The Great Invitation Debate

The time is here for RZ & I to choose our wedding invitations!!

I have been looking forward to this moment since we got engaged. At Koru, one of my very favorite things is helping couples with their wedding invitations. Naturally, it will be all the more fun & enjoyable to choose & design our wedding invitations.

Well, the choosing may not be as easy as I thought. I'm pretty torn. Do we go with a classic invitation with a modern twist, much like the Monique Lhuillier wedding invitation shown above? Or do we get a bit more creative & design something more stylish & unique, much like second wedding invitation above by Marsupial Invitations? I have my eye on two wedding invitations that both match the style & formality of our wedding, yet they are very different wedding invitations.

RZ is coming to Koru later today to help me with the great invitation debate. Who knows- maybe there is a third option that I haven't considered!


Dress Envy

Beautiful wedding gown by Lea Ann Belter

Sassy wedding gown by Sarah Seven

Romantic wedding gown by Elizabeth Dye
All above dresses available at Lovely Bridal Shop

When a wedding planning client buys their wedding gown, I tell them to stop looking. Don't visit one more bridal salon. Skip over the wedding dress ads in wedding magazines. Forget looