Wednesday, March 31, 2010

J's Next Job - Hotel Blocks!

At some point it dawned on me that I would need to do that whole room-reservations-at-hotels thing. I wanted to get it done before the Save the Dates went out so our wedding website could be all updated before anyone looked at it.

So I thought to myself Okay Katie, your next wedding list to-do item is hotels! Shortly after that I had another thought: I have no idea how to go about reserving hotel blocks...

I mentioned to J that I didn't really feel like I knew what I was doing on the hotel thing, and he was all like "oh well you just do this and then this and they'll do this and blah blah blah." So I'm like " do you know all this stuff?" and he's like "Oh, I had to do hotel blocks when I planned that fraternity convention in college." Umm hello? Why the heck was I stressing over hotels when J has done it before, and could do it for me?

So, I took the hotels thing off of my to-do list, and placed it on J's. He researched the hotels in the surrounding area and picked 3, and then he called them and got it all worked out. And all I had to do was put the information on the wedding website. Love him.

So here are the three hotels we ended up with, followed by my tips for hotel blocks:

1. Homewood Suites - Discounted rooms, free breakfast, and only suite-style rooms

2. Hilton Garden Inn - free shuttles to/from the wedding, and discounted rooms

3. Courtyard by Marriot - discounted rooms, super-close to the church!

  • DON'T agree to anything that could possibly force you to pay for unused rooms. You shouldn't have to.
  • DON'T pick hotels that are not within convenient distances of your wedding. They may be cool hotels, but people won't want to stay in them.
  • DO check online ratings for your hotels. You don't want to send you guests to anywhere yucky!
  • DO pick a variety of hotels in a variety of price ranges. We picked one that was suite-style for the families that are coming, one that has a free shuttle so guests can use it to get to/from the wedding, one with free breakfast, one near a shopping mall, etc.
  • DO ask the hotels to set up an online reservations link for you. It's much easier than making your guests enter a "Group code" into a textbox that can be hard to find on the reservations page.
  • DO let your groom be all proud of himself when a hotel's event manager tells him she "never gets phone calls from grooms, only brides!!"
So, which one would you want to stay at?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Plaid is Rad.

J and I like to make fun of couples who match each other. The other day we were at HEB, and this couple walked out...and not only were they both in khaki pants and a light green shirt, but their little girl was matching as well. They weren't exactly know, like it was enough off that they obviously didn't wake up and say "Hey, let's wear the same thing." But somehow they ended up wearing the same thing anyway.

Yeah, we make fun of those people.

Or at least we did...until it happened to us.

This was us at a sorority party on Saturday. I had already picked out and ironed my dress, and I WAS NOT going to change....and he only brought that one shirt from Houston. So, "Plaid is rad" became our catchphrase of the evening.

So I'm this just something that happens once you have a ring on your hand? If so, I feel pretty bad about all those people we ever made fun of. To you, green family at Kroger, I sincerely apologize.

But hey, it could be worse. At least we're not like these couples:

Lesson learned: Don't make fun of people. It will happen to you.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Ring Made of...Green Wax?

Okay, so I have this pretty engagement ring, right?

Ooh! Sparkly!

And I like to look at it and ooh and aah at it, especially its pretty little engraved sides. Sometimes I feel like I should give it a name. Something pretty but exciting. Something like Isabella. Or Lola!

Lola? Yes?

Anyway, it was all happiness and Ring Land, until I realized I need a wedding band. You know, a little ring that will cover up one of the pretty sides of my dear Lola! Yikes!

I bravely accompanied J to various jewelry stores looking for a nice little wedding band to go with my pretty ring, but all I could find were bands that made my ring look not-quite-as-pretty. The bands covered up the pretty sides. They didn't match the engraving. They didn't fit with the not-quite-flat but not-quite-curved shape. Lola doesn't make friends easily.

I decided to just forego the wedding band entirely. Who needs a second ring anyway? Lola's an independent girl.

Or at least she was....until my mom and grandma started commenting that everyone would look at my left hand and think I was just engaged for the rest of my life. I realize that this may or may not be true, but a little part of me started to crave the wedding band I had given up on. Plus, what girl doesn't jump at the opportunity for just a few more diamonds? Hehe.

