Thursday, December 18, 2008

DIY Wedding Coloring Book!


Completely loving this super cute idea! If I'd come across it sooner, I definitely would have done it! So maybe it's good that I didn't! Like I really needed another DIY project!! It definitely would have entertained the kiddos, but they were already pretty entertained with all the toys I had at their tables, the endless supply of the desserts, and lets not forget the DANCING!!

I found this recently posted at Blue Sky Designs, and just had to check it out, even though I can't use it myself! It's pretty customizeable (is that a word?), giving you options to insert names and dates, as it gives highlights of the wedding day events and people. It's in word format, so it is pretty easy to edit/delete/add to suit your own style/needs!

Go check it out, and also see Tara's final product when she recently used it at her wedding, along with cute little ribbon tied bundles of crayons!

The Dress and the best place to get it!

I imagined for a long time what it would be like to finally pick out that beautiful white dress I'd wear down the aisle to meet my love. I did NOT imagine the way that I would find it turning out like it did!

Several years ago, I'd decided that I wanted my dress to have some blue in it. I found a picture in a magazine of a dress that I loved before I'd even met my hubby (yes, I know I'm one of *those* girls!), and I had even seen it in a store while looking for dresses with my sis-in-law, Lindsey. But that was a few years back, and it was on a discontinued rack, so I figured I'd be starting all over again.

My mom was on the hunt for the perfect dress for me not long after I got engaged and had me draw a sketch to get a better idea of what I wanted. She mentioned that visiting a nearby consignment store in Hermitage might be a good idea- just to look. I kind of brushed off the idea thinking I'd never get my dress there, but thought it couldn't hurt to send her to look. She went off to that store, and my bridesmaid Kelley and I set off to visit several of the "elite" boutiques around the Nashville area,  where we ended up having  no luck! I was never helped by anyone, never able to try on a dress, and once we were even run out of a store for taking pictures (apparently it was posted that you couldn't take pictures, we honestly never saw it, even after being told it was there!).

Dissapointed and getting nowhere, we heard from my mom that the consignment store had found my "perfect" dress. Still not believing it, I decided to go anyways, because if someone there had already picked out a dress for me, it had to be better than what I'd already experienced!

So we headed for Hermitage and Memories Consignment store.

The store, owned by Diane   Allmon, has been around for a long time. In fact, I remember visiting it in highschool looking for prom dresses, which was well over 10 years ago now! Some of my friends even sold their old dresses there later on. I never bought anything there, and my own memories of it were that, although there were some nice things, most of it was a bit older and outdated.  Last May, due to arson, the entire shop burnt to the ground leaving only the few dresses that Diane had in her car at the time. The man who set the shop on fire was eventually caught, but nothing survived the fire and Diane had to start it all over again. And she has with great success!!

Former site of Memories. The foundation and sign are still there, although the store itself moved a block or so down the road!

The store is FILLED with wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, mother's dresses, and flower dresses. Even if you don't BUY your dress here, it's a great place to make some money SELLING it, and a great way to help a fantastic woman rebuild her store.

During busy times, any store gets a little chaotic, but things were still lookin good the day I returned to take photos, despite what Diane said about it being a mess!!


Working hard to provide for her children and grandchildren, Diane has done a great job rebuilding her store and making it a success! From the moment you walk in the door, you feel right at home and welcomed in by her southern charm. And when she says she has just the dress for you- believe it! She really just might! She is an amazing, encouraging, and down to earth woman. The kind of person that you can tell is willing to do whatever she can to help you. She doesn't advertise, so she relies heavily on word-of-mouth to get her business out there!

As soon as I walked in that first time, I told her who I was, and she immediately went and pulled out the dress she had been holding just for me. I thought it looked nice, but still wasn't convinced.  So I looked through all the dresses she had, picked out a few more, and headed in the back to try on a few dresses with Kelley's help. I tried on her suggestion first- and loved it! But still thought I should try on a few more. Who buys the first wedding dress they've ever tried on??!

