Welcome to August Vows

This blog started a year before the big day, and chronicled the wedding-planning from a bride's perspective. I considered closing it and starting a new one as a Mrs., but you know... our vows were the most important part of the day, and will be our backbone as we develop a life and family together. I can't think of anything more appropriate than continuing to call my blog August Vows, and so it's here to stay.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Showers of Love

The last Saturday of July was my beautiful bridal shower. I came home from a business trip to Minneapolis late Friday night, and enjoyed a lazy Saturday morning before heading over. I need to reiterate that my Maid of Honour, Michelle, is truly amazing.

So many amazing women were there to greet me when I arrived. Looking around, I was really amazed at what a diverse look at my life they represented. My grandmother was there, with my great-aunt. Cousins, girlfriends... work friends, school friends... some I've known for only a couple of years, and some I've known since I was 5. One of my oldest friends brought her baby girl, and it was delightful to have her there too!

I suddenly understand the meaning of "shower." I've always assumed it was a showering gifts. I got spoiled, no doubt, but in so many ways. It was a shower of love, laughter, and stories. It was a shower of wisdom and blessings that having a group of women together can bring. It was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

I have to brag about two gifts that astounded me. My grandmother presented me with a floral cross-stitch she did for me. I love my grandma's needlework. She taught me (I'm not that good), and it really is a defining part of our relationship. My mom has spent time putting together a cookbook of family recipes for me. It includes all my favourites and I can't wait to get started with them!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Today's Already-Dones

I'm going to list some of my already-dones instead of talking about everything I have to do still. Reporting on accomplishments keeps me motivated to do more, much more than a massive list does. Speaking of massive lists... I have one. I find it overwhelming, so my new method is to look at it once a day and pick 5 or so things that I, or my mom, can get done that very day. A list of 5 things is much more approachable than a list of 50 things.

Today's Dones:

1. Dropped off the hairband I chose for my headpiece. The seamstress who is working on my dress is going to attach my mom's beautiful veil to this after she covers it with a coordinating fabric. I'm nervous because I don't really understand how this going to look, but I'm sure it will turn out beautifully.

2. Visited Western Tux to discuss switching over there from Moores. More on this later.

3. Found a Barn Star for a project I'm planning to do. Stay tuned! Does anybody know where to get small versions of these? Mine is quite large, and I'd like 2 smaller ones as well.

4. Resent three invitations that had come back undelivered.

5. Updated list of guests for the wedding -- we have 57 confirmed so far!

And, had a Starbucks iced coffee with milk, which is clearly the thing that's fueling me through this list.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Customization of a Dress

First of all, I need to apologize for not having any photos of the dress process. I keep meaning to, and I keep forgetting. Perhaps this is how it should be.

I had my first official dress fitting last week. Have I mentioned it's perfect? The first time I tried the dress on, it was a little tight. This time, it did up so beautifully. I'm thrilled, it really felt wonderful. The seamstress I'm working with has not many size alterations to do... really just a hem.

However, we've decided on two changes. First, we're making a design change, and I'm extremely happy with it.  I think it takes this dress, which is gorgeous, and makes it MINE. It totally speaks to my personality and style, which has got to be a win.

Second, we're altering the veil. My mom's veil is gorgeous, but the lace headpiece is just too fragile to work with. Since we have a little extra dress fabric, we're having a headpiece made. We will be attaching my mom's actual veil (the tulle part) to this new piece. I'm nervous about it. Even though I know it's the right thing to do, part of me really resists changing what my mom wore.

But, I can't wait to show you the results!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Camcorder Giveaway!

I'm trying to learn to be more frugal, since Dan is going back to school and we'll be living "skinny" for a while. I've recently been introduced to The Grocery Shrink, and I love Angela's blog! 

Today, she's posted a giveaway for a Vado HD Camcorder! Get thee to her blog and enter... I personally think it'd be excellent to have this little device around for all the many events leading up to the wedding!

The Grocery Shrink Blog is here: http://www.groceryshrink.typepad.com/

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Invitation Inserts

Our invitations have arrived, and I love them. I think it was wise to order them and not make them myself. However, I did forget one small detail to add to them... our website address! I've worked hard on the website and really wanted people to know where to find it! When I realized this, I tried to come up with all sorts of possibilities to add it on there. Dan heard the conundrum and instantly remarked:

"Why not just print it up on a separate little card?"

... umm, I needed somebody to tell me this? Clearly I am sleep deprived, but to be fair, my friend who was with me hadn't thought of it either.

So, tonight with the help of Apple's Pages, I did just that. I managed to match the border and colour pretty closely, and Pages has a great business card template that made it a snap. I'm thrilled!

I do have one more "insert card" I'd like to add to the package, but I'm happy to have figured out how.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Christmas in May...

Seriously, all I need is a red suit and I'd be Santa Claus. I'm making my list folks, and I'm checking it twice... and three, four, five times over.

I am completely and utterly paranoid that now, when it comes down to finalizing the list and writing out all those addresses, that I'm going to forget somebody. 

So far, the count is 116 "parties" (that is, the number of invitations) and just shy of 200 people. Mom & I still need to go back through and figure out which kids are invited, and who exactly we've missed.

And then I'll probably have nightmares about not sending an invitation to my grandma, or one friend out of a group or something ridiculous like that. How do people handle this part? 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Fun Purchase

Today I went shopping with my mom to look for mother-of-the-bride outfits, and made a very fun purchase of my own. I bought a dress for the rehearsal dinner. This was obviously not as important as my bridal gown, but it was way easier. It's turquoise and brown, and I adore it. I think I will even take it on the cruise! I've not typically been a dress kind of girl, and certainly never dresses that aren't long, but I think I can pull it off. 

I'm surprised at how excited I am for this small item done. I'm trying to do one wedding task per day, and this was a good one!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

100 Days!

The countdown may officially begin!

I almost missed it... good thing I stay up late. ;)

What Not To Do

Alright, so, because a good friend got engaged this past weekend, my mind buzzes along with things she's just gotta know. And since I've learned that people DO actually read this blog (please leave comments so I know!) I figure somebody out there might be interested in hearing me blather on. I've been engaged for a really long time (very close to too long), so I've seen my share of magazines, blogs, wedding shows, and bridal fairs. I've talked to many brides, and many people in the bridal business. Today's list is "What NOT To Do." Observe:

  1. Do not plan anything (I mean that) without having planned a location and a date first. This is critical. This is the backbone of your wedding. You can do this in one of two ways. The first, is to choose your exact date and then find something that is available. The earlier you do this, the more availability there will be. The second way is to pick a place you adore and then choose a date they have available. Pick your priority, but you can't get around this truth. I once ran into a bride who was buying her gown. She had no idea where the wedding would be, or even when. Believe it or not, clothes – even wedding gowns – are seasonal. It is prudent to know when your wedding will be and what the vague style of it will be before you purchase anything.
  2. Don't buy anything you don't love. Weddings are expensive, no doubt. But there's this funny thing that happens. You may find something on sale that could be useful, so you buy it. Then you find something you like better. Shop around as you need to, buy what you love, and cherish it. 
  3. Don't ever look at a wedding magazine and think you'll be able to find that same idea later on. You will have stacks of magazines. More than you will ever buy, because people will give you theirs. If you like it, flag it with a sticky note or tear it out and put it in a folder.
  4. Don't be nasty to your friends. I'm horrified by how many people wear the term "Bridezilla" like it's a badge of honour. It's not nice, it's not right, and you'll end up with no friends. Presumably you've chosen your bridesmaids because you have a good relationship with them, and you want that to continue. I know of a bride whose gals all left the wedding as soon as they could and didn't talk to her for a good 6 months post. Think about that... your first year of marriage with no friends? Bad plan.
  5. Don't think you have to do everything yourself. You can hire people, you can ask people (nicely), and you can even let some things go. Just because your sister's-hairdresser's-babysitter made her invitations for 450 people and still had time to monogram sugar cubes, doesn't mean you have to.
  6. Don't make your registry too early. People might tell you to, and it might even seem logical and helpful to them. But it will be a pain in the butt when you have to go in frequently to change discontinued items.
  7. Don't ignore your groom. He asked you to marry him because he loves you. Everybody knows that weddings are busy and sometimes stressful, but with the average engagement length of 17 months, you really can't afford to lose date nights and time to connect. Your goal is to come out of this all with a husband... make sure he's still with you along the way.
  8. Don't change who you are. You want to lose a few pounds or tone up your arms? Fine. You want to eat cabbage soup for a month only to put all the weight back on the minute you look at the buffet on your all-inclusive honeymoon? No. Order a dress that fits you, that reflects who you are, and that you feel wonderful in. Otherwise, your kids won't know who's standing beside their dad in all those photos...
  9. Don't lose who you are, either. I've seen brides give up every interest and hobby in the time it takes to plan a wedding. You may want to put aside needlepoint to learn calligraphy (yeah hi, me right here), and that's fine. But read a book now and then, not just magazines, and stay on top of the things that define you. If you don't, two things will happen. You'll become a complete bore and you won't know what to do with yourself after the wedding. Nobody needs post-wedding-depression because they don't know how to fill their time.
  10. Related to the above, don't talk about the wedding non-stop. I love the blog because people who want to hear what I have to say, can. Of course you're excited, and people are happy for you. But life goes on for them, and most people are happier if you're part of that.

