cute & clever {escort cards}

Not gonna lie, people..... the bridal anxiety has set in. I'm trying my best not to freak out, but omg the big day is here in just 33 days! I'd like to have 95% of my work done 2 weeks before, which means I have 2 WEEKS to get my butt in gear! I have plenty of little things that need my attention. one of which is seating. Should I have a map/list of guests' names & tables with a name card at their seat, or should I make escort cards and have guests seat themselves at the table? Well, if I do escort cards I would like something cute and/or clever.... like any of these:

photo credit:

photo credit:

photo credit: left & right 

lavender escorts double as pretty table decor

These succulent escort cards double as party favors :)

Thank you Allison for emailing me some escort card inspiration and for the advice. You're totally right-  "You can do something simple and just add a tiny twist to make it kind of different. For example, an escort card with something that matches your wedding taped with a little piece of glitter tape." I think the simple route is the direction I'm headed ;)

What are your thoughts, brides-to-be? Anyone else only a month a way? Or perhaps you just had your big day? Any words of wisdom for me as I wuickly approach mine???

xo, Taya

DIY wedding favors

Now that I'm just 54 days away from saying "I DO" it's time to talk about favors! I have often thought to myself, "do I really need to do favors?" After-all, I can think of numerous weddings I've been to where I either didn't take the favor, or never used it. The thought of putting a ton of effort into making favors and being left with a majority of them bothers me. So.... what's a bride to do? Well, I did a little research by googling "wedding favors that people actually want." (Believe it or not, Google actually finished that sentence for me, so at least I know I'm not alone on this subject.) Here are some of the creative favor ideas I came across:

A wine stopper & a CD of the bride and groom's favorite love songs

DIY Rice Crispy Treat Favors! yummmmmm! Click the photo for the step-by-step TUTORIAL!

Homemade Limoncello!

candies in the color of your wedding. simple, but cute

Italian Wedding Bombonieres.... pretty sure Greeks do these too ;-)

 Photo credit: left & right

Are you a bride that plans on doing favors? If so, what ideas can you offer for those of us debating whether or not we should do them? Looking forward to reading your comments! :)

::invitation wording:: & a sneak preview

The most difficult task in planning a wedding was finding a venue. The second most difficult task (for me) was researching proper wedding invitation verbiage. Why was this so difficult you may ask? Well, who knew there were so many different ways to skin a cat! If you come from a divorced family (which 50% of us do these days) it changes the traditional format. Of course, there are no strict rules to this. If you're having a casual wedding you can write whatever you'd like. However, if you're having a more formal affair (which I am), then I think it's safe to safe people have expectations that the wording will reflect that. Here's one tid-bit I learned from my research: I learned that if your parents are divorced, their names should each go on their own line (mother's name first). If both sets of parents are contributing to the wedding you'd say "together with." I was surprised by how many questions came up for me while planning out my invites. Here are just a few:

  1. When do invitations go out to guests?
  2. When should the RSVP be due?
  3. If everyone is contributing to the wedding, how do we phrase that on the invitation?
  4. How much detailed info should be on the invite? Do we need an insert or should we just direct them to the website?
  5. Should we include an insert RSVP for the rehearsal dinner?
  6. How do we make the wording formal and important without sounding too stuffy?
  7. We haven't had our food tasting yet, but we need to get the invites out.... should we include meal (type) options? i.e. meat or fish?

Here are some sites I found useful for answering all of my questions and helped with guidelines in creating the ideal wedding invitation wording for us:

And now for a sneak peek at our wedding invites created by LIZELLY at LizzyBLoves, an invitation and stationary design studio.

We have not gone to print yet, so these are just PDF designs.... but you'll get the idea for what we're going for. And you'll get to see the wedding wording we came up with that made all of the moms happy ;-)

Looking forward to sharing the final product with you soon! Lizelly has been amazing in creating a custom wedding invitation that fits the vibe and theme of what we're going for. I can't wait to get them soon!!!