But, the first one, was THE one! I was sooooo thrilled to have something HUGE already taken care of, after only weeks of being engaged! Diane even showed me some veils and tiaras, and even her selection of tuxs that she rents! She just about has it all!

Although Diane offers alterations at a GREAT price- I got mine for free through a family friend (and mom of the cute jr. bm below!) who was also making some dresses and altering my bridesmaid's dresses. If I didn't have her, I probably would've gone with their alteration service.

Here is my is a David's Bridal dress, but I never had to set a foot in David's to get it (haha!!)

With my lovely Jr. BM, Olivia- modeling our dresses together! (I made it big so you can see details!)

Want to guess how much my dress cost?? Just take a guess!! Unfortunately, the dress was only available for rent, since it's hard for Diane to keep dresses without trains on hand (I had never wanted a train on my dress), and they are often used for homecoming and occasions other than weddings. But really....will any of my future daughters want to wear my dress?? Probably not!  Plus, I could do literally anything I wanted to it! Shorten, add straps, add embelishments, whatever! Did you take a guess yet?? Was your guess under $100?? :o) Who gets a wedding dress for $90?? Me! Who thought I would? Not me!!

I love being frugal and saving money wherever I can, and this was a GREAT place to do it! I got the dress of my dreams, and didn't have to fork over half my wedding budget to do so! That really helped us have a much more elaborate reception that we originally thought we could have! If I'd kept the dress, it would've gone straight to a box  to be preserved after being drycleaned (which probably would've cost close to or more than what the dress cost me!), to be taken out someday by my daughter, only to have her say "Ehhh....not really my style..." (I did this with my mom's!!), and then go back to the box unused and taking up space!

I loved that the dress was strapless, and thought it looked good- when I was standing still! (in the above picture its still too loose so it's not up where it should be and you can kinda tell it doesn't fit quite right!!) But I knew that I would be pulling at it all day, and be self consious if I ever bent over!  So I had straps made from material where the hem was taken up, had it taken in several inches (it was a big size-which was good for my chest area!!Hehe!), and had blue tulle added to where it V-ed in the front and already had white tulle.

In between was done just enough to take it to the beach for "bridal portraits!" It was still a tad too big and the tulle blew away with the wind!

So after I got back from the beach, we took it in more and sewed the tulle down better for perfect results! Here are a few final pics the day of! I surprisingly couldn't find a photo of just me in the dress, head on! But  I'm not very much a "take a picture of just me"- type person!

Love how you can see the blue in this one!



And I was thrilled with the results!! I was adamant about a dress with no train, because I didn't want to be the bride who you have to back off from to be careful not to step on my dress! I wanted to be able to move around freely, dance freely, hug freely, and not have to worry about carrying it! Adding the straps to it definitely helped too!

I also rented a tiara from Diane, as I couldn't find any in other stores that I liked for a decent price. They either looked too cheap, too elaborate or too expensive! It cost me around $10 to rent the tiara, which I loved a whole lot more than any other's I'd seen, even in bridal boutiques!


And to complete the are my shoes (and my toes with little flowers!) They are from New York & Company, one of my favorite stores! I also had a bright aqua blue pair I changed into for the reception! My feet didn't hurt all day long!!


I couldn't have done it without the help of Diane and Memories! If you are on the search for your perfect dress. Definitely check her store out! And if you've already found yours, keep it in mind for selling your dress after the big day! If you do go, tell her that Stacey sent you! See if she ever remembered to look for this entry I told her I'd be writing! :o)


Memories Consignment Shop
Diane Allmon
4983 Lebanon Pike
Old Hickory, TN 37138


(all photos from my personal collection or Bledsoe Photography)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vote for my favorite Cupcake Maker!


