Learn Something New Every Day

From this experience I earned several bits of information that I felt I should share. First off, you need to speak with your photographer about lighting before the big day. There are certain attachments he or she may need depending on lighting. Also, your pictures may not turn out great if you only use candle light. Another fun fact, make sure the air conditioner is working before the wedding. In my case, the air went out the day of the ceremony and fans blow out your candles. From previous weddings I learned that real flowers do not hold up in Southern heat so opt for a fake bouquet if you plan to take numerous pictures with it beforehand. No one will be able to tell the difference anyways.

Now let us move on to food. Let’s be honest, the people who come to your wedding love you but they also want to use you as an excuse to break their diets and scarf down sugar. Yes, everyone loves a good carrot but at a wedding they come for the sweets. I learned at this wedding that the candy melts are better than mints. They have gum in their pockets for a refreshing mint flavor. Pretzels went over far better than peanuts and they were much less expensive. Strawberries were a huge hit! They plowed through six pounds of strawberries in no time. The fruit dip was also a success. It was simply 8 ounces of softened cream cheese and 7 ounces of marshmallow cream. Add a drip of food coloring to match it to your colors.

Now we arrive at the punch. I have actually witnessed people get upset because the punch was not sweet. The best recipe I have found consists of Hawaiian Punch, pineapple juice, and Ginger Ale. For 1 gallon of fruit punch add 24 ounces of pineapple juice and1 liter of Ginger Ale. Do not premix because the ale will become flat and believe me it does not taste good.

As for the cake, you cannot go wrong with any flavor so get what you like and I promise they will eat it so long as it is not healthy.


“It’s the Final Countdown”

In the beginning I set my budget at $1000. That seems like a lot of cash but in the world of weddings it’s just the beginning for most. Let’s see how this shindig panned out, shall we?


Vest-$75 (Preston’s Western Wear)
Ring-$450 (Billy Mitchell Jewelers)


Dress-$40 (Dillard’s mega sale)
Hair-$0 (wedding gift)
Ring-$450 (Billy Mitchell Jewelers)


Invitations-$10 (Hobby Lobby wedding sale)
Music-$3 (Amazon.com)
Thank You notes-$6 (Wal-Mart)


Punch-$9 per gallon (3 gallon)
Strawberries-$1.50 per pound (6lbs)
Fruit dip-$5
Cake-$45 (two-tier from Wal-Mart bakery)
Peanuts-$14 (Sam’s Club)
Candies-$2 per bag (3 bags)
Centerpieces-$30 for 8 (Hobby Lobby wedding sale)

The total expense, not including bling, was only $265! That is proof that with a little hands-on work you can keep a wedding from being insanely outrageous. Of course, with the added expense of rings the total was a little over budget but $900 for a diamond, yellow gold ring for her and a black onyx silver one for him, not too shabby.

Keep in mind many of the items we used we already had but even if you did not they are all inexpensive items that can be found just about anywhere. Mirrors are easy to find at yard sales for a little of nothing, tea light candles can be bought in bulk for a not-so-bulky price, and serving dishes can be rented at most wedding shoppes so that you do not have to purchase items you may never use again.

Whether you are getting married for the first time or the eighth time remember that it does not have to be extravagant and outrageous. After all, my mother always told me “less is more”

“Let’s Make a Long Story Longer”

