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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Reception (16)


Fingernails on a Chalkboard

I used to consider trendy a bad thing. I guess sometimes I still do. I associated "trendy" with all things cheerleader-y and high school-y, even when I was in high school. I hung out with the "punks" and dyed my hair blue-black and wore white eye shadow and black eyeliner and smoked cigarettes flapper-style with crazy old filters. Hm. If fact, I kinda looked a lot like this chick except had crazy Robert Smith-esque hair.



Hot, right? Not! It was different though. Then I got really tired of being different, so when I went to college I joined a sorority because I wanted to  fit in. Most of the time I was just pissed that I had to do things in a group setting. I'm glad for the experience, but that foray into trying to fit in really didn't work out all that well. I think after that I just embraced my fashion weirdness and went with it. Over the years, I've worn some pretty odd things.  I remember having these electric green capri pants one summer and my mom saying to me, "You know if you'd paid five more dollars, I bet you could have gotten yourself some green pants." And people say my smart-assery comes from my father. Huh, you think? ANYWAY, over the last few years, I'm caring less about trendy and more about what fits and feels good and looks good. Gone are the days where I run out and blow my cash on the latest and greatest whatever.  I may drool over the latest D&G, but I'm not going to buy that crazy shit.

And you know, my job is all about trend. I gotta know what's hot and what's not in the decor world and try to balance on the top of the trend-right bubble. Too soon and you miss the the mass. Too late and you're just another copy cat. It's effing exhausting. Which leads me to the point of this post. Here is the latest wedding trend that I am DONE with. Enough, people. Enough. You are exhausting me.











So um, do you get my drift? I mean, I'm not trying to be all bitchy, but I'm just so OVER seeing every damn outdoor wedding with a chalkboard menu, or chalkboard signs, or chalkboard anything. It's been done to death. Planners, can we please see another idea? I mean, calkboards are handy in the classroom, right? Perhaps to take messages on by the phone. And I realize that the availability of chalkboard paint makes all the DIYers little hearts sing. I get it. I'm just over it. Anyone with me or am I on this ship solo?




Everybody, Grab a Piece of Real Estate on the Dance Floor!

I know a lot of brides out there think that they need to take dance lessons, or have some sort of fancy dance recital or routine or whatever. Guess what? No. You. Don't.

Here's the deal: The Candyman doesn't have dancing high on his list of his favorite things to do. He LOVES music. Dancing? Not so much. He's not a bad dancer at all. I really enjoy dancing with him, when it happens. I knew from the start that any sort of dancing requests would fall on deaf ears and honestly, I could care less about it. I don't think anyone else really does either, unless maybe you come from a family of ballroom dancers. Then, you might need to show out a little. I think if you just get out there and get your sway on, no one will care. What it is, like 4 minutes? Tops? People can be bored for 4 minutes while you stand in one spot and dance (sway) your first dance together as husband and wife.

What I do think is important is the song. A lot of couples don't have an official "song." That's OK. We happened to have a song. It's called Heavenly Day by Patti Griffin. Patti is one of my all-time favorite artists and I took The Candyman to see her at The Ryman (aka The Grand 'Ol Opry for you non-locals) in the early days of dating. To be truthful, I think The Candyman fell in love with me a little that night. :)

Here's "our song." Patti claims that it's the first love song she ever wrote - and it's about her dog. That's OK with us!


One suggestion that I have if you don't have a "song" is to look at different version of songs you really like. Do you have to have What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong that's been played and played and played and played and played and played at weddings for forever and a day? OK, then how about it a cover by any of the following:

The Flaming Lips

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

Natalie Cole

Keb Mo'

Cold Play

Katie Melula

Celine Dion (*gag*)

John Legend (yum)

Beth Orton

Kenngy G (yeah, I wrote it, whacchu gonna do about it?)

Lovin' on The Candyman!

I have no idea what's going on here, but I thought it was a hysterical picture.

The Candyman is whispering sweet, sweet somethings!

The big finish! This is as fancy as we got with our dancing!

Even though I wasn't real happy with our DJ when all was said and done, we did make the most of it and I think those interested in dancing had a good time doing so. I know my dad and I had a grand time dancing to our Father/Daughter dance. I let him choose the song and he picked "Teach Your Children" by Crosby, Still, Nash and Young. At first I thought it was a little corny, but then when I looked up the lyrics, I realized how perfect it really was. My dad is a really good dancer so all I had to do was relax and let him lead.

