Tuesday, November 2, 2010

a fond farewell (and reflections from a no-longer-newlywed)

It was almost three years ago that I started blogging here, and with the honor of being a bee came friendships, career changes, and general awesomeness that has changed my life for the better. As silly as I used to think blogging was, it has become something I really love, and I have Weddingbee to thank for the introduction to blog-land in the first place.

I've been fairly quiet over the last year or so since, you know, I'm no longer planning a wedding and all; while I still hang around the hive from time-to-time, I thought that it is high time I bid a proper adieu to Weddingbee. Mr. Cupcake and I recently celebrated our second wedding anniversary in September, and it struck us both that the last two years have flown by so quickly, it's difficult to grasp the concept that we're not quite newlyweds anymore — we are now full-fledged marrieds. Who'd have thunk it!

at a family wedding the weekend after our second anniversary

The last two years have brought both unwelcome and welcome changes to our relationship and our new life together. Mr. Cupcake got laid off shortly after we got married, and then went back to work after a long 10 months of searching. I then decided to continue the craziness in our lives by quitting my job and starting a new business, Curious & Company, with a few colleagues, which included launching a line of letterpress wedding stationery called Claremont Collection. It has been a whirlwind, to say the least.

Through all of the excitement over the last few years, Mr. Cupcake has been the best cheerleader I could have ever asked for. While he's always been 100% supportive of everything I do, there is just something about being married that makes it a little different from before — it makes his unending support all that much sweeter. While I know that we'll always love each other, it's comforting to sit back and realize how much we really like each other, too. We genuinely have fun together and just enjoy being partners in life. We continue to perfect our relationship day by day, and work together to set goals for ourselves — we hope to be able to buy a home soon, and someday have some mini cupcakes to turn our world upside down. Whatever happens, we're excited for the ride.

In addition to all of the life changes happening around me, I still often catch up on Weddingbee and other wedding blogs; now that I've totally moved on from wedding planning madness, I often think about how I might have done things differently. I don't regret a single thing about our day, but it is a lot easier to put things in perspective when I read about the million details that future brides are juggling and I remember the feeling of being completely overwhelmed. There are a few words of wisdom this no-longer-newlywed would love to impart on all of you brides-t0-be, if I may:
  • Don't sweat the small stuff. I know that's probably the most overused mantra in the world and you may want to throw something at the computer screen when you read that, but it's true. I see brides fretting over if their guy should wear an ivory shirt to match their ivory dress (advice: a white shirt on him will look crisper and cleaner in photos, and no one will notice or care that you don't totally match!), or being upset that the pink on their invitations doesn't exactly match the pink linens that will be on the tables, and I just want to hug each one and tell her that everything will be alright. Ladies, I have been that extremely detail-oriented bride, and it's exhausting. There is nothing wrong with caring about the details, but don't drive yourself crazy over them. Decide what's important, accept that you may need to be flexible about everything else, and then embrace the imperfections that will make your day uniquely YOURS. I promise that as long as your guests are having a good time, they really aren't concerned about the multiple shades of pink. I. Prom. Ise.

  • Go with your gut and do things your way. Stick to your guns. If something is important to you, don't let anyone tell you that it's silly, or not sticking with tradition, or too trendy. Who cares if something is silly, or not sticking with tradition, or too trendy if you and your fiancé love it and it makes you happy? Your guests won't care if every couple getting married this year has a photo booth, because chances are they're not going to every other wedding happening this year. If your family wants you to have a big wedding but you know deep down that you're a small wedding kind of girl, figure out a way to make it happen. While your day is about family and having the people you love around you, it is also about you and the love of your life, and you should have the wedding that best reflects who you are.

  • Wear comfortable underthings on your wedding day. I'm so serious. Test those lacy white lovelies out before committing to wearing them for an entire day under what is probably a heavy dress that does not easily lend itself to, ahem, picking. I look back on our wedding day very lovingly, as it truly was one of the best days of my life... but I also have yet to forget the fact that for 100% of the time that I was partying it up on the dance floor, I had a wedgie and those dainty white undies I had chosen were the culprit. It was highly annoying and there was nothing I could do about it. And now all of the internetz knows it. But I'm okay with that if it saves even one bride from the wrath of uncomfortable undies on her wedding day.

