The Home Stretch {12 days left}

It's hard to believe that there are just 12 days left until my wedding day. They say that times flies by during this process, however I would like to specify that it speeds up once you hit your 3 month mark. Everything before that point felt organized, calm, and creative. I've hit a point where I simply just want to check everything off of my list so I can breathe easy and enjoy this time leading up to our big day. That being said, there are a number of loose ends that need to be addressed, and unexpected events that have happened.... for instance today I have to meet with my florist again because they completely missed the mark with what I asked for. Thank God I had the opportunity to do a final preview to make any last minute tweaks or changes! NOTE: ask for a preview of what your flowers will look like before hand! In retrospect I was much too trusting that they would understand my vision. I gave them multiple photos of what I wanted and they still messed up! Lesson learned- always get a preview of your linens and flowers.

To refresh your memory, this is the floral look I'm going for:

Photo Credits: LeftBottom right

Photo Credits: Top, Bottom

The one thing I'm very proud of is how I've taken care of my health and body leading up to this point. From the get-go I did not want to be one of those brides that crash-dieted or went to extremes to look "perfect" on their wedding day. As Vinnie and I have discussed, "fit is the new sexy." For the past 11 months I have eaten well (not restricted myself), have exercised consistently, and taken care of my skin. Now that my big day is just around the corner I feel fantastic (inside and out) knowing I gave it my all! Here's a little inspiration board of what I've done to get in great shape and stay that way... I keep it pretty simple: Bar Method, Spin Class and jogging my dogs :)

photo credits: Top, bottom left, bottom right

This week is going to be crazy busy for me because I plan on finishing everything there is to be done so next week can be enjoyable! I am ready for the celebration, but most of all I'm excited for our ceremony. It's going to be personal, romantic, sweet and sentimental... many happy tears I'm sure.

Looking forward to my last post next week as a "bride-to-be!" yippee!

xo, Taya


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

falling in love with {fall weddings}

Ok E&I brides, I am now just 47 days away from my wedding day- that's just 6 1/2 weeks away, people!  Here's what I've been up to lately:

  • The invitations have been sent out! They're gorgeous and I LOVE them :)
  • I had my first wedding dress fitting- if I wasn't nervous/excited before, well, I am now!
  • We met with the wedding singer (live Italian opera singer btw)
  • I had my GORGEOUS bridal shower in LA hosted by Vinnie's aunt Teri, Debbie, and Sally :)
  • Vinnie got fitted in his custom suite

There is still plenty to do, but as you can see these last couple weeks have been BUSY for us.

To give myself a little break from my own wedding planning I chose to blog about fall weddings in general. Living in LA we don't have the luxury of having a TRUE Autumn season... at least not like the beautiful foliage I enjoyed while living in Eugene, Oregon :)

Enjoy this fall wedding inspiration!

Photo Credits: Martha Stewart
Photo Credits: Martha Stewart
Photo Credits: Left, Top Right, Bottom Right
Photo Credit: Green Wedding Shoes
Thanks for reading everyone! Stay tuned for my next few posts.... I'll be cake tasting; taking you through Vinnie's custom suit fitting, and giving you some work out tips from a personal trainer at the Biggest Loser Ranch! ;-)
See you next Tuesday!

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! :)

style, comfort &/or color {bridal shoes}

In exactly 2 months from today I will be married... OMG! The next 60 days or so will be filled with bridal showers, last minute vendor meetings, and finalizing the details. One of those details is picking out what shoes I'm going to wear. Lately the trend has been to wear a pop of color. I once thought that I would go that route, but now I'm leaning toward something more traditional and elegant. Oh and here's something we rarely think about ladies.... COMFORT! Yes we want to look gorgeous from head to toe on our wedding day, but at what cost? I don't know about you, but I think I'm going to wear something feminine and elegant for the ceremony and photos, then opt for something more comfortable and stylish for the reception. Here's some of my inspiration:

TOMS, Miu Miu, Badgley Mischka Kate Spade & Stewart Wietzman

Badgley Mischka & BHLDN Steve Madden &  Jimmy Choo

What about you? Can you swing the 5 inch heels all night, or are you going to have a second pair of fancy flats to hit the dance floor with?

time to accessorize {2 month mark}

Whenever I find myself wondering where should I be in the planning process I refer to Brides magazine. In every issue they have a countdown, and so far it hasn't failed me. At the 2 month mark it suggests:

  • discuss ceremony readings and songs with officiant... check! We'll be doing that next week
  • Check your state's requirement for a marriage license... need to do this.
  • Mail the invitations.... they're arriving THIS WEEK! woohoo!
  • Do a hair and make-up trial.... need to schedule, and at least I know who I'm using ;-)
  • Order or make the favors... oye, this will be a task.... stay tuned for a future post on this one.
  • Accessorize your look!

The last bullet point is what I'm doing today- accessorize your look! Check out some of my inspiration!