In February my father asked me to plan a wedding. Not just any wedding, his vow renewal ceremony. This was to be a surprise for my mother and it most certainly was unexpected.
On June 2, 2013, as the announcements were being read at during Sunday service, a fellow church member made a special announcement. As we all sat quietly in the pews he began to read an invitation to a wedding. My mother, still clueless, was shocked when she heard her name. As she realized what was being read my father reached in his pocket and retrieved a diamond and gold wedding band that matched her original engagement ring that she had worn for 25 years. Of course, she said YES!
On June 30, 2013 the big day had arrived. We began the day by going to church and then it got hectic. I picked up the cake at 11:00 a.m., from 12:30 to 2:30 we put finishing touches on our decorations, at 3:15 we got our hair done, at 4:45 we began pictures (courtesy of Amy Bishop), and at 6:30 they were headed down the aisle to say “I do”.
The colors my parents chose matched those of their first wedding which was burgundy and pink. We added silver and black to complement the silver anniversary and tone down the brights. My father wore a Western themed ensemble (not chaps and a gun holster) including a white button down with a silver vest, blue jeans, red boots and a matching belt, with a Western style belt buckle and tie. He topped the look off with a knee length black coat and a white rose boutonniere. My mother wore an elegant burgundy and black knee length dress. One shoulder was dressed with two fabric matching flowers that added glam and sparkle but still remained subtle. She created her own bouquet with artificial white roses and added class with real magnolia leaves. She tied it together with black and silver ribbon and topped it off with a silver pin I presented to her as an anniversary gift.
Before the wedding we played songs that my mother found meaningful such as Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” and their song, “You were always on my Mind” performed by Willie Nelson. She walked down the aisle to George Strait’s “I Cross My Heart” and the happy pair exited to “You Sexy Thang” by Hot Chocolate. That one was a little risky but, everyone seemed to love it.
As for decorations, for the ceremony we decorated with candles and a little sheer material. We only used candlelight as well. We kept the ceremony very simple yet beautiful. The entry was decorated with a few of their original wedding photos and the guests signed into the guest book from the first time.
*IDEA ALERT* My mother bought gorgeous decorative paper and printed a note that would seem personal to each guest. She then personally signed them. We gave them out as people came in to assure that everyone received one.
The reception was the most beautiful of all in my opinion. With the help of many friends we created a stunning reception. For the guest tables we used white table cloths. For the centerpieces we used vases with white and silver ribbon glued on the outside, fake crystal rocks in the bottom, two cups of water, and a floating candle. Those were placed on octagon shaped mirrors with a candle on either side and artificial rose petals around them. Pictures soon to come.
We created a memory table with photos from their life together and set up food tables which are, of course, the most important aspect of a wedding to guests. For punch we mixed fruit punch, ginger ale, and pineapple juice. For snacks we had peanuts, pretzels, vanilla candies (much better than mints), and strawberries. My mother made the fruit did with marshmallow cream and cream cheese. Much cheaper and just as delicious! We purchased out cake from Wal-Mart, don’t judge, and it was very tasty! Chocolate with butter cream icing is always a winner.

After a fun evening celebrating with friends and family, my newly re-wed parents drove away in their truck with “JUST MARRIED…AGAIN” painted on the back glass and began the next chapter of their lives together.

Paper or Plastic…or Neither?

Is your ceremony ready to go? Classy gown, gorgeous cake, stunning arrangements, disposable dishes. Which of these things is not like the others?

When it comes to something as elegant and special as a vow renewal ceremony it is important to be classy from top to bottom. Many older churches have treasures hidden in the kitchen. It is easy to uncover antique glassware in an old church. In our situation, we found several plates, punch cups, and forks that do not all match exactly. The glass gives a touch of glamour while the mix matching gives a whimsical vibe.

No buried treasures at church? Check out auctions and yard sales to inexpensively piece together your reception. This will also ensure that bride will not cry if a dish gets broken. Grandma’s favorite china, on the other hand, may be a different story.

The World of Invitations

Invitations can be a huge deal and can take an even bigger chunk out of your wallet. Why waste all your cash on ordering fancy invitations when you can do them yourself for a fraction of the cost? Hobby Lobby carries gorgeous, elegant wedding invitations for around twenty dollars! I purchased a box for $7.99 on sale and they are just as beautiful as those from the high dollar wedding shops. All I had to do was print them out and tie ribbons on them which came in the box. Note that ribbons are a pain to tie, but if you have the time and patience go for it! Also, make sure your printer will print invitation sized paper or you will end up like me begging friends to use their printers. I took the time to write out the addresses on the envelopes to give it a personal feel and save on ink. Eight dollars and one headache later I have beautiful invitations ready to be mailed. Fun fact: you have to buy 60 cent stamps for anything that is bulky such as invitations with ribbons.

Hobby Lobby invitation

Hobby Lobby invitation


True Story DIY

So this is a random post that is not going to tell you what to do and what not to do. This one is going to tell you that no matter what you think you want your centerpieces to look like, when you walk in Hobby Lobby you are going to be insanely overwhelmed. There is a massive amount of flowers and do not get me started on the ribbon!

So I walk into the store with an idea in my mind until I saw the price tags. Even 50% off, one centerpiece was going to cost twenty bucks! Eight tables at twenty dollars a centerpiece…you do the math. Anyways, I finally had an epiphany after approximately thirty minutes of wandering the wedding aisles in a complete Wonderland (the Alice type, not the John Mayer kind). I found this gorgeous ribbon that was white with silver dots down the center. It caught my eye and I knew I had to have it for something. Then I found some interesting glassware that resemble the original fish bowl. After that the brain juices were flowing. I was going to hot glue the ribbon around the center of the bowls, add beads to the bottom, fill it with water, and top it off with a floating candle. Bam!

Of course, I had to ask an opinion because my head was still spinning from the smell of artificial flowers. I asked one lady who clearly could not picture my idea. Then, she directs me to an older woman who I had already irritated because I kept walking down the aisle she was trying to restock. She told me that I could not glue ribbon onto a rounded bowl. It was simply impossible. I was shattered. My brilliant idea had been shot to Hades. I rounded the corner to return the ribbon to the shelf when I decided that I was going to at least try.

