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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)

Tuesday
Nov102009

Budget ReCap -o- Rama: The Reception Venue

You guys know that I was totally in love with our reception venue, Mere Bulles from the moment we stepped inside. The brown walls and ivory crown molding are accented by amazing artwork all over what was once the grand manor house of Maryland Farms (horse breeding country, back in the day). Right when you walk in, there's a killer spiral staircase with a gorgeous chandelier. The main dining room has a gorgeous old mantle and fireplace. There are built in bookshelves all over the house and it's just so damn inviting.


This feeling was extended to us by the fabulousness of one Carlin McQuiddy, their kick-ass events coordinator. I mean, she fed us their famous Charleston She-Crab Bisque the second we came in for our appointment. I mean, damn. She'd never even met The Candyman and she knew the way to his heart - straight through his stomach!



I have nothing but good things to say about Carlin and the fine people over at Mere Bulles. They took care of us. The treated us with respect and were attentive and responsive to every single thing we requested. We made one mistake though. Ooooops. Here it is:


WEDDING TIP #2: It's possible to get too distracted by the details. Don't forget to double check your budget. You might be really far UNDER.


Yes, UNDER. Here's what happened. Again, I can only really blame only myself for this. Carlin said she should take a little of the blame, so I'll give her some too. If you have a band or DJ at Mere Bulles, you have to do a whole house buy out because it's a house and you can hear the music throughout. At our first meeting when Carlin told us the price of a whole house buy out, I put my spoon down (remember, she was feeding us) and was about to bolt. She quickly informed us that a whole house buy out on a Sunday was HALF THE PRICE of a Friday or Saturday. I picked my spoon back up and said, "Carlin, please tell me more." The Candyman was oblivious to this. There was food.

You can also bring your own wine into Mere Bulles even though you have to pay a cork fee. I knew I could get budget savvy with the booze so opted for this as well.

Here's where I fucked it all up:

See, I had this AMAZING spreadsheet, y'all. Seriously. Formulas and links and all that crap. I love Excel spreadsheets. Like, love them. My dad is the Master of Things Excel and I call him all the time for advanced workshops via the phone. Anyway, I had this kick-ass spreadsheet that linked the booze tally page to the Mere Bulles tally page, that all linked up to the total page. Sweet, right? Right.

One day at work, I found this other formula and format that I thought was uber-bitchin' so I did that during my lunch hour. I sent the spreadsheet home to myself and did a little copy and paste into the Master of All Mack-Daddy Spreadsheets. Yeah. When I put the new format into one of the worksheets, I erased the link that went from the booze tally to the Mere Bulles tally and NEVER fucking noticed. NEVER.

As the RSVPs came in, I updated both worksheets and the totals went down on their SEPARATE pages. However, I didn't really look at those pages individually because I had already set up all the functions, so all I had to do was update the number of people. The overall total was going down but not by NEARLY enough. And again, I NEVER fucking noticed. Yes, there are a lot of "fucks" in this particular blog. You'd drop the F-bomb a lot too if you were $1000 UNDER the house buy-out.

Here's what this means. I started out with a total of 88 people and 21 kids invited to the wedding. I allotted total food and alcohol for that many people, erring on the high side for booze. As the numbers went down, the food and liquor pages went down, as did the total, but it was only pulling from the food tally. I basically had budgeted that 66 adults would drink 200 beers and six cases of wine. Yeah, sure. Maybe if those 66 adults were 21 years old at a freakin' South Padre Spring Break wet t-shirt contest. WTF?

I want to know when exactly I got so stupid. Was it the diamond on my finger? Was I constantly distracted by the shiny things? Or just constantly distracted? Oh, who knows. So here's what happened....

I come cruising into Mere Bulles (gushing, mind you because everything looked so damn pretty), the DJ is announcing us and I see people standing around with cocktails. Not cocktails in the generic, I'm-offering-beer-and-wine, but like scotch on the rocks and martinis. Lots of them. Um, what? I can't see THIS many people ponying up for cocktails when there's FREE beer and wine. I desperately make eye contact with Tabitha and she pulls me directly over and starts talking. Fast.

Tabitha: Don't freak. You're under budget. The manager opened the bar.

Me: WHAT?!?

Tabitha: Dude, you're UNDER budget. The manager ran the numbers and he says that every person in this room can have 6 drinks and you will still be UNDER budget. He opened the bar.

Me: WHAT?!? No. That can't be right. I ran the numbers too (and I did, just not the way I thought I had)! No. No. No.

Tabitha: Yes. I swear it's OK.

In my head: Do NOT let this freak you out. Do NOT let this freak you out. Trust the manager. Trust Tabitha. Let it go.

Me: OK, fine. But I swear, if we go over budget because the bar is open.....

Tabitha: You won't.

Me: OK. I need a drink.