  • Know and accept that you can't have all of the perfect pictures. Photography is certainly a big deal on your wedding day, and having photos to remember your day by are totally worth the expense. But I think the internet has jaded us all a little, and we think that every amazing photo can (and should) be duplicated for our own day. The reality is: it's impossible to have it all. Yes, you should hire a photographer who you love and trust with capturing a very important day in your life, and the photos they take may well be the only physical things from your wedding that you have to look back on in 30 years. But you'll also have the memories, and the spouse, and at the end of the day it's okay if the photographer didn't get every single shot that you envisioned. Love the photos you have and be excited that the unscripted moments you never imagined could occur were captured, just for you.
I'm sure I could go on for days, but I'll spare you. Ultimately, no matter what little unexpected surprises pop up while wedding planning or on your wedding day, just know that there are many, many more days in your future to be spent with the person you love the most in the world... and they will absolutely outweigh any unplanned bumps in the road that may occur on the day you say "I do." Marriage is an amazing ride, and your wedding day is only the beginning.

Hive, thank you so much for reading (this post and the many that came before it) and for being such an amazing community of people who have made me feel so loved. If you're ever so inclined to keep up with the happenings in my life, I have happily continued blogging over at my new internet home, Claremont Road. I'd love for you to visit, anytime.

Love always,
Mrs. Cupcake

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Philly meet-up fun

Thanks to the lovely Philadelphia ladies who came out for a delightful (albeit HOT) brunch in the "beer garden" at Silk City on Saturday! We ate, we drank, and we relished in the occasional breeze. Oh — and, of course, we talked weddings. But that's a given, right?

flamingred's bridesmaid Tanya, flamingred, danadelphia, me, and msgirard

yummiest huevos rancheros ever

All photos thanks to the sweet and talented msgirard/Girl Photography

Best of luck to flamingred who is getting married in less than two weeks! We'll have to plan another meet-up soon, after Miss Thimble moves back to the area this summer :) Hope to see many of you there the next time!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Philly meet-up June 5!

Hey hive! A Philadelphia-area bee meet-up is being planned for June 5 — we'll be getting together for brunch/lunch, chatting and merriment, and we want you to join us! Please leave a comment on this post by May 29th if you plan to attend so we can reserve a table.

When: Saturday, June 5 at noon
Where: Silk City, 435 Spring Garden Street

images via Silk City

View Larger Map

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Cupcakes' Blurb Wedding Books

Ever since we got our wedding photos back from our photographers last February, I have had a very big to-do hanging over my head:

Mrs. Cupcake's to-do list
1. Create wedding albums for parents

Finally I was able to cross this biggie off of my list this Christmas (with glee, might I add). In early December, I hunkered down and designed 12" x 12", 50-page hardcover albums, which I had printed by Blurb. I had never used Blurb before so I was quite nervous for the outcome, but after reading so many rave reviews from the hive, I took the chance... and I am pleased to say that I am extremely satisfied with the final result.

I designed my layouts in Adobe InDesign, using one of the helpful templates that can be downloaded from the Blurb website. (If you don't already have a layout program you'd like to use, you can download the Blurb BookSmart® software to lay out your book.) The templates clearly show the "safe zone" for all images and text, and illustrate how much bleed to include in your layout for photos or other images that should bleed off the edges. This is especially helpful if you don't want to chop off the heads of any of your wedding guests :-)

I was also impressed by the cover templates, from which there are several to choose based on the number of pages in your book and the paper used for printing (which affects the width of the spine). I had created smaller, soft-cover books a few months back with Shutterfly, and my cover layout was not what I was expecting in terms of placement of the text on the spine (it ended up on the back). With my Blurb books, everything was lined up exactly as I had set it up on the cover, spine, and back cover.

I think the back cover is actually my favorite... I included our silhouettes and monogram that I had also used on the menus and drink signs at our wedding. I'm a sucker for silhouettes!

Overall, I was very pleased with the image quality and the vibrant colors. While I wasn't expecting absolute perfection, I didn't see any problems with skin tones, and I thought the ink coverage was impressive (and consistent) throughout each book.

(I look a bit pale, but, um... I am pale :-)

I ordered three books total — each 12" x 12", 50-pages, with image wrap covers and Premium paper. The final cost for each book: $85.95 plus shipping (which I actually got for free with a holiday coupon code). Compared to how much professional albums would have cost, we saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars and still had really beautiful Christmas gifts for our parents.