I have no idea why we're sticking our tongues out at each other. We just roll like that.


And of course, I dragged a bunch of people out to dance after our formal dances. There was an odd, sort of impromptu dance ambush by the waiters at Mere Bulles. It might be their schtick for weddings, but I thought it was awesome! They all came out with their sunglasses on and got down. It was really the one thing that truly surprised me since I had no idea they were going to do it.

Oh, by the way - our waiters were hot.

Gettin' down with Mom!

The Candyman is serious about this groove!

All I'm trying to say is HAVE FUN! It's a party, after all. If you think it's important to have a super-formal official first dance, then by all means, go for lessons, do whatever. However, if you're trying to stick to a budget, it's not one of those things that I think is a must have.  Then again, we blew a bunch of cash on our phat ride and that certainly wasn't important. We just wanted it. So go. Do your thing. Boogie.


A Toast

We arrived at our reception with our party-hats on and flags waving! I was ready to go! We had a lovely cocktail hour of hugs and drinks and well-wishes from friends and family alike. One cool thing about a small wedding is that you get to talk to everyone, albeit briefly, too briefly for my taste! I wanted to chat with everyone all night long!


The call for dinner was made and we sat down to a really decent spread! One of the reasons we chose Mere Bulles as our venue was that we really loved the food. It wasn't typical "wedding food" in my opinion. Several people voiced the same and that made me so happy! We got in a few smooches during supper.


I tried to circulate the rooms as best I could. I missed talking to two whole tables! I felt really bad, hoping that The Candyman had gotten there, but as it turns out he hadn't. Great. However, those tables housed our immediately family (one from my side, one from his) and we are hoping that we are forgiven. A hearty "SORRY!" to:

Sis, Gary, Weeza, Joanna, Herman, June, Cookie, Liz, Brett, Lisa

(don't you just love some of our Southern nicknames?)

Once dinner was dispersed, The Candyman and I got up to say a few words to our peeps. The Candyman started out a little less than elegant and got a heartfelt razzing from the crowd. It was awesome, the abuse he endured. However, once the crowd felt he'd had enough, they settled down and allowed him to finish his thoughts. They were the most thoughtful and beautifully elegant things I've ever heard him say and I have absolutely no recollection what they were. How terrible is that? I just know that it was awesome.



Then I got the mic and gave some shout-outs to the folks who had helped me throughout the planning process.I don't know what was going on in this particular photo, but I must have been harassing The Candyman. ;)



Then my dad got up to say a few words. Now, right before dinner began, I walked over to my dad and The Best Man to remind them when we were going to do the toasts. My dad goes, "Toasts? What toasts?"

"Um, Dad. Remember when you were at my house over Easter? Remember that I asked you to choose a song for the Father/Daughter dance?"

"Sure, and I did."

"Yes, I know. Do you remember that I also told you then that you'd have to make a toast? You told me that even if I'd told you the day of the wedding that you'd have to make a toast, that you'd probably know exactly what to say?"

"I did?"


"Good thing I know what to say because I have no recollection of that conversation."

And that my friends, is how Alzheimer's begins. I'm most certain of it. At any rate, it was a lovely toast. And I have to say that my pops looks pretty snazzy in his tuxedo. I think he looks good for Sixty-Something!



Then our awesome Best Man said a few words.... I love this shot because it looks like the he's rapping. "Yo! Yo! Yo! Put you're hands up for the da happy couple in da hizz-ouse!"



Then it was time for my MOH to give her toast and such a lovely toast it was! I of course, listened intently....



...and laughed, 'cuz it was really funny as well as sentimental:


I've finally gotten to a breathing point post-wedding, post-honeymoon, post-Thanksgiving, post-Christmas, post-New Year, post-overseas trip to request a copy of the toast from my MOH! It was such a perfect toast, the best of the night for sure!


In our cousin-relationship, Louise has always been the city cousin, and I have been the country cousin, so it seems fitting that it is in the city-of-all-things-country that I was able to stand next to her on her wedding day, and I felt very honored to do so. But no matter the fact that she is a city girl, she’s still a Southern girl, so it’s also perfect that this wedding is taking place on the Southern side of the Mason-Dixon line where she finally met the right tall and handsome Southern boy. Clearly she was waiting (patiently, or perhaps with her foot tapping) until he came along.