(hey... do you like my signature?)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cruising to Alaska!

So, a couple major things have happened in the last month.

1. Dan got accepted into UBC for the Bachelor of Education program! This is great news for him, obviously. I'm very excited. It's a July-start program, which means (we thought) that he's basically going to be doing school all the way through the wedding. Ahh well... at least we picked a Saturday, right?

2. I took a closer look at the calendar, and learned that he has 3 weeks off at the end of summer -- RIGHT over the time of the wedding! In fact, his last day of school is my last day of work. We both have the full week off before the wedding, and then he has 2 weeks off afterward (I have one week and a couple days).

3. We booked a honeymoon! There is bliss to look forward to. We'll be sailing on the Holland America Volendam, roundtrip to Alaska. We leave from Vancouver, which I love, because we don't have to fly anywhere. And, we head out 4 days after the wedding, giving us opportunity to visit with some out of town guests and pack. I'm super excited that Dan has time off, and thrilled we've booked a trip!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Gucci Shoes!

Miss Janice over at Etiquette with Miss Janice has a gorgeous pair of Gucci shoes for giveaway! Get thee to her blog and enter -- I can see these being perfect with a cute rehearsal dinner or engagement photo outfit!

Wedding Contracts

I read today that You and Your Wedding Magazine recently did a survey of 1000 brides-to-be to determine how many people were interested in bridesmaids contracts.

What's a bridesmaid contract?

Well, the idea is that when you ask your nearest and dearest friends to stand beside you in support on your big day, you require them to sign a contract. This contract may outline things such as not drastically changing their appearance before the wedding (hello... hair cuts?), not to drink more than a certain amount of alcohol, not to make any "advances" toward the groom (umm... aren't these your best friends?), and not to gain any weight between the date you request their presence and the date of the wedding.

1 in 5 brides agreed that such contracts were a good idea.

I thought I'd take a little poll of my own. How many brides would sign a contract if the proposal included a caveat explaining that they could only keep the ring and actually get married if they didn't gain a single pound?

Sunday, March 29, 2009


There are a few things that have surprised me along the wedding-planning way. Here's my list so far -- I'm sure there are MANY more to come.

  1. The average flower girl dress that cost more than what we're spending on the bridesmaids dresses. We will NOT be buying one of these.
  2. The most enjoyable Wedding Fair I went to is theone we took the guys along for. :)
  3. The flowers are really less expensive than I had anticipated, and I think the work-from-home florist is the least expensive option.
  4. That I am really, truly, not a good multi-tasker.
  5. Some wedding boutiques out there are just really snotty. I'm so glad to have found one that's not.
  6. How weird I feel without my engagement ring right now, while it's back with the jeweler.
  7. If you find the right vendors, they really are your best resource in saving money.
  8. How attached I get to people involved. Two of the people involved in services for the wedding have had to leave for various reasons, and even though we have wonderful replacements, I really miss them.
  9. That my dad would like to take dancing lessons. I think this is because he thinks it is as easy as it looks on Dancing With the Stars.
  10. How much everybody is willing to pitch in and help.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I Have a Dress!