Does a Blurb book match the quality of a professionally designed and printed album from your photographer? Of course not. Even with the Premium paper selection and the image wrap cover, you aren't going to get the same attention to detail and the high quality printing that you would otherwise get from a professional album company. But for the money spent, I am elated with the final result, and I'm pretty sure our parents are, too.

In terms of timing, I ordered all three books together on December 8; I received free FedEx Ground shipping with a holiday coupon code. My books were shipped on December 15 and received on December 17. Considering the size and number of pages in my books, I think this is an exceptionally fast turnaround time.

If you're considering ordering from Blurb, a few pointers based on my experience:
  • Pay a little extra for the Premium paper; the final result is worth the additional cost.
  • Use the templates provided on the Blurb website (or download their BookSmart® software to lay out your book) to avoid unexpected cropping of photos off of edges or in the spine.
  • If you have questions, be safe and contact Blurb customer support before placing your order; I had a few questions and they responded very promptly.
  • Selecting the option to remove the logo page from the back of your book (like I did with my first upload) will add quite a bit of cost — for me, it would have cost another $20 per book! And once your book is uploaded, you cannot reverse this selection. Unfortunately, I had to go back and re-upload my entire file, which, because of its size, took a few hours, but was worth the $20 saved. And the small logo on the last blank page of each book isn't so bad :-)
What's your company of choice for self-made photo books?

All photos included in our album by The Wiebners

Please note: as with all vendor posts on Weddingbee, I have not received any discounts or kick-backs for this review, and I was not asked to review the Blurb products and/or services by anyone at the company. I'm just really thrilled with the outcome and wanted to share it with all of you!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

One Year

One year ago today, I married my best friend.

This first year of marriage has been simply wonderful. Perfect? Not at all. But wonderful? Yes, yes, yes.

I'm thankful each day for this amazing guy who puts up with me, takes care of me, makes me laugh, and even laughs at my terrible jokes.

Forever? Yes, please.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Love is All About "We": All Good Things Must Come To An End

All photos below by The Wiebners. We purchased a disc of all unedited images from our wedding day, so some post-processing has been done by me for the purpose of sharing the photos with you. Click on any photo to enlarge.

After the good ol' traditions and wedding rituals were checked off of our list, there was little left to do but catch up with good friends...

... take a few last spins on the dance floor...

... capture some memories on camera...

... and savor every possible moment with all of the amazing people surrounding us.

Oh, and remember our friend Beth who caught the bouquet? She and some friends had a little fun with said bouquet in the photo booth, and needed to tell me about it.

She caught a glimpse of their pictures while the photo booth attendant was holding on to them...

... and this was the result of their shenanigans:
Before we knew it, it was time for one last round of photo booth pictures and our "last shot" with the Wiebners.

The day seemed to go by in a flash, yet so many incredible moments were squeezed into that one teeny, tiny day — moments with loved ones who came from near and far to support our love and share in our happiness; moments with each other where we felt every bit of stress and worry simply melt away as we looked into each other's eyes and could do nothing but smile.

There were planned moments, unplanned moments, and moments I never could have imagined I'd be lucky enough to experience. They are all moments that I will remember forever, and I'm so fortunate to have been able to relive them with all of you.

Perhaps in the future, we will look back on our wedding day as just a miniscule blip in time compared to the magnificent lifetime we have vowed to spend together. We can only hope for so much, but regardless of what other wonders our future holds, I believe I will always look back on our wedding day as one of the most wonderful days of my life.

Our day may have been over, but it was not the end at all.

It was only the beginning.

Thank you so, so much for reading along as I have shared the story of our day with you all.

Our complete wedding recaps:
The Eve of Our Big Day: The Rehearsal Dinner
Love is All About "We": Getting Gorgeous
Love is All About "We": The Dress!
Love is All About "We": The Guys Get Sexy

Love is All About "We": The First Look
Love is All About "We": Our Entourage
Love is All About "We": Almost Time
Love is All About "We": We Do!
Love is All About "We": Ready for Our Close-Up
Love is All About "We": Cocktails, Anyone?
Love is All About "We": Ballroom Sneak Peek
Love is All About "We": A Grand Entrance (and a First Dance)
Love is All About "We": Toasting and Twisting
Love is All About "We": Mingling, Impromptu Dancing, and Cutting the Cake!
Love is All About "We": A Surprise for My Groom
Love is All About "We": And We Danced
Love is All About "We": Traditions and Tasty Surprises

Monday, September 7, 2009

Love is All About "We": Traditions and Tasty Surprises

All photos below by The Wiebners unless otherwise noted. We purchased a disc of all unedited images from our wedding day, so some post-processing has been done by me for the purpose of sharing the photos with you. Click on any photo to enlarge.