J had a friend at work who knew a custom designer named Nicole, so we went to see her. I made this diagram of what I wanted (I know, I know...micromanage much?), and she told me she could do it. Lola will have a buddy after all!

Milgrain. Engraving. Curvy a little bit.

Nicole's jeweler just finished a model of what my band will look like, and here it is!

They can make a model of green wax to show you! How cool is that?
Oh and look...the engraving will match. Type A Katie is thrilled.

Those little holes will have diamonds just like the ones on my E-ring. See how it fits flush against Lola? They're friends.

That little sparkly detail is called a "Peekaboo diamond," and Nicole thought of it for me. I love how it will make the side view a little more interesting.

So, I will have a wedding band after all, and it will be perfect. It actually isn't much more expensive than the non-custom rings we were looking at, so we're happy!

What do you think? Will Lola like her new friend, or will she be unhappy sharing the spotlight?

Excuses, excuses.

Okay, so I know I haven't posted lately.

It's because I spent 8 days on a cruise. So I didn't post for 8 days.

And I didn't do anything for the wedding during those 8 days either, so I didn't have anything to post about when I got back.

And I'm sorry...I totally didn't realize how many people read this thing until people started telling me they missed it. So umm, thanks for reading! And uhh....stop being creepers and reading without commenting to let me know you're here, okay?

I mean...if you want to just read and never comment and be anonymous that's fine too. I just get really excited when people leave me comments. :o)

Anyway....more posts are coming starting tomorrow! Yay! Spirals and Spatulas is back in business!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Something to Shove my Toes Into...

Today, I got some wonderful unexpected news:

My lovely, beautiful, everything-I-ever-wanted dress has arrived!

Three weeks early! Of course, the dress shop called Mom rather than me to inform her that it arrived (you know, since she's the one who paid for it and all...), and Mom proceeded to go ahead and schedule a fitting for THIS SATURDAY. Which is great, except that I do not have wedding shoes!!

My first option is these little guys:

Steve Madden. Maroon. Lovely little ruffles.

These guys have a lot going for them:

  • I absolutely love them. They're my favorite pair of shoes. I've been avoiding wearing them just so they'll still look new if I decide to wear them down the aisle, and the avoidance is killing me!

  • They're maroon. I have this thing about wearing colored shoes. Like...even if the rest of my wedding was totally boring (which it isn't, but if it was), I could still have control over this one little thing, and make my shoes reflect my personality (which is not all monochromatic and white).

  • They were like $15 at Ross. Wearing them at my wedding would say "I wear what I like. I don't buy things because they're expensive, I buy things because I love them. I'm not one of those people who will spend hundreds of dollars on her wedding day shoes." Of course, no one would hear my shoes say that except for me. So it's actually kind of silly.

  • The heel is low. I know I can dance comfortably in them.

  • I bought these shoes to wear on the day that I received my Aggie class ring from Texas A&M. Aggie rings are a big deal (for some reason we make a bigger deal out of this than most other schools), and it would be kind of special to wear shoes from the day that I received my first  rest-of-my-life ring.

  • Oh, and one other teeny tiny factor: I planned my wedding colors around these shoes!
Here's the downside to the Steve Maddens: They're kind of shiny, and I'm just not sure that they'll really "go" with my dress. I'll definitely bring them to the fitting, but I think the style of the dress and the style of the shoes might just not work. So, I need another pair.

I'm thinking they'll be ivory, just because I don't think I picked a "color-friendly" dress. I'm planning on using Friday as a shoe-shopping day, so unfortunately I'm a bit limited to what I can find at malls/outlet malls/etc. Nevertheless, here are some cute options I've found.

Kate Spade. These say the opposite of the $15 Ross shoes.

I found these at David's Bridal while we were doing BM dresses. Cute, no?

Of course, then there's the option of buying boring shoes and dressing them up with a shoe clip...

Somehow I have to figure this out before Saturday. What's a bride to do? So many little time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


The most important part of our wedding is the part in the Church when we actually become husband and wife before God and our families and friends and yadda yadda yadda.

The second most important part is the cake. Yeah. It's that important. When we got engaged, I first booked the Church, then the country club, and then the cake. Yep.

