Photo Booth Pics & Video

The “photo booth” was a success and loads of fun. ¬†As Jessica put it, those who didn’t participate haven’t discovered their inner self!

Hope no one minds me posting these, ’cause if they do I’m in big trouble! ūüôā

Click on image to enlarge

How to Make Wedding Ribbon Wands


Hello, everyone! ¬†Suzette asked me to post my recent video on how to make wedding ribbon wands. ¬†We found the idea for ribbon wands while searching the internet for send off ideas, and thought they were such a pretty and fun project. ¬†There are several different styles of wands, made in different ways, but this one is our favorite. ¬†I decided to sit down and make a tutorial video, and thought it might be a help to someone else wanting to make them. ¬†Of course they can be made for any kind of celebration, but these are for Tim and Suzette’s wedding!

— Suzette’s mom

P.S. ¬†The top picture above is from Tim and¬†Suzette’s wedding, and are the ribbon wands you see below!


My Friend’s Wedding

I had the opportunity to assist my friend, Molly, in the final preparations for her wedding. The big day was December 16, 2011; the ceremony was at her home church and the reception was in the activity center located on the church grounds. Usually, this fellowship hall is used for less formal activities, so we had our work cut out for us as to making it glimmer with winter wedding elegance. However, I find myself in a very similar situation as I will have my reception in the Family Life Center at my church… so I paid attention to everything Molly did to make her venue look beautiful!

On the food/punch side of the building the wall was taken up with a kitchen, utility room and restrooms. To hide these, they hung a cable from wall to wall and attached home-made drapes.


The colors were hunter green and silver. Matching tablecloths pull it all together to create a beautiful distraction from the "gym feel."


The green drapes were centered and silver drapes were carefully placed and gathered near the middle, where pretty ribbon bows held them in place. Well done, everyone! Very pretty!


The backdrop created a focal point to draw attention away from anything that was not green and silver. This also made photography around the food/punch tables easy. They even did something like this for the cake table!

Would you have guessed that there is a door behind the green background?


Molly and I fastened this drape to the ceiling with a staple gun. The finished product made for beautiful cake pictures! Isn’t it nice to have a deep, rich color in the background to contrast with the bride’s dress instead of a white wall?

Molly’s family and church friends did an amazing job decorating their activity building, and now I feel like I can do it, too! The gym at my church is much bigger, but this experience inspired me to do what I can to pretty it up.

Budget Wedding Supplies

There are countless vendors hounding first time brides with their bank-breaking prices of catering, decorations, flowers, favors, and even attire. ¬†God bless them, but I can’t buy a thing from them. ¬†I have looked in some unexpected places for brilliant ideas and good deals and have not returned disappointed. ¬†Here are a few places I’ve found some of my best finds.

Oriental Trading  Rose petals, pew clips, and bouquet holders are just a few things I found in the wedding section of this popular party supplier.

Dollar Tree  Yes, you can find beautiful ideas here, too!  I like their glass candle holders, flowers, and wedding favors.  You can even buy online and in bulk!

eBay  This is where I bought my dress AND shoes!  Can you top that?

Amazon  I just love their jewelry and bridal party buttons!

Cafe Press¬† Who wouldn’t want something personalized for their entire bridal party? ¬†I love so many of these designs… Yes, I’ll take one of everything!

Who says a wedding has to be expensive? ¬†I don’t! ¬†At the end of the wedding day, regardless of how much money I’ve spent, I’ve got the grand prize: a husband! ¬†Keep it all in perspective: the wedding is only one day, and afterwards I have my whole life to spend with him. ¬†My wedding day will be special and full of personality, but from just looking at all the glitz and glamour, nobody will have a clue how much I spent on it. =)

Scrapbook-Inspired Guest Book

You walk into the church.¬† The guest book attendant greets you.¬† You pick up the pen.¬† You write your family’s name on the line.¬† You put the pen down.¬† The usher takes you to your seat.¬† Yawn.


My mom found¬†a cute¬†guest book idea in “The Best of Martha Steward Living: Weddings.”¬† The guest writes a note to the bride and groom on a small piece of cardstock, then slips it in one of the mini envelopes on the scrapbook page.¬† Not only is it fun to see what everyone wrote to you, but you’ll treasure your guest book for ever!

Here are some pages I have completed in mine.  I enjoy scrapboooking, so whenever I feel overwhelmed by wedding planning I just unwind by putting a few guest book pages together.

The front cover is a subdued damask paper, dressed up with sparkly blue ribbon and a pewter frame. "Guest Book" is spelled out in typewriter-style letters.


Vintage meets shabby chic with white and blue polka-dotted flowers with pink rhinestone centers. Pink envelopes and a Bible verse add to the elegance.


This is probably my favorite page. "Honor" is nestled inside a dark bronze frame, surrounded by clear rhinestones and two simple envelopes, and rests on top of a neutral damask background.


Fun glittery letters and not-quite-formal paper make this page simply shabby.

How to Order a Wedding Dress from China

Is ordering “the dress” from China a smart idea? ¬†There are so many horror stories floating around the internet, but yet there are so many success stories as well. ¬†While the promise of an inexpensive dress is tempting, one must wonder if all of the worrying, guess work, and knocking on wood is worth it! ¬†Allow me to share my experience with you, as well as the pros and cons of ordering directly from China.