I don’t have a sister. I have my Cousin Louise, and whenever I talk about her, I always preface it with “She’s-my-cousin-but-I-don’t-have-sister-so-she’s-like-a-sister.” Either way, she has been my go-to-girl for all things related to romance. She and I have spent a lot of time talking about boys, often while we were up late, eating M & Ms and popcorn, watching movies—or, when, we were miles apart—talking on the phone. And from when she first met The Candyman, I suspected he might be the one. This time, the talk was different. There wasn’t a lot of analysis or play-by-plays of the conversations. There wasn’t a lot of angst. There was a smoothness to it, a wait-and-see attitude that made me think, “There is something real here. This might be the real deal.”

And then, I met The Candyman. It was at a beach house in Garden City, and for The Candyman, it was trial by family. Many of you were there at that beach house, and the rest of you can imagine the details. I didn’t get to talk to The Candyman much that week (he might have been hiding out a lot), but on the last night, we were all at the dinner table. Louise was razzing The Candyman about something, and all of a sudden he glanced sideways at her and said, with fork still in hand, “Darlin’, if I weren’t so hungry, it would be so ON right now.” And he went back to his food. Louise laughed, we all laughed, and I thought. Yep. That’s him. He knows what he’s doing.

Since then, I have been amazed at the way Louise and The Candyman have nurtured their relationship with love, honesty, and, most of all, humor. I am so happy to welcome The Candyman to the family, not only because he loves my Cousin and calls her “Darlin,” but also because he has good taste in movies and TV, and he’s a good writer. And it’s kinda nice to finally have a lawyer in the family, especially since he’s the good kind.

But most of all, I am happy for you, Cousin. You are such a strong, smart, and beautiful woman, and I’m so glad you have found your smart, funny, and handsome Southern man. I wish for you both a marriage filled with adventure, joy, passion, and peace. I wish you many mornings of good conversation over coffee, yella grits, and good biscuits. But, most of all I wish you a lifetime of love.

Isn't that the most kick-ass toast ever?? Here's to you, Cousin! 


Wedding Harmony

If You're not familiar with Vicki Grafton and My Simple Details, you should be. Vicki planned her own Bali wedding and it's been plastered all over the place. I'm sure you've seen in on Style Me Pretty or even recently on The Budget Savvy Bride's Wedding of the Week. Anyway, Vicki was the planner for the event in the below video. The camera work leaves a little to be desired, but it wasn't like it was being filmed by a real videographer (at least I HOPE not). Still, you get the gist. Really clever and those guys can SING!


Best Groomsmen Medley from Vicki Grafton on Vimeo.


The Bloomin' Truth - Flower Budget

I'm not big on flowers. I knew this wasn't going to be a huge chunk of my money. Don't get me wrong, I love flowers. But they are so expensive. And they die.

On top of it, I used to work for FTD. I was the Product Development manager for their floral containers. I know a lot more about the inner workings of flower shops, florists and floral wholesalers than the average bride, in my opinion. I certainly know what I don't like:

Leather Leaf (hello, 1985)
Plumosus (it sheds little tiny green needles - like a mofo!)
Bear Grass (hello, 1997)
Baby's Breath (unless you are doing an all Gypsophilia thing like these:)

From The Martha, of course.

Found this on The Sweetest Occasion. Never knew about this blog. It's AWESOME!

I found this on Weddingbee (God, how I hate that site), but don't know the original source. If ya know it, lemme know!

I am not a big rose kind of girl. I like some weird flowers, most of them happen to be cheap. Lucky me! Now, I don't know if this was the smartest thing for me to do, but I only interviewed one florist. Yup. Just one. And I have no recollection as to how I found her. I think I was just hunting on-line, found a link to her on some seriously obscure wedding web-site and then found examples of her work on Flickr. I made an appointment, talked to her about what I wanted and what I knew about flowers. I was up front about flowers not being the bulk of my budget and that I wanted to trim the fat at every possible turn. She was totally down with it. Her name is Angela Sadler.