How was your invitation experience? Did you go the custom route? What challenges did you have (if any)? Please share!

linens {more than just tablecloths}

Last week I met with my wedding planner to visit a florist and a linen store. Thanks to my preparation and research on flowers, the meeting with the florist went very well!! He was thrilled to have a bride who knew what she wanted! I even brought my iPad to show him photos from my recent E&I posts  ;-) The visit to the linen store was.... overwhelming to say the least. In hindsight, I should have done more research on my vision for table settings to at least have an idea of what I wanted.  To be honest, I didn't even know what to expect from visiting a linen store. I seriously thought, "Linens? I don't care about linens. Just throw on a white table cloth and napkins and we should be good." After the fact, I still don't care that much about linens, but I do know what I want now... something simple and elegant.  I am blogging about this today so all of you brides out there can feel more at ease when you check this off your list.

Here are some things to consider before you shop:

  1. What color do you want the table cloths to be?
  2. Will the napkins match?
  3. Have you considered a table runner? If, so what pattern and/or texture?
  4. Do you want your linens to have texture or shine? i.e. satin, cotton, lace, embroidery, etc.
  5. What kind of chairs do you want? i.e. plain chairs covered in fabric with a bow, Chiavari chairs, folding chairs, etc.
  6. Have you thought about a sweetheart table, or do you want the entire bridal party to be at the same table? This can get complicated if you have 8 bridesmaids and 8 groomsmen like we do.
  7. If you have a dessert table and cake table, do you want the linens to match the other tables, or do you want them to stand out differently?
  8. What items do you want to place on the table to add a personal touch? i.e. vases, birdcages, picture frames, etc. (stuff besides flowers)
  9. Have you envisioned your cake table?

Here are some photos of tables, chairs, linens and decor to give you an idea of what to look for when collecting your inspiration:

Photo Credits: Green Wedding Shoes

Photo Credit: Style Me Pretty

As you can see, there's a lot to think about when it comes to linens. Are you a bride who has a passionate vision for your tables? Or, do you just let your planner run with it based on your colors and other inspiration. Please feel free to share your thoughts!

Two Shades of Grey {wedding party attire}

First off, with the help of my maid of honor, Monica, and bridesmaid, Anita, we found the perfect dress for my bridesmaids!!! Yippee! $160 from Nordstrom, and Tia, the salesperson took care of the entire process. She called all of the girls, followed up and made sure everyone ordered on time. THANK YOU, Tia!!! What a rock-star you are!

Over the weekend Vinnie and I met a group of friends for dinner (and a going away party). Anita, one of my bridesmaids was there, as well as 2 of Vinnie's groomsmen; Anita's husband, Trevin, and our friend Greg. I mentioned how excited we were to have found the perfect grey chiffon dress, and the look on all of the guys' faces dropped..... they said, "if you girls are wearing grey dresses, then what color are our suits going to be???!!! You can't have 2 different shades of grey; that will look bad!" This never crossed my mind. After all, I had always envisioned the girls in grey dresses; I hadn't given much thought to the groomsmen attire.

So here I am writing this post today. I decided to do a little research on how bad 2 shades of grey would look in a bridal party, since it's unlikely we'll find the same color grey suit to match the dresses.... and if they don't match, I'm not that stressed about it ;-) Look at all the beautiful wedding parties I found online who went with the same color palette as me! See guys, 2 shades of grey can work!

Here is the dress that inspired my entire vision for our wedding. I was so excited that I found the photographer's website to include more photos from this gorgeous wedding in Mexico. I love everything about this wedding- the simple decor, the color palette, the flowers... so elegant and timeless :) Click on the photo to see all of their wedding.

Source: Stephanie Williams Photography

Here are some more grey and yellow inspired weddings...

Source: Once Wed

Let's see how my bridesmaid dress matches up to this grey suit... pretty nicely, I think!

