive) -OR- 2) Fly into San Jose, rent a car, and make a 4 hour drive ourselves to Guanacaste.

At first, I thought this was decision was a no brainer as we thought to ourselves: "who wants to voluntarily be in a car for 4 hours trying to navigate yourselves in a foreign country?" But, after seeing the price difference (almost double of flying into San Jose) we chose to use the opportunity to fly in a little bit cheaper to take the scenic route and enjoy the beautiful sights, beaches and culture along the way!  So, yup, you heard correctly...Mr. Hess and I (a girl NOTORIOUS for getting lost EVERYWHERE she goes) will be driving ourselves across the coast to Guanacaste and back...and hopefully we won't kill each other in the process! :)  I'm nervous we might get lost, but you know what? Nobody's on a time's Our Honeymoon, we're going to be together, & we have an extra 2 nights for that we don't feel rushed.

The view from our Resort!
Breakfast on the big deal.
Playa Hermosa Beach, right by the Hotel!

I can't explain how incredibly I'm excited for this trip to get here already!  OF COURSE I'm excited for our Wedding Day - (DUH), but I am JUST as excited to take our first trip as a married couple together to a place neither of us have ever been and just RELAX!  We wanted a place that had beautiful beaches, had a Caribbean feel, and had no sort of schedule to follow...and I'm pretty sure we found it!  We won't have much to do but simply enjoy paradise, lay out on the beach, eat, drink & be merry (or married)! ;) We might even do a snorkling or zip lining, fun, fun!

Everyone we've talked about it RAVES about this place and from any picture I've seen online I would agree.  After all of the planning, stress, and headaches leading up to our BIG DAY it will be SOOOOOOOO nice to get away and celebrate our new lives together!!!!!!

And, I'm sure you didn't think THIS was coming, but enjoy a random but oddly entertaining video we put together honoring this joyous occasion....(and, I apologize in advance for 2 things: the muffled sounds from the wind - sounds like we're actually IN Costa - and well...Mr. Hess, or "Taco"...You'll see....)

69 days and counting...
72 until we're on the plane...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

TOP 10 Wedding Planning Sites

Mr. Hess and I have had A LOT of things we've been working on for the wedding lately, but to be honest they are all things that I didn't really want to share my blogpage because it would give tooooo much away about our BIG DAY.  A lot of what we are doing especially for our reception, we want to be a surprise for our guests. Since a lot of them frequent our site, I have to hold off on some things that are KILLING ME not to share...but don't worry - the wedding is almost 2 months away!  :)

One huge thing we have both been working hard on is getting our Bridal Party presents done...and this hasn't been an easy task by any means.  We both have known what we want to get our guys and girls, but knowing and actually picking out and purchasing things are different stories! I'm happy to say that after quite some time we are well on our way to finishing those and I can't wait to share with all of you...(Of course, you probably won't find out until after the wedding day, since that's when they will all see them...oops, sorry for the teaser there).

Other things we've been working on include decor for the ceremony & the reception, and that's something I definitely want to leave more on the private side.  I've given you the color scheme, Wedding Hints, location & the themes we're going with, so hopefully that will hold you all over for a little bit.... 

This is a pretty good picture of what it looks like when Mr. Hess and I plan online!

Okay, since I'm not being a very good at sharing all of those details, I am going to share with you my:

Each one of these listed below has helped me come up with cool ideas, get organized, or even get me through a hard place.  I have either heard about these sites from friends, read about them on blogs, or stumbled upon them in my planning adventures.   

So, in no particular they are:
  1. I found this site through a friend &  have gotten TONS of ideas, inspirations and links to sister sites off of here.  I am pretty much in love with every real wedding that's featured here and I have even found a vendor or two through this one.
  2. another one of my friend's shared this one with me & suggested that I submit my blog to this site, and I will hopefully figure out how to do that!  Here you can find (again) TONS of ideas, pictures & blogsites that can help make your big day truly unique! I could seriously spend a day doing nothing but looking at stuff on
  3. my absolute hands down favorite website to order anything handmade from.  This one has definitely helped me pick out some adorable additions to my day, as well as gifts for my other friends who are getting married!
  4. this is actually an iPhone app, but a full computer version is available and is absolutely amazing.  This site makes it soooo easy to find great vendors in your city & I LOVE how they feature blogs about every category right next to any search, from real brides.  TONS of great info and pictures to inspire you!
  5. the website we used to create our very own wedding website!  This one is also helpful for planning, budgeting, and keeping your RSVP list straight.
  6. a great tool to use for keeping a budget, planning, vendor info & even creating your wedding website.  Here you can also find apps to download on your phone & endless tips to help you along the way!
  7. HERE is where we ordered our fabulous customized HBSH wedding stamps from.  They have tons of other accessories, labels, t-shirts, and more you can customize and order for your big day.
  8. I found A LOT of helpful reviews on my vendors here.  I spent a good amount of time researching what others had to say about their companies before we hired anyone!  Also, this one is great for wedding planning, budgeting, and you can even chat with other brides.
  9. I've found a lot of helpful articles on this one topics like Wedding Day do's & don'ts, how to keep wedding costs down, and planning tips.
  10. HERE is where we got our Save the Date Magnets from!  I thought they were pretty cool, reasonally priced & if you click on the top left corner it navigates you to, a great blog site with lots of wedding related Q&A, pics and articles.
AND THERE YOU HAVE THEM!  I'm sure there are a lot more great websites out there dedicated to help brides & grooms plan their day, but those are the ones that I've personally enjoyed using the most.  On top of those, I frequent bride-to-be blogpages whenever I can and I've truly enjoyed sharing what I've learned with others as well.