A little clutch to hold gloss & other make-up:

Diamonds vs. crystals.... who can tell the difference? Either way, both of these chandelier earrings are fabulous:

Since I'm not wearing a statement necklace, I think a statement cuff will do.... especially one like this!

Belts and sashes are very in this season. Although I'm not wearing one, I really love these:

So brides-to-be.... how do you plan on accessorizing your look??

not wed yet {the bachelorette party}

I cannot believe my bachelorette party is this weekend!!! My maid of honor, Monica, has been planning for months to coordinate what she affectionately calls, "the best bachelorette party EVER." Here's what I know about the weekend: we rented a house with a swimming pool and outdoor bbq in beautiful Santa Barbara, we are going wine tasting; hiring a driver of course, and we are going out for a night of dinner, drinks and dancing on state street (I think). Regardless of what we end up doing, I know I'm going to have the time of my life because I'll be surrounded by over a dozen of my favorite girlfriends. This post is dedicated to what I'll be wearing this weekend. I already have both dresses picked out, but figured I'd throw some inspiration your way for those of you brides-to-be out there who still need to shop for your last "fling before the ring" attire. ;-)

Since we'll be spending one of the days out in the sun wine-tasting, it's important to have a casual, but fun and flirty sun dress. Here's some inspiration below.... BTW I found/bought that turquoise necklace online for only $40!! In person it looks like it is worth hundreds! What a find!

photo credits: left, top-right, bottom-right

And for the night we hit the town I envision myself in a white & sexy little number. FYI, I bought the BCBG dress on the left. LOVE it!

photo credits: left, middle, right

Here's some inspiration from my last bachelorette party fashion post:

And finally, here's a sneak peek at my party invitation (Monica knows me so well).... and a shot of me wearing the fabulous dress I recently bought- that one will be for the wine-tasting extravaganza. OOOOH, I'm so excited!!!!!

photo credits: invitation &  Taya's Dress

What do you have planned for your bachelorette weekend? Are you doing something local or traveling somewhere new? Would love to hear your fun stories!

{hiip} bridesmaids' gifts

August is half way over, which means I am getting that much closer to my wedding day! 2 1/2 months to go, people!! It feels good to look back and see how much I've accomplished during my many months of planning... and blogging.  And since the big ticket items are pretty much taken care of, it's now time to hammer out the details... not just make Pinterest boards about them ;-) I have 8 lovely bridesmaids, all of whom are very important women in my life. I want to show them my gratitude by giving them gifts that are unique, practical, sentimental, and have a handmade-loving touch. I imagine giving my maids a bag of some sort filled with goodies... perhaps even a piece of jewelry that they can wear that day.

As I was scouring the internet I noticed on facebook that many of my girlfriends back home in San Francisco were talking about how much they love their new "Hiip" bags. As I did some more research I discovered that these awesome bags were created by an old friend whom I went to high school with, Nicole Flowers. I went to her web site to see the bag styles and was pleasantly surprised to find that not only are these bags fashionably chic, they are also for a great cause!! Read more about the Hiip story and how Nicole is giving back to the community with every bag she sells. VISIT:

Here's what Nicole had to say about how Hiip bags can be a fun and resourceful gift for brides & their maids, " It's ideal because it's the perfect kit for your day of planning: you can stock it with bra tape, lipgloss/stick, bobby pins, even touch-up cream; wear it around (hands-free for all the bridal stuff you'll be carrying!) to various appointments; and then use it as a clutch for the party. With so many colors and patterns to choose from, there will definitely be one that fits with the color scheme of the wedding.  All this while giving back to another in need making it an automatic karmic bonus on your special day."

I can't wait to surprise my girls with one of these bags and fill it with goodies for getting ready on my big day.... I may even customize them by having their initials embroidered. It feels SO good to give a gift that keeps on giving :) Thank you Nicole, for the contribution that you are to the San Francisco community.... and beyond!

What are you giving to your maids on your wedding? Have any creative and thoughtful gift ideas? Please do share!

xo, Taya

::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!

making your mark {the guest book}

In just over 3 months our BIG day will finally be here! I was just thinking yesterday how amazing it's been to write for E&I every week. Blogging has definitely helped me stay on track with planning this monumental event and has kept me calm too. Like I've said recently, the big things on my list are taken care of.  Now I've moved on to the, the guest book. I have to admit, when it comes to the "gust book," I'm not really keen on tradition... i.e. Having an actually bound book that says "Guests" where people just sign their names- BORING! I'd like to do something more creative; something we will actually look at and admire in years to come. I got the idea today to blog about thumbprint family tree "guest books" because I recently saw a gorgeous one at the new home of our friends, Michael and Megan Conway. The family tree had every guest's thumbprint in the colors of their wedding, and the print was framed for them to hang in their homes as a memento. What an adorable idea!

Well, here's some inspiration:

 Source: Left & Right

There are so many great DIY ideas out there for creative guest books. Do you have any suggestions or perhaps any tips on how to take on this project?