Source: Nordstrom & Modern Day Soiree

Let's match it up to one more grey suit just to be sure.... yeah, looks good to me ;-)

Source: Nordstrom & One Wed

When it comes to your wedding party's attire, how are you matching everyone up? Same exact colors, mixed-matched, complimentary colors? How did you and your fiance determine what everyone was going to wear? I'm excited to hear your thoughts and tips!

cute & crafty :: {cake toppers}

Now that many of the big tasks have been crossed off my list, it's time to address the details. One in particular that intrigues me is the cake topper.  Many modern brides opt to not include the cake topper on their wedding cake. I, however, would like to have one that's unique and a little vintage looking. Here are some images that inspired me:

Source: 1, 2, 3

Source: left, right


Source: 1, 2, 3

Source: left, right

Source: left, right

The vintage cake topper on the right was given to me as a gift by my future sister-in-law, Vanessa. I am absolutely in love with it and can't wait to see what it will look like on our wedding cake :) Did you read my past post on wedding cakes? If not, you can check it out here!

Are you planning on using a cake topper? If so, what's your style? Will you be making one yourself, buying something vintage, or perhaps looking for one on Etsy?

pretty & personal {signs}

Having gone to a lot of weddings in recent years, there is one thing that always sticks out to me... the personal details! And one of the most adorable and tasteful way you can get personal with your wedding is by using signs! I happen to like a more vintage/DIY look when it comes to pretty & personal signs. Check out some of my inspiration!

My favorites signs were hand crafted by my friend Jessica Haro at her gorgeous Sonoma wedding last year. (I've given her many a shout out on this blog, because, well, she's pretty fabulous at designing a wedding.) I loved walking up to the ceremony site and reading these heart-felt signs on the way... it made me feel so connected to how excited she and Mike were to say "I do!"

Here are some other sign ideas that I may use- with my yellow & grey mid-century motif, of course!

Source: The Loveliest Day

Source:  Rustic Wedding Chic & Design Sponge

Source: 1 & 2

Source: 1 & 2

Will you be adding signs to your wedding decor? If so, what's your style? What are you envisioning? Any tips on how to easily create something ala DIY? Please share!!

Oh, and a side note: as far as my planning goes, I got A LOT accomplished this weekend! DJ & officiant- CHECK!!!

See you next Tuesday :)

A Picture is worth 1,000 words :: {video is priceless}

It's funny how some things I thought were important to me in my planning are now not that important. For example:  when I first started planning my wedding I was sure that I wanted live music.... now I don't mind having a DJ. Vinnie and I have our growing playlist on a shared google doc and we're totally okay with having someone just pull songs from that. However, the more time has passed, the more photography has become my main focus, or concern, if you will. When it comes to budgeting, I'm willing to give a little on other things so we can have awesome photography and not have to compromise. But one thing has been added to this mix.... videography! Ever since I watched my friends Jess & Mike Haro's wedding video by Love Spun I have been SOLD on the fact that I must have quality wedding video.

Here are a couple beautiful photos from their wedding

But watch their video and you'll see why I am SO inspired to have something like this to call my own :)

Mike & Jess Haro {Viansa Winery} Sonoma from Lovespun ~ Handmade Films on Vimeo.

I also love the cinematography from Picotte Weddings. Here are a couple photos from a wedding they shot

And here is the video where it all comes to life!

Maria + Sheffer . Le Chateau, Saddlerock Ranch . Malibu, CA from Picotte Weddings on Vimeo.

From my research I have found that good wedding cinematography can range anywhere from $2,800 to $6,000+

For my budget I am planning on sticking to the lower amount, but I am having video regardless. What are your thoughts on having your wedding documented on video? I have heard from some of my bride friends who did not opt for video that they wish they would have done it. What are your planning for your big day? Do you have any recommendations for a great videographer in southern California.... or maybe someone who's willing to travel? If so, please share by posting a comment :)



Dapper Dude {your best man}


(typically of a man) Neat and trim in dress, appearance, or bearing.
When brainstorming what I should write about today it occurred to me that I haven't mentioned Vinnie's attire yet. He recently locked down his Bachelor Party, (which is in Austin, TX by the way) and it made me think to make a little inspiration board for what he may wear on our big day. As I've mentioned before, we are a pretty classic couple; we love Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and the style of the 1950s & 60s. When it comes to our wedding I imagine Vinnie in a suit, not anything casual. I LOVE suspenders, and he looks pretty dapper (ala Mad Men) in a skinny tie ;)
What kind of look is your future hubby going for? Tux, suit, casual wear? Please feel free to share your ideas and inspiration!