So, I hope that ties you over for a few more days...Mr. Hess and I are still spending most of our time right now finishing up a lot of the "secret" details & will have much more to share with you verrrrrrry soon! And, I'll try to share some of those gifts I was talking about when they are revealed to their rightful owners... ;)

Until then, 73 days to go!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Finding the perfect Tux!

TUXES have been something Mr. Hess and I have been trying to get done for a looooong time.  You would think that it doesn't take that long to go into a tux store, get the groom measured and pick out what the guys in the bridal party will be wearing for your wedding....but lo and behold here we were trying to make something simple more difficult than it has to be...for months!   
Big surprise, right?!

After months of searching online, going into tux stores and finally making some decisions - we found the tuxes the guys will be wearing! (Can I take a second to say a Hallelujah?!)...YAY! 

Closing the notebooks because the decision is MADE!

The search began a few months ago when Mr. Hess and I decided we wanted the guys to be in gray.  Although we have used some black and white in our decor, we thought the gray would be a better summery look, as well as more contemporary and casual which is what our wedding is alllll about.  So, the search began online and we searched high and low under the "contemporary gray suit" category.  You wouldn't believe what kind of crazy stuff showed up, but finally we found a picture we both LOVED and went off of it for inspiration to dress our guys.

The first stop was Men's Warehouse.  This is a great place to rent or buy a tux, and the service was very good, but they just didn't have the selection we were looking for.  Bummed, Mr. Hess and I went back home to look online again at what stores would have the kind of tux we were looking for.  We loved this picture we found SO much, Mr. Hess actually contacted the photographer who took it and it turns out the wedding was from a few years back and the guys actually bought half of it from Target online and rented the rest from a tux store.  How crazy is that?!  Sounds very practical, if you ask me...I'm all about being able to find stuff for everyone that they can re-use, but at the same time that also sounds like a unnecessary headache.  Locating 9 (10 including the Groom, & 11 including the Ring Bearer) pants and jackets in the same style, all in the right sizes and altering them just didn't sound like something we wanted to deal the search continued...

Searching and searching for THE ONE!

FINALLY, shortly after we decided to give up on the finding pieces for everyone adventure, we decided to hop back on the computer and pray to find something in a store close by similar to what we wanted.  What's this? Jos. A BANK contemporary gray tuxes?  AHHH! HERE YOU ARE!  I can't believe it was right in front of us the entire time!  I guess the reason I didn't think to use this store was because my friend Britt used them for her wedding back in November, and said some of the tuxes ended up coming in in the wrong sizes and that's just something nobody has time to deal with.  BUT, Jos A. BANK was the store that had THE TUX we were looking what do you do right?  We decided to risk it, and went to the closest Jos. A BANK store next to us, which happened to be RIGHT NEXT TO the shop I got my bridal gown at - DUH!!! I seriously can't believe it was literally right under our noses this entire time, but the important thing is we found it! :)

Once we got there, we instantly found the tux we were looking at and signed that baby up under our names.  DONE!  Or so you might think...? Of course, Mr. Hess and I were not content with the idea of just picking out a tie from their store, and the reason for this is because they just didn't have the color we were looking for. 

Bow ties?! Probably not...but I wanted a picture of them! Where's OUR color combo?

You know our colors by now: Pink & Lime Green!  That color combo is not something you see everyday, especially in the shades we're working with, and especially not at a traditional tux store!  SO....after the tux store we made a trip to the good 'ol outlet malls.  We had already been looking at the Millenia Mall as well as online, but I just wanted to make sure there wasn't anything we were missing out on at the outlets for design ideas, or for price.  And I am happy to report we found some great options, in fact, too many options!  Mr. Hess ended up buying one tie, but we still love 2 others from the same store and it's going to take trying to find enough of these guys online to make the decision for us of which one to go with.  But...I think I've given you enough details and Mr. Hess is probably going to say I've given away TOO I'll just leave the rest up to your imaginations!

Happy  Just imagine what the inseem measurement was like! ;)

So there you have it - the saga of finding our perfect tuxes!  It seemed to be a long, kind of confusing, and somewhat frustrating road, but we HAVE THEM!  And I have to say, seeing Mr. Hess try a similar jacket on to what we picked instantly gave me goosebumps.  I pictured what it would be like to see him in THE tux on THE wedding day, and I got a little teary eyed.  I really, really, really can't wait.

Now if we could just get him to shave that beard!!! ;)

78 days until it's TUX TIME!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wedding Hint #7

Starting out May with a Wedding Hint!

I chose to do this one in a video format & you'll see why when you watch it:

I thought the cutout was pretty neat - so kudo's on that, Dad!



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