I got the call yesterday letting me know that my dress had arrived. That's right -- it came on the day my parents left town. I deliberated on what to do about picking it up. I had originally wanted to go try it on for the first time with my mom there, and all the bridesmaids when they were trying their dresses as well.

I changed my mind.

Sometime between getting that call and having a long work day, I decided that trying on my dress for the first time, by myself, was the right thing to do. I worried a little about it not fitting, and didn't want everyone there if that was true. I wanted a moment of calmness with it. I wanted some time to really look at myself wearing it, in the mirror. The one on the wall, not the one that I would get from seeing half a dozen opinionated faces. I knew that going by myself was exactly what I should do.

And I was right.

The dress is absolutely perfect. It doesn't need many alterations even. It's a tiny bit more snug than I would like it to be, but it fits and does up. It doesn't need much of a hem. After trying on so many wedding gowns, the funny thing to wrap my head around is that this is my dress. Nobody else has ever tried it on. Nobody else will have it on before me. It was ordered just for me, and it is exactly what I will get married in. I love it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chocolate Cake

We all agreed very early on that we wanted a chocolate cake. Choosing a design, however, has not been as easy. I love all these beautiful chocolate cakes. They all have a different statement, and I've chosen my design, but I still love to look at these beautiful deserts. What do you think of this one? The chocolate and pearl motif was definitely a runner up for me.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cleaning the Veil

Okay... I'm mainly trying this post as a way to try working with pictures. I happen to have pictures of the cleaning-the-veil process. As you may remember from previous posts, I've decided to wear my mom's veil for my ceremony, which I'm pretty excited about it. But at 30 years old, it needed a good cleaning. Here is a closeup of the headpiece pre-cleaning:

I don't know if you can tell, but it has some age-spot stains here that I wanted to remove. I was really nervous about cleaning it up, but all it took was some liquid tide, a bit of Oxy-Clean, a bathtub full of warm water, and patience. I let it soak in the sudsy tub for about 30 minutes, going in now and then to swish it around. Then I rinsed it well, and hung it in the shower, like so (my apologies for the photo-quality here. The lighting in the shower was terrible):

The veil came out really, really white. My dress is not white. There is some irony to the fact that I cleaned it so well and now have to see if I can "antique" it a bit using tea. But the yellowing is gone, at least. I do need to do a bit of repair. You can see here that some of the lace un-glued in the cleaning process:

And finally, the picture you probably all want to see -- the veil on yours truly. I like this picture because it shows the fullness and the length. No, we do not still have a Christmas wreath hanging. I did this picture before the cleaning! I'm cheating the order just a little.

By the way, when I took this veil in to compare next to my dress, the owner of the store says she really sees these cap-style headpieces taking the place of the combs and tiaras and becoming the style again. What do you think? Is this vintage look ready for a comeback?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tasting Cakes

First of all, I've been terribly slack in posting and I'm so sorry! I've been sick, I've been tired of being online, and most importantly... I've been playing with my new camera! Many pictures to come!

Today I was calling around to make appointments for cake tastings, and I have three so far.

I contacted one whose cakes I have been admiring in the window for quite a long time. I asked if they did tastings, and the reply was (I quote): 

"No, we don't, because everybody's tasting palate is so different."

umm... isn't that why you need to do them?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Organizing Guest Lists

Everybody has their favourite way of keeping a guest list organized. Mine is probably a little different from the standard website or spreadsheet, and I really love it. Obviously the key is to find what works for you, and so I decided to go with my old stand-by, index cards. This is my dad's preferred method of gathering information, and I inherited it from him.  And look what I found! 

The real gem in this set are the printed cards of course. The front of the card has a standard address section, an RSVP section (check yes or no), and check boxes for the wedding-related things you might need to send, right from Invitation to Thank You Notes, Thank Yous for showers and more. The bottom has a line on which to record any gifts that have been received.

The back of the card is just as cool! You can record up to 4 names and birthdays for the family, and there's space for a nine year record of holiday cards sent & received. It really leaves no excuse not to be immaculate about correspondence in the future. 

This is by far my most impressive wedding-organization piece so far. Do you like it? Do you have another novel way to organize your guest list?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Correspondence Cards

On a forum I participate in, a December gift exchange was created. I deliberated for a while about whether or not to join, but I'm so glad I did!