And guess what? We were still WAY under budget. I could have served prime rib. I didn't have to buy all my wine and worry about having good wine and not going over budget. I didn't have to mess with all of that.

The thing is, I am so okay with everything. People enjoyed the food. People enjoyed the drinks. Everyone had what they wanted and that was perfect. I still don't care about prime rib because I think it's disgusting. Our wine was yummy. And I could return the unopened portion, which off-set the $1000 under budget by $300+.

And here's the BEST part. Mere Bulles did not have to open the bar. I had a signed contract that stated wine, which would be provided by me and beer, provided by them. They, by all legal accounts, did NOT have to open the bar. And they did. Because they are cool. Because they are fair and because they are a classy establishment who cares about their clients. Period. They were going to get paid regardless of what they served and they went above what was legally and contractually required. How often do you hear about THAT in the WIC (Wedding Industry Complex)?

On top of it, Carlin sent us some gift certificates that we can use at Mere Bulles. Again, she didn't have to do that. It was a super-nice perk.

Here's some other fabulous things about Mere Bulles:

1. The staff was top-notch. People commented frequently to me that the service was great.
2. The food was top notch. I heard "best wedding food" several times.
3. The staff participated in an impromptu group dance during the reception. Fun!
4. The staff loaded all the presents for me into my parent's car.
5. The staff had all of our chargers and bud vases cleaned and cleared and packed up and ready for us to pick up the next day.
6. Carlin's immediate responses to any and all of my inquiries.
7. They were concerned that my cake plates were a little wobbly. The cut all the cakes so people could just pick up a piece and enjoy! Nice. No stupid cake cutting fee (clearly the dumbest up-charge in the world).

Thanks to everyone at Mere Bulles for a wonderful reception! Regardless of where I came in, it was the most perfect evening ever and worth every penny, spent or not!

I'm sure there will be more pictures to come. I pulled these of Mere Bulles from their website gallery.

Tuesday
Aug112009

I've Fallen into the Internet and I Can't Get Out!

So you know how you can totally get lost in the blog-o-sphere? I do it all the time and it's a total time-sucker. I read about something cool and click on a link. Then I see something else on that site and then click on another link. Suddenly, I feel like I'm in the 70's Fabrege Shampoo commercial (and so on and so on and so on). Blogs are the worst. I mean, come on! They really are. I follow 80 bazillion blogs and want to read each and every post on every single one but I simply do not have the time. Especially now that I am in wedding crunch time, coupled with the fact that I'm working double-time to help keep my company afloat so that I can pay for said wedding! I just need a "pause" button for about a day. Maybe two.

I'm totally off track here. My point is that I got lost on the Internet the other day and found the cutest Etsy shop. It's called Natalie As Is. She doesn't have many item, but what she does have rocks. Hard.

look at the gorgeous handmade sketch books! I think these would be perfect for a registration book - or simply a wedding gift. Maybe for a bridesmaid? The paper is acid free, so could be used as a photo album too. Lovely. Just lovely.


The other really interesting this she has for sale are Cupcake Pamphlets. Uh, come again? What the hell is a cupcake pamphlet? This is:

She has 2 volumes of 3 eight-page pamphlets contains the illustrated recipes. The first volume has:

~ Marbled Lemon-Berry Cupcakes with lemon Chantilly cream

~ Earl Grey Cupcakes on pâte sucrée with dark chocolate filling, earl grey Italian meringue butter cream

~ Walnut Browned Butter Cupcakes with browned butter & Scotch pastry cream filling, white chocolate walnut glaze

These are handwritten recipes that are accompanied by watercolor and graphite illustrations. Ingredients are given in both weight and measure. The pamphlets are ink jet printed on 28 lb acid free paper and hand bound in a vellum jacket. So cool! I headed over to her Flickr page and found these examples of her mad baking skills!


Who else gets lost in the Internet? Do you find as many interesting things as I do?

Monday
Jun012009

Calling All Music Snobs


While I used to consider myself a know-it-all music snob, I long ago relinquished that title to those with more time on their hands and the wherewithal to engage in the activity. I have better things to do like play Mafia Wars and Scramble on Facebook. Oh right, and plan a wedding. And blog about it.