Image from

Spice Cake with Dulce De Leche Filling
and Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Cheese frosting

Even thougn I'm slacking on the wedding blog "writing" lately, I'm not slacking on the reading! Still keeping up with all my fave sites (which you can find over there on the right side of the page!) and checking out what my favorite wedding planners and vendors have going on!

Just came across a contest that Cakes by Shara has entered (if you been reading my blog for any length at all, no explanation needed! If you need to know how great she is, just check out my cupcake entries!) Better yet, if you've tried her yummy goodness, or just feeling being kind today- go VOTE for her in an "Iron Cupcake" contest! You can even get the recipe by visiting her blog! As I have been completely obsessed with everything "fall" flavored lately, these sound absolutely scrumptious! I've been making apple butter, apple crisp, caramel dip, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pancakes, and anything else I can get my hands on- enjoying this season of lots of yummy goodies! I even made my own apple cinnamom potporri! Maybe I should start blogging about that instead! Haha!

At any rate, check out her cupcakes and many other talents and click on the link in the cupcake post to vote for Shara!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Picture problems!

I'm still having problems with my CD of pics....not sure what happened to them- maybe I was overworking them!! My parents have a copy so the rest of my recaps might have to wait until I get them! Sure don't want to do them without pics!! :o(

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our wedding- The Ceremony


The ceremony was mostly a blur of waiting, waiting, and waiting, wishing I could peek out at what was happening inside the sanctuary, but of course, that wasn't going to happen for me! Instead I had to wait back in our dressing room NOT looking at my dad so I wouldn't start to cry and mess up my makeup!!

Thanks to pictures (and eventually video!) I can see what happened, and so can you!

We introed with a slideshow playing about 20 min before the ceremony began, with pics of he and I separate growing up, culminating with pictures of us together through dating and our engagement! It was quite the effort but was worth it in the end- thanks to my wonderful baby bro for all his hard work! It ended with one of my favorite songs- "More than Anyone" by Gavin Degraw, which Craig very nicely edited our pics to fit with it! (you have to fast forward to 20:20 to see that part! Bad quality online because it's so huge, but I'm still lovin it!)

Then my lovely sis-in-law, Lindsey, started things off by singing "When You Say Nothing at All" by Allison Kraus. Lindz is a great singer, and I was SOOO thankful for her singing- esp since we waited last minute to pick a song! Thanks, Lindz!!

Next came another slide-show to honor our grandparents and my first best friend, who have all passed away. Very emotional moment! As their pictures (often with Ray or I) were shown, a family member came forward and lit a candle in their honor. This was one of the most important parts for me.  They would have all been by our side if they were able, and it was so important to us both to honor them. My 3 grandparents have been gone for awhile, but his both passed within the last year. I was actually kind of glad I didn't see this carried out though, because I'm not sure the tears would've been held back!



Then the funniest part happened! My grandmother was escorted by my cousin's two sons (her great-grandchildren). Well.....just look at the pictures and you'll see that while Anthony was the perfect escort, Jordan was quite the character.....


...the way...


Fortunately, she thought it was hysterical!! And of course, so did everyone else! Apparently he did it on the way out too!

Next was the seating of our mothers, and the beginning of our Sand Ceremony. After walking down the aisle, each of our mothers poured the jar of sand representing their foundation in our lives into the main jar.

Ray's mom (escorted by his brother/best man) 


My mom (escorted by my brother/groomsman)

Time for the groom!

And all his men!

Ladies turn!








Kerri (not smiling!!)






Kaylee, Gabby, and Caylee

And the big moment....



These pictures of the kids during the prayer, sure highlight the difference between boys and girls! :o)




The cutest thing was that my little ring bearer called my name a few times because he wanted me to turn around so he could take my picture! Hehe! Oh and also he tripped going up the steps to give Kerri the groom's ring!



I absolutely loved the words that our pastor (my childhood youth pastor!) wrote for our Sand Ceremony. It was one of the most meaningful parts for me!