I think we went through about 6 or 7 quotes until we got to where I wanted it. The thing is, I had a hard time deciding what I actually wanted to do with the flowers at the reception. You can read about that here. I finally decided, bit the bullet and went for staggered bud vases scattered on the tables, mixed with small votives (provided for FREE by Mere Bulles!). I got my bud vases on sale at Crate and Barrel, Target and Ikea and had a total of 5 different shapes and styles. I bought WAY too many. The good thing was that I was able to return ALL the vases to Target (I did get a merchandise credit because I had purchased them long ago), and I sold a good chunk of the C&B bud vases to Angela. I still have the Ikea ones and some of the C&B ones that I will offer to sell here as soon as I can get my act together.

I met with Angela a few weeks before the wedding at the local wholesale florist place to review and pick out flowers as well as to show Angela the bud vases. Apparently, most brides don't do this. Angela made a comment about how involved I was! I'm not sure if this was a good thing or what, but I like to see what I'm buying. Anyway, you can see what we did here.

We kept the ceremony flowers super-simple since I knew it was going to be a short service. Why pay tons of money for something people are going to see for 30 minutes, tops? Owen Chapel has it's own unique charm, so I didn't want to over-do it. We had wreaths on the doors, a large wreath inside and two large alter arrangements.

How did I save? A few ways:

1. I saved $25 on the large wreath by purchasing the wreath myself. It was about $13 with tax and coupon use at JoAnn's, so it saved a little over $10. Hey - every little bit counts!
2. I saved $5 each ($10) on the door wreaths. I bought those on sale at Micheal's for $3 for both.
3. Going the bud vase route versus centerpieces saved me about $500 from the original quote! Angela had really affordable arrangements using BIG flowers like hydrangeas, football mums, gerbers and stock. We used really beautiful variegate pittsporum and snow berries as the filler, both affordable.
4. We had one large corsage for my mom and then smaller corsages for the other females in the group (no MOG for us, so no need).
5. We used really big, really inexpensive flowers in my bouquet: gerbers and football mums. The most expensive flower was a garden rose that we added, just to make it a little different than the MOH's bouquet.
6. I had my go-to girl Alecia take one of the alter arrangements as well as the door wreaths to Mere Bulles to add to the ambiance there.
7. I chose teeny tiny little button mums with fern curls for the boutonnieres. The guys really liked them and they were CHEAP!

Here's the budget breakdown.

The delivery and set up was "free" - I just took out the bud vases Angela bought in trade. The total here doesn't count the $60 I made back from the returned Target vases. Hopefully, I'll get a little more back if I sell the remaining Ikea and C&B vases. I was really hoping to come in under $1500 on this and I might in the end. Who knows.

There was one thing that I didn't like about all of the flowers and that was the handle on my bouquet. Again, I blame no one but myself for not being more specific. I had wanted the stems of my bouquet wrapped in the left over lace from my mom's mantilla. I mean WRAPPED - like how they do it with the ribbon. I also had a pearl pin I wanted put on. Well, she used just the teeny-tiniest piece of lace, I think to preserve the lace usage, but that's not what I wanted. She could have used it all! At any rate, the lace shifted around as did the pin and looked a little tattered at the end. I assumed that the bouquet stems would be wrapped all the way down to their ends. That wasn't the case. I was afraid that the stems would touch my dress and leave a mark during photographs!

Wedding Tip #3: Be as specific as you can. Assume nothing. If you don't ever ask for it, you can't be sure of what you are going to get. If a vendor gets snippy because you're asking too many questions or giving lots of direction, let them or move on. You have a right to know exactly what you are paying for.

I really enjoyed working with my florist. She was happy to give me references, even one who had a wedding at Owen Chapel before! I contacted everyone and they sang Angela's praises and were straight up about her short-comings, the only one being that she wasn't one to reply immediately to emails. Knowing this bit of information saved me a lot of worry. Since I knew she would eventually reply, I could contact her in advance of needed info and wait out the response. She knew if I called, I needed her and she would call back in a jiffy. She was a great vendor to work with. I liked her personally and kinda wanted to get to know her more and just hang out. I think because I was around her age, she got me. That's how it all ended up though - we hired the vendors who understood The Candyman and I as people and treated us that way. That makes it all good.

The flowers were simple and beautiful. Mixed with the candlelight at Mere Bulles - they were STUNNING! The good thing about using the bud vases was that we were able to add them to different areas in the venue without a bunch of extra arrangement costs. We had some added to the fireplace mantel, the place card table and the cake table.