Early in the planning stages I found a cool article in Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. She listed "songs you won't hear at every other wedding." The same article can be found here. Or, you can just see the list below:

For the Cocktail Hour
"I Only Have Eyes for You," Billie Holiday
"How Deep Is Your Love," The Bird and the Bee
"Tupelo Honey," Cassandra Wilson
"It's Wonderful," Ella Fitzgerald
"Soledad," Jorge Drexler
"In a Sentimental Mood," John Coltrane
"Stop, Look, Listen to Your Heart," Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross
"I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl," Nikka Costa
"You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," Shelby Lynne

For the Dinner
"The Weight," Aretha Franklin
"Wind Cries Mary," Jamie Cullum
"Don't Speak," Leela James
"Easy," The Commodores
"All at Sea," Jamie Cullum
"Shelter," Ray LaMontagne
"This Must Be the Place (NaiveMelody)," Talking Heads
"Across the Universe," Rufus Wainwright
"Closer," Travis
"The Look of Love," Dusty Springfield
"More Than This," Roxy Music

For Your First Dance
"Sea of Love," Cat Power
"Thank You," Lizz Wright
"Northern Sky," Nick Drake
"Brighter Than Sunshine," Aqualung
"In Your Eyes," Jeffrey Gaines
"Somersault," Zero 7
"Isn't It Romantic?," Tony Bennett
"A Case of You," Joni Mitchell
"You're the Best Thing," The Style Council
"Baby, Now That I've Found You," Alison Krauss
"Here Comes the Sun," Nina Simone

For the Father/Daughter Dance
"Maybe I'm Amazed," Jem
"Sweet Pea," Amos Lee
"In My Life," The Beatles
"Isn't She Lovely," Stevie Wonder
"I Can See Clearly Now," Jimmy Cliff
"A Song for You," Gram Parsons
"To Sir with Love," Al Green
"The Wind," Cat Stevens
"Have You Met Miss Jones (Swing When Version)," Robbie Williams

For Boogie Time
"Heart of Glass," Blondie
"Let's Stick Together," Bryan Ferry
"Mercy," Duffy
"What'd I Say," Ray Charles
"Ring of Fire," Johnny Cash
"Some Kind of Wonderful," Joss Stone
"Modern Love," David Bowie
"I Only Have Eyes for You," The Flamingos
"Valerie," Mark Ronson with Amy Winehouse
"Twistin' the Night Away," Sam Cooke
"('Til) I Kissed You," The Everly Brothers

For the After-Party
"If You Find Yourself Caught in Love," Belle & Sebastian
"Who the Cap Fit," Bob Marley
"Sirenes de la Fete," Brazilian Girls
"Following," Chungking
"Beautiful World," Colin Hay
"Heartbeats," Jose Gonzalez
"Cupid," Jack Johnson
"Karmacoma," Massive Attack
"Je T'aime Moi Nnon Plus," Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin
"Little Black Sandals," Sia

I've downloaded a lot of these for my own enjoyment, except for Belle & Sebastian. I'd rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick than listen to that melancholy, wrist-slitting crap. I also sent a copy of the list to my DJ. She's including these on her play list too. Very cool.

I also gave the list to my dad in hopes that he will choose a good father-daughter dance song. I don't know if it's his job to pick, but I think it would be nice if he did. It's also one less thing for me to worry about, right?

I'm also starting to think about the Do Not Play list. Off the top of my head, I've got:
The Macarena
The Electric Slide
The Chicken Dance
The Hustle
Love Shack
Grease Mega-mix
Theme from Friends
That's What Friends Are For
U Can't Touch This
Achy Breaky Heart
Gonna Make You Sweat
YMCA

What's really scary is that all of these songs were on Top Wedding Song Lists from various idiotic websites. What's on your Do Not Play list?

Thursday
May212009

Goodie Bag

I've got a lot of random stuff that I've been meaning to share, so I'll do a little catch-all here in order to get it all out!

I saw these in the Two's Company catalog and am smitten. Makes me wish I was having a beach wedding!

This is a board I created from a wedding featured in Veranda magazine (I subscribe). I didn't get it posted very quickly and then it was featured on Style Me Pretty, so there wasn't a real rush. My thoughts? Pretty. Gorgeous. Expensive.


Briar Press has tons of FREE down loadable "ornaments" like monograms, borders, birds and beasts, flowers and lots of others. These are just a few I like.

GORGEOUS etched champagne flutes from Anthropologie. These were only $12 each. I almost got them for our toasting flutes, but stopped myself. I might go back and get them though.

They also had the etched pattern in wine glasses. I love the merchandising here - how they've planted herbs in the glasses. Actually, chives in back and I'm pretty sure that's a strawberry plant on the left. I think this is a grand idea for table arrangements. Lovely.

These are on sale at Pottery Barn. They aren't for sale on their website though, in-store only. Cute for bridesmaids, but contemporary enough for groomsmen. There are lots of men out there who like scented candles!

I love these! It's felted soap from Anthropologie. The wool encases the soap and as you use it, the felt exfoliates your skin and the soap shrinks. When the soap is gone, you cut open the felt shell and replace your soap and re-use! Re-Use. Re-Cycle. Go green, if and where you can. Great BM gifts, at $14.00 each.

Last, but not least - I was perusing local letterpress companies and found this non-local company F2 Design from Lubbock, Texas. They have this awesome letterpress poster of Blues/R&B/Funk master Little Milton. Grits Ain't Grocery is a great song (The Candyman will be flabbergasted that I know it) with oddly romantic lyrics:

If I don't love you baby
Grits ain't grocery,
Eggs ain't poultry,
And Mona Lisa was a man

(Oh yeah! Let's get into it. Listen.)