All during work I played ideas in my head. What if it did not work? I have no plan B…but I do have four months. I am a very anxious person if you cannot tell. I arrived home and hurried the items to my room. After my unknowing mother (the vow renewal is a surprise) went to bed I began my masterpiece. It took a little time to get the measurement. I marked on the glass with a dry erase marker so that I could wipe it back off once I got the ribbon glued onto the glass. With a little hot glue and a little patience, the bowl looked stunning. I tested the rest of the additives and it looked even more amazing! (Pictures to come).

Moral of the story: Do not let anyone shut down your ideas; they could lead to a masterpiece.

Textbook=Wedding Music?

We all know that college textbooks cost a fortune. If you buy on campus you are going to pay an arm and a leg. If you purchase from Amazon, you only pay an arm, maybe. I purchase almost all of my textbooks from Amazon. At the end of the semester I trade them in and get at least half of my money back in Amazon giftcards. Sweet deal. Another awesome deal is that every time you purchase a certain amount in text books you will receive an MP3 giftcard…for free! This comes in handy when you are trying to get hard to find songs for your wedding without buying entire cd’s. I downloaded all the music for a vow renewal ceremony for no cost. Amazon is the way to go!

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Now that you have a gorgeous gown to wear on your walk, you cannot have a messed up hair do. Your wedding renewal ceremony should be just as special as your original wedding and your hair should be just as perfect. You may be sporting the same cut from the 80’s but your wedding day style will not be Madonna inspired. Try out something new that is still very “you”. For long hair, braid to the side and add flowers. For shorter styles, glam it up with a tiara or some retro Marilyn Monroe themed curls. Do not settle for straight, plain, and normal. You want to spice it up on your wedding day. The man of your dreams already knows what the norm is so give his jaw something to drop about.

Google, yes Google, is a fantastic source for hairstyle ideas. Just type in “wedding hairstyles” or “short hairstyles” and find out how other people have created beautiful do’s. Then, print out the picture or snap a shot with your phone and do not be afraid to tell your beautician that it is what you want. Believe me, they get that all the time.

Here are a few examples of simple, elegant hairstyles for your re-do:

short-wedding-hairstyles-.001 wedding_hairstyles_04 Long Wedding Hairstyle

Lady in White

The big day is on its way and you need a dress. You will want to look as stunning as you did the first time you walked down the aisle, but this time, you want to pay the gown off without a loan. You are in luck! David’s Bridal has an annual $99.00 sale where beautiful dressing can be purchased at a low price. They also do yearly sales to get you designer gowns at half the price. Also, if you stay away from sparkly dresses with bling you can easily cut your dress price down. I surfed the David’s Bridal website for some gorgeous and affordable  gowns for examples and found many for under $200.00!  Theknot.com is also a great tool to help you find ideas for dresses. This website is good for almost any aspect of a wedding and it is free to sign up!

Keep in mind that this dress does not have to be a big, extravagant dress. Let this gown show off your personality. Do short, long, big, or tight. You can have sleeves or go strapless. You can even go with a gorgeous cream color rather than that bridal white. There are no limitations this time so express yourself.
Still cannot find “the dress”? Try local boutiques. You never know what you may find in any dress shop. Check your local listings for prom dress shops also. Many of those will have a bridal selection. Happy shopping!

Flower Power

Some people choose to have flowerless weddings, but flowers add elegance and that one bit of tradition that is just fine for a vow renewal ceremony. Of course, flowers do not come cheap. There are many florists in the Florence area, but to put a cute twist on your wedding, make your own bouquets! Creating your own bouquets will allow you to share your personality through you flowers. You do not have to depend on a florist or worry about picking the bouquets up the day of the ceremony. Also, homemade bouquets will not fall apart, will not have to be refrigerated, and will not take a big chunk out of your pocketbook. Yes, this will require a trip to your local Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. We can agree that it will be an awesome journey.

Hobby Lobby has a wide variety of flowers plus the items it takes to create your own boutonnieres and bouquets.  Keep an eye out for 50% off sales to get your flowers at a much prettier price. I am not a florist so I had to have a little help with the how-to. Take a look at the website http://www.save-on-crafts.com/makbouqandga.html for step by step instructions on how to create your own bouquets. You can also find multiple videos on Youtube so that you can have a graphic visual. Another great addition to your wedding is a brooch bouquet. Though it will take a little more time and preparation, it makes for a gorgeous family heirloom.

Brooch Jewelry Bouquet

Whatever you decide, do not leave out the flowers. You can skip the huge floral arrangements but a simple bouquet to carry down the aisle is a must.