I went into this adventure knowing exactly what I wanted in a wedding gown, but faced the fact that it probably wasn’t going to look exactly¬†like the picture. ¬†Give them a break; all the seamstress has is a picture on which to base the final product. ¬†In most cases, the company won’t even have a pattern, so be sure to have detailed pictures of everything you want: bead work, lace, florets, etc.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of wedding dresses come from China anyway. ¬†While the bridal shops buy their dresses from bigger companies with patterns, sellers on eBay run smaller companies with less workers but a lot of talent. ¬†And always remember, just because you order from a bridal shop doesn’t mean their dresses will be perfect. ¬†People are just human wherever you order from and mistakes can happen.

One of the first things I did was my homework. ¬†There are many inexpensive dress makers advertised on eBay and other online sites, but that doesn’t mean they’re all real people. ¬†I found several eBay sellers, looked at their feedback, and then checked the rest of the internet for reviews on their work. ¬†If I couldn’t find their names elsewhere on the web, they weren’t verifiable and I dropped them like a bad habit! ¬†I narrowed down my list quite a bit by finding what was spam, who just wanted a quick buck, and who the REAL people were.

Just for a well rounded viewpoint, go visit some sites that say how horrible “knock-off” dresses look. ¬†99% of the time, the original was a $1,000 dress with ten layers and more detail than it takes to plan a wedding, while the cheap version cost $50 and consisted of two layers and little or no bead work. ¬†There are several things we can learn from sites like these:

  • Most of these websites were created by people in the bridal industry who would rather you spend money in their bridal salon! ¬†To be honest, I thought most of the cheaper dresses were gorgeous… they were just shown beside the designer gown in order to show how “bad” they looked.
  • eBay dresses do not equal designer dresses! ¬†So get it all of your fantasies of ordering a Maggie Sottero for 95% off out of your head! ¬†What you will get is a dress based¬†on¬†the designer gown, created from a picture.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. ¬†Don’t expect a $1,000 dress for $50. ¬†Use a little common sense: how could someone purchase at least ten yards of¬†Duchess¬†Satin, labor on it for weeks, send it half-way across the world, all for the price of an iPod shuffle, and you be completely wowed by it? ¬†It won’t happen. ¬†Either order a better quality dress or set your expectations way lower than the picture in the¬†catalogue.

In case you’re completely terrified now, let me ease your nerves by sharing my story. ¬†I found a dress online and fell in love with it. ¬†My mom used some Photo Shop magic to make it look exactly how I wanted while I researched various China-based companies. ¬†We decided on our candidate, emailed her the pictures (front and back of the dress), asked her if she could make it, she said yes, and we showered her with DETAILS. ¬†Let me say it again: DETAILS!! ¬†The neck must be this high, the train must be this long, the bead work must cover this much, put florets here, add lace there, and so on. ¬†We used simple¬†words (remember, English is their second language and it’s not the easiest thing to learn) and put each request on a separate line, like this:

The dress must be white.

I want the bead work to cover the bodice.

I would like florets on the skirt as shown in the picture.

Communication is the key to any relationship, and this is no exception.  Make sure your seller is communicative; ours responded to our emails within an hour, no matter when we sent them, and we started wondering when these people sleep!  If your seller seems stand-offish and awkwardly quiet, go find someone different.  Better safe than $100 in the hole over a faker who just wanted your money.

Next my mom looked up YouTube videos on how to measure someone for a wedding dress. ¬†Do NOT attempt to measure yourself. ¬†Take more measurements than the seller asks for and email them every single one. ¬†My mom even sent an additional picture of the dress, but with all the¬†measurements¬†included next to their respective areas. ¬†I’m pretty sure we completely overwhelmed these folks with details, but it’s better to do that than forget to mention an important feature and be¬†disappointed¬†when the dress arrives.

A tell-tale sign that we had found a gem of a seller was the realistic amount they asked us to pay.  When we insisted on having the magnificent bead work featured on the original dress, our seller warned us that it would be an extra $35.  I was overjoyed!!  Even though this brought our total to $195 (including shipping), this meant they were actually going to put all that hard work into the beading!  I took the extra charge as a big hint that this was going to be a high quality, gorgeous dress.

It only took a few weeks for it to arrive, as opposed to the six months you would wait for a dress from the bridal salon.  Considering all the hard work that went into making it, the shipping time was very reasonable.  Actually, it arrived a few days earlier than the shipment tracker predicted!

I am extremely satisfied with my dress. ¬†The only thing that we need to change is the sleeve shape, which is a relatively minor alteration. ¬†I would also prefer the waist to be dropped a bit more, but that is also an easy fix. ¬†We will address these issues as well as “the fitting” next time I travel home.

I’m sure you all are chomping at the bit to know who this wonderful seller is. ¬†My family and I are happy to introduce you to¬†Yu Yang Wang and highly recommend them. ¬†We are impressed with the workmanship and communication of this eBay seller and encourage all cost-conscious brides to seriously consider buying from them.

I know for a fact that there are other good sellers out there, but I want to make it easy for you and recommend the one that worked for me.  Just remember everything I just said about communication, pictures, and measurements.  You CAN have the wedding gown of your dreams!  Just do your homework, use common sense, and enjoy having money to spare for your wedding shoes!