All around the world, I'd rather be a fly
I'd light on my baby and stay with my woman till I die
With a toothpick in my hand I'd dig a ten foot ditch
And run all through the jungle fighting lions with a switch
Because you know I love you baby
Oh you know I love you baby yeah
Now if I don't love you baby I tell you

Grits ain't grocery,
Eggs ain't poultry,
And Mona Lisa was a man

(Oh baby. Uh! Listen.)

All around the world I've got blisters on my feet
I'm trying to find my baby and bring her home with me
You better run into me baby and be convinced
If you don't run it to me right now woman
You ain't got no sense
Because you know I love you baby
Oh you know I love you baby yeah
Well if I don't love you baby I tell you

Grits ain't grocery,
Eggs ain't poultry,
And Mona Lisa was a man

(C'mon y'all. Hit me. Oh baby. Listen.)

All around the world I never will forget
I lost all my money, my woman, and my pet
But I've got to have you baby and I will settle for nothing less
Give up all my good time baby and stay for happiness
Because you know I love you baby yeah
Oh you know I love you baby yeah
Well if I don't love you baby I tell you

Grits ain't grocery,
Eggs ain't poultry,
And Mona Lisa was a man

The very first dish I ever made The Candyman was yellow grits (none of that white crap) made with whole cream served with this salmon salad I make (grilled salmon, green onions, red bell pepper, lemon juice, olive oil - done). They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Mission accomplished! :)

Friday
May082009

ThurFriday with Photographers, Bloggers and The Candyman

Shhhhhhh...don't type so loud!

So the wine-tasting event held at Casa de Thirty-Something Bride and The Candyman went very well last night. Considering how last minute this little fete was, I think it was a rousing success!

Farm cheese, Camembert and grapes.

This little gathering was more than just wine tasting, it was a meeting of the Bridal Blogging Minds of Nashville.

*Note to self: we should start a club as such and call ourselves the BBMN's. I'm appointing myself Social Secretary.*

After some sporadic emails between myself, some other local bridal bloggers and my photographer, I realized very quickly that there were several of us who were all planning different meetings at different times. I figured, let's all get together in one spot at one time and drink some wine while we do it. I think everyone was "mission accomplished" by the end of the evening and I got great feedback on possible wedding wine selections!
The attendees were:
Me and The Candyman
Liza, from Maiden to Married
Ashley from Ashley's Bride Guide
Jonathon and Sharon Campbell from Jonathon Campbell Photography
Tabitha from Life* a la Mode

Sharon, Ashley and Jonathon

What I can't believe is that this little gathering lasted FIVE hours! If it wasn't a school-night, we could have lasted a lot longer, I think. Or not. My head is certainly not happy with me and I hear something greasy, cheesy and fried calling my name for lunch, that is for certain. I didn't take pictures until late in the evening, so didn't get as many action shots as I'd hoped for. Everyone took turns with JC's camera and he's promised me pics to post. He might be busy nursing his own ThurFriday headache right now! Hair of the dog, my friend. Do not discount it.

As I mentioned in my last post about the booze, there were 5 official contenders:
Puerto Viejo Chardonnay, Menage a Trois Chardonnay, Sacred Stone Red Blend, Montes Malbec, and Grao Vasco Dao. Tabitha brought over a bottle of Yard Dog white blend. I screwed up and served that last so I don't think it got a fair shake in the taste-test. Here are the results:
Ashely: Viejo as the Best White, Doa as the Best Red
JC: Viejo as the Best White, Montes as the Best Red (tied with the Dao)
Sharon:Viejo as the Best White, Montes as the Best Red
Liza: Viejo as the Best White, Montes as the Best Red (tied with the Dao)
Tabitha: Viejo as the Best White, Montes as the Best Red
T30SB: Viejo as the Best White, Montes as the Best Red
The Candyman: He drinks Sweet Tea, period.

The culprits. Don't blame ME, blame the WINE!

The clear white winner was the Viejo which would be $8.09 per bottle after The Wedding Discount. Not bad! I need to give Yard Dog another quick taste tonight to see if it needs more consideration. OF COURSE, the red that would win is the most expensive! The Dao was a close second and is super affordable, so I might give that a longer thought. The Malbec was such an easy drink though. Hmmm....

I've got to head out today for Comp Shopping (yes, I get paid to SHOP!), but I wanted to post this early to thank everyone for coming over last night for a wonderful ThurFriday event! We talked some shop, but mostly got to know one another a little better. It really was a good time for me and The Candyman and I hope everyone else had fun too. I would like to do it again soon. Thanks everyone for a wonderful gathering. Happy Weekend to All!