I used to think it was highly possible that no bride cared more about her cake than I did. Then I saw this picture.

I did some research and compiled a list of 7 different cake vendors that I wanted to meet with. I fully intended on visiting all seven for tastings (this may or may not be partially due to my strong love of cake...), and then picking one based entirely on the taste of the cake. Decorative and pretty cakes are great, but cakes were created to taste good, and any cake allowed into my wedding must be pleasing to the taste buds!!

The first on my list of seven was a 9:00am appointment with Nutmeg & Co.

[[SIDENOTE: Schedule your cake tastings for the morning. Just do it. Cake for breakfast is the best. Seriously.]]

I arrived with Mommy and MOHsister in tow, and I was pretty excited. Megan from Nutmeg and Co. gave us tea and water and fancy napkins with our cake samples, which was pretty cool.

Me and MOHsister, ready for cake breakfast!

We each grabbed a fork, and with a glance at each other to say Let the eating begin!, we dug in. And then, something surprising happened... Megan's cake was good. Like, real good. My mom was making yummm noises. Each flavor seemed impossibly better than the last, until I reached the Holy Grail of wedding cake: Nutmeg and Co.'s white cake with strawberry filling and cream cheese icing. I immediately thought to myself, "I need this cake at my wedding. And possibly at every birthday from now until I get so old that I have no taste buds left."

Plus there's this: It has dark red parts on the inside. So even after we cut into it, it will match the wedding colors! Is it crazy that this pleases me? Probably.

A minute or so later I put a forkful of Megan's "chocolate truffle" into my mouth, and it was Game Over again. J's grooms cake? Done. I did a good fiance thing and asked Megan to box up the leftover pieces of each slice so I could take them home to J. J, Daddy, and littleBMsister loved the cake as well. We polished off every last crumb. Delish. This cake was the best cake ever. Hands down.

Daddy, J, and littleBMsister. They like cake almost as much as I do.

Of course, I did have those 6 other cake places left to try. In my mind I was pretty sure that cake just doesn't get much better, but on the off chance that beyond-blissful cake existed, I wanted to keep looking.

Hello delicious cakes...I want to eat every single one of you again. And again. And again.

A few more tastings later, I realized I was right all along. Really, really good cake can't be found just anywhere, and I had luckily stumbled upon it in my first tasting! I scratched the last few on my list of seven, and quickly got back to Megan with some sketches of what I wanted for my cakes. She's been a dream to work with ever since!

Ahh, a match made in cake heaven. :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sugar, sugar...

So remember when I really wanted cookies and milk at our reception? (If not, check it out here.)

Sorry to disappoint, but...well...umm...basically...that's not happening.

It turns out our venue has a pretty strict no-outside-food policy...and it turns out they don't really want to let me break the rules. Something about health codes and liability or something. Yeah, like I'm going to poision my wedding guests.

I asked if the catering staff could do it, but apparently they'd like to charge me $3 per person for everyone to have one little cookie and one little shotglass of milk. Umm, no thanks. For that amount of money, I could buy myself two shiny new KitchenAid mixers.

Or better yet, one mixer and one puppy!

Mixer source, Puppy source

I haven't totally ditched the idea. My beloved cookies and milk could maybe make a Rehearsal Dinner appearance. Or maybe just a night-before-the-wedding appearance. My bridesmaids are all spending the night with me, and I'm sure they won't mind. :) Cookie Pajama Party!!!

But guess what...I have a new plan for my wedding day sugar high: Candy buffet! I've actually OKed this one with the venue already (Why is candy acceptable, but cookies aren't?). This could double as a favor for all our guests, and I'm pretty excited about it. I'm hoping for something like these:

So basically I need like 6-10 glass jars, and a buttload of candy! I've done a little research on this already, and guess what? There are websites like Candy Warehouse that let you buy candy in 5-10 pound packages. My ten-year old sister is going to love this project! Wait...who am I kidding? I am going tolove this project! I'm pretty sure I've been waiting my entire life to have 10 pounds of gummi O's show up in my mailbox. Or outside my mailbox, because my mailbox is just not that big.

I'm still a little bummed about the cookies, but I'm really excited about the possibility of a table filled with candy!! What do you think? Any candy buffet tips?