We had to send the organizer a little bit about ourselves. She wanted to know what sort of colours we like, what things we like, what our hobbies are etc. I said I loved stationary and chocolate, soft colours & neutrals, read a lot, like to cook and am planning my wedding.

I got spoiled.

I got yummy chocolate, and a whole book on cooking with the stuff. I plan to pack it away for after the wedding (please reference previous post for why).

And I got two boxes of gorgeous, creamy, hand-engraved correspondence cards with lined envelopes. And, they match my wedding colours. How did my buddy DO that? I really think they're absolutely beautiful, and I love them.

One item marked off my to do list... acquire personal stationary for pre-wedding thank you notes: Check!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bride Wars

***spoiler alert!***

Tonight my mom, Michelle (my MOH) and I went to see a late showing of Bride Wars. Now I know that it hasn't been getting stellar reviews, but I thought it was very good. Only...

it stressed me out a little.

I loved it. I laughed a lot. But I was simultaneously horrified. I am sure that as my own wedding is pulled smoothly together, I will find this more & more funny. 

I think it was interesting to note that the things in the movie that I found most cringe-worry are probably the ones I worry about in my own life & wedding planning. Can anybody guess what that is? Though it was startling, I wasn't that stressed about the orange tan (because I don't plan to tan for my wedding), or the getting tackled on my walk down the aisle (because my best friend isn't a complete whacko). What I found most stress-worthy was watching the adorable Liv stuff her face with cookies & candy, and *gasp* not fit into her wedding dress the week before the wedding!

Oh, for the love of all that is white & tulle... can you IMAGINE? All I could do was put my popcorn down and go over my fitness plan in my head. My trainer Juan will be getting a call from me tomorrow.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Girls with Flowers

I am so, so excited to have 2 flower girls in our wedding.  Flower girl H has known since she was a tiny baby that she'd be our flower girl. Admittedly, we thought she'd be a lot younger, but how fun is it now that she's 3? H was a flower girl last summer as well, so she knows ALL about it. We don't see her often, since her family has moved out of town, but I was glad to have some time with her on New Year's Eve. Allow me to recount our wedding conversation:

Kate: So, tell me what you know about weddings.
H: I will be at YOUR wedding.
Kate: Yes, you will be!
H: And there will be a beach ball there! (As you can probably tell, last year's wedding was on a local beach)
Kate: Well, there is no beach at our wedding.
H: No sand?
Kate: No.
H: Any grass?
Kate: Some outside, but the wedding will be inside.
H: Oh. Well, I will have flowers, and I will Put. Them. Down. And then I will take off my shoes.

She's the expert, what can I say? H loves to dance, and so I assume this is where the "taking off the shoes" might come in handy. I'm a bit nervous at the idea of having everybody watch me while we dance, so I may take advantage of her eagerness... this is what flower girls are for, right? I'd be more than willing to let H steal the show!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Technology & Weddings

Did you or do you have a wedding website? I know these have been kicking around for a while, but I still find them really fascinating. Basically, it's website creation for the non-techy. Similar format to a blog, you just type in the fields you want to fill in, drop in your pictures, and save. It really is that simple, and I find myself wondering why it's not this easy to make any website.

A lot of these services are done through wedding planning sites. I chose EWeddings for my site. For a nominal fee of $10 per month I have a custom url too (among other perks).

As you know we recently just sent out the Save the Dates, and we included our wedding website address on the cards. Which was great, but meant I really had to get my butt in gear and work on the site!

I buckled down and updated it last night. I now have added local accommodation information (because most of the people who are receiving Save the Dates would come from out of town), Registry information, and some more photos. I don't have to use all the sections that are available, of course, but I'm still puzzling over this one... what is supposed to go on a wedding website in a section called "Wishlist?"

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Save the Date!

Well, there's no turning back now (kidding! I really wouldn't anyway!). The Save the Dates have been mailed.I'm really pretty proud of this project. I put them together myself scrapbook-style. They're not very uniform, but they look handmade, right? I don't have an adequate printer, so I had the insert printed on a heavy weight paper at Kinko's. I think they turned out pretty well, but if I had to do it again I would have them print one per sheet instead of four, to make cutting them to the right size easier.

And since the pictures are going to tell it better than I can... voila! My first true DIY wedding project.