My lovely Aunt Joy read I Corinthians 13- The Message version, which was really pretty and different from the usual reading of this passage! (I happened to read this at BOTH of her kid's weddings! One many years ago, and one last year!)


"I now pronouce you Mr. and Mrs............." My favorite part!!!!!!!!




You never know how emotional you will get when the actual moment comes! I've shed more than my share of tears at weddings in the past, that's for sure! I did get quite choked up and teary, but I managed to make it! (Apparently, my maids didn't though!)

Afterwards though, I shed a few tears! Definitely tears of joy and "Oh my goodness! I can't believe it finally happened!"


And was time to PARTY!!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Our Wedding- Pre-Ceremony

You hear over and over again how time flies on your wedding day and how it's over before you know it. I've been in so many weddings that I've lost count, but it is amazing how different the experience is from the "bride-side!"

My maids and I started the day off at a hotel where two of them and I had spent the night! I had 4 guests in my one bedroom apartment and NO BEDS (just a couch and several air mattresses!), and I was determined I was going to get a good nights sleep the night before! I've heard many brides don't and I'm usually one to not sleep when there is excitement the next day, but I was EXHAUSTED!! I did however wake up about an hour before I had to, so I made use of the time by calling my best friend in Honduras who couldn't make it up for the wedding, which really helped to calm my nerves talking to her!

Then my hairdresser arrived, and the fun begins.....


Sherri Greene has been my hairdresser since I was a kid! She is the ONLY person who has cut my hair in over 20 years, and the one I prefer to style it as well! No question I made sure before we set the date that she'd be available!! She also styled 4 of my maids as well.

My lovely cousin Amy, did my makeup as well as our cousin and my maid Ashley's. She is a great Arbonne rep!


My cute mom!

My maids worked hard to get my dress ironed (our steamer wasn't working!!) and to get themselves ready too!

Then it was off to the church to get dressed there, with just a slight mis-step when my MoH, Kerri, and I couldn't find my car! (The hotel had the longest passageways and was SO confusing- my dad had parked by an outside door, but we couldn't find it!)

Our ceremony was held at St. Paul's Community Church. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL and their blue accents inside perfectly accentuated all of the shades of blue I used!

Time to get the dress on...

Kerri slipped on my garter's-one to throw, one to keep (it was just too cute!)

Then it was time to meet my groom!

Don't look yet.....

Ok, now!

That moment is still so clear in my mind! All I could think of (besides how handsome he looked!) was how amazing it was to be right there in that moment all alone with him to revel in the joy of the day for a few private moments! I am so glad that we decided to do pictures beforehand. Especially since it was our only time alone until we left the reception many, many hours later! It really helped to calm both of our nerves and to help us enjoy the day more fully!

Then it was time for formals! First with my little girlies! (They were the only ones ready!!)

 Then the two of us

And lots of family and friend pics!

His fam...

My fam......

Our officiating pastor and his family. They were my youth pastors growing up, and I babysat for their kids until they moved to Minnesota! Their daughter Bethany was also my lovely guest book attendant!

The Lasater family! This wedding would NOT have happened (at least not as well!) without them! The girl's were my jr. bridesmaids and flower girl, the boys were ushers, and Chaundra made all the little girls dresses, restyled my dress, altered my maids dresses, and helped with my bridesmaid gifts! Whew!! We kept her BUSY!!!

My maids (showing off their bouquets- and my HOURS of labor!)


The boys...


Then...It was time to wait! This was the hardest part! It wasn't the crowded little room with 11 other girls, but it was the nerves!! Knowing that all of the people I could faintly see coming in through the window were there for Ray and I! That's a bit overwhelming to me, as I'm not used to nor do I like being the center of attention! It was only the fact of knowing how many important people I wanted to share in my happiness that drove me to have a big wedding!

Let the waiting begin.....

Next up....The Ceremony!


ALL photos by Shanell Bledsoe. Check out her site and her blog! Can't recommend her enough!