To Invite, Or Not To Invite {The Guest List}

Yep. I'm going to talk about it. And by "it" I mean the one thing that often causes tension and drama between families when planning a wedding. The guest list. Who makes the cut and who doesn't? If you haven't argued about this, then good for you... and please share your tips. If you have had arguments about this, or at least a tense convo with your mom about who is on her "must have" list of friends and co-workers, then let's talk about solutions.

At first I hesitated about writing about this topic. But thanks to the encouragement of my friend, Mrs. Jessica Haro, I felt compelled to write. After all, there could be many of you out there dealing with this right now! Originally, it felt a little taboo to speak about such a topic on such a light and happy blog. However, this is the reality of the situation: There are some people in your family and friend groups that just wont make the cut. Period. Not to mention inviting children and offering a +1 to your single guests. There many reasons why not all of the people you want to be at your wedding can be there. The main reason for me (and most) is the cost. We have a very conservative budget, and every person means more food, drinks, tables, table cloths, silverware, chairs, etc. etc. etc. And on the "plus 1" topic, I think it's great if one of my single friends is all of a sudden dating someone super special, and in that case they should bring a date. But if they're not seriously dating someone, then I am not offering a plus one. What are your thoughts on this?

Back in September when Vinnie first proposed, we joked about how big our wedding would be because he is Italian and I'm Greek/Irish. You've seen my Big Fat Greek Wedding right? Well there's a scene where the parents of the bride say, "we're just having the family over for dinner." Then over 100 people show up! Well, at our engagement party we had 50 friends and family over for a casual bbq/brunch. We joked about how if that was any hint as to what the head count for our wedding we may be, then we're in trouble.

Well, the time has come to confirm the final list (we are 10 months out) and I'm happy to say it hasn't been as bad as I anticipated. Both of our parents have been very cooperative. And thanks to some fantastic resources online, and friends' advice the process has been fight-free (knock on wood). Here are some guidelines that helped me from

Simple Wedding Guest List Steps Recapped:

  • Determine how large or small you want your wedding to be

  • Determine how many wedding guests you really can afford by estimating the wedding costs and the "per guest" expenses like catering

  • Determine how many guests your wedding ceremony and reception locations can hold

  • Compile the "Big" list of all of the guests that you would like to invite to your wedding

  • Edit the "Big" wedding guest list down to meet the established budget and capacity limits - This will be List "A"

  • Create a "B' list  of wedding guests that you would like to invite but could not

  • Send wedding invitations to the "A" list of wedding guests

  • As "A"  list RSVPs come in you will be able to determine how many guests from the "B" list you can invite

Or you can follow this formula :)

What I also have to be prepared for are guests who RSVP with a plus one when it's not offered. If that ends up happening I plan on just being upfront and honest about our headcount. These are our friends and family and I expect that they'll understand. I have heard funny and uncomfortable stories from brides that had guests bring a date and multiple children without asking! Does anyone have a story they'd like to share and how they handled the situation?

Now let's talk about something a little more light :)  Because this fabulous blog is photo inspired, I will leave you with some place card inspiration! If you haven't noticed yet, I'm a little non-traditional; I love finding unique personal touches.

photo credit Style Me Pretty
Photo Credit Style Me Pretty

The inspiration below reminds me of the color palette of my venue, The Hotel Maya. I'm loving the mosaic tiles with guests' names. And the clementines would be a super easy and cute DIY project!

Photo Credit Style Me Pretty

And of course, I had to throw in some succulent inspiration. Notice how the grey and yellow keeps popping up.... I think I may have found my favorite color inspiration.

 Thanks for reading! If you have a funny story about your guest list experience, please share by leaving a comment! See you next Tuesday!