The dancing at our wedding would not have been dancing at all without a little traditional Philadelphia Mummer's Strutting. When that familiar string band sound started wafting from the speakers, my family couldn't jump to their feet quite fast enough... Mr. Cupcake's family (who mostly live in Central PA and New York state) and many of our friends, however, looked on with confusion :-) It is definitely a Philadelphia thing!

Not sure what I'm talking about? Check out the video of what went down here.

Look! It even got my hubby back on the dance floor! {guest photo}

{guest photo}

{guest photo}

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While some of us were dancing up a storm, many guests were still having a blast with the photo booth... a.k.a., one of the best wedding decisions we ever made. It was so wonderful to see our guests having such fun with it, and having some good laughs over the resulting photos.

The memo board I made with foam core and satin ribbon (a smaller scale version of the "guest book" memo board I whipped up) held some photos while they dried on their cozy little mats that I made.

I almost made it through the whole reception without any wardrobe malfunctions, but then my bustle decided it couldn't handle one more slick Cupcake dance move. DOC Jenn and MOH Nicole came to the rescue with some safety pins, and I was as good as new!

Pretty soon, it was time for the bouquet toss. This was one silly tradition that I was set on having... if for no other reason than a great photo opportunity :-) Mr. Cupcake and I both agreed to forgo the garter toss, but the bouquet toss was a definite in my book. However, we only have a small handful of single female friends and family members, and I had always hated being called out as one of the single ladies, so I didn't want to put any of our guests through the same thing. Instead, I asked the DJ to call ALL the ladies onto the dance floor. While KT Tunstall's "Suddenly I See" played, I tossed my little toss bouquet with all my bridal might...

Check out the determination and anticipation on those faces!

Our friend Beth, who can just barely be seen in the far left of the above photo, somehow managed to grab the bouquet. We got such a kick out of this because Beth is, perhaps, the most competitive person we know... the friend who always jumps at the opportunity to host a game night. It was not shocking at all to me that she was the big winner :-) She's already married with a beautiful little girl, but hopefully that bouquet will bring her some sort of good luck! If nothing else, it made for an excellent story ;-)

We then had a little treat in store for our guests, a detail that came together in the week before the wedding...

Along with the Mummers, Tastykakes are another Philadelphia tradition, so we couldn't resist a little late night snack of some Peanut Butter Candy Cakes, Krimpets, and Chocolate Cupcakes. (Because really, "nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a Tastykake.") Thanks to Mr. Cupcake and his parents who bought out the Tastykake supply at a few local grocery stores, we were prepared for some ravenous guests.

And really now, you can't serve all that chocolatey and icingy goodness without milk!

I think they were seriously on the table for maaayyybe five minutes. We definitely had some Tastykake-lovin' guests who were NOT going to let that delicious sugary goodness go to waste!

As if the Tastykakes weren't enough, the Desmond also put out some fresh baked cookies and delicious chocolate covered strawberries. Mmmmmmm....

Up next.... our night comes to an end! :-(

Previously in our wedding recaps:
The Eve of Our Big Day: The Rehearsal Dinner
Love is All About "We": Getting Gorgeous
Love is All About "We": The Dress!
Love is All About "We": The Guys Get Sexy

Love is All About "We": The First Look
Love is All About "We": Our Entourage
Love is All About "We": Almost Time
Love is All About "We": We Do!
Love is All About "We": Ready for Our Close-Up
Love is All About "We": Cocktails, Anyone?
Love is All About "We": Ballroom Sneak Peek
Love is All About "We": A Grand Entrance (and a First Dance)
Love is All About "We": Toasting and Twisting
Love is All About "We": Mingling, Impromptu Dancing, and Cutting the Cake!
Love is All About "We": A Surprise for My Groom
Love is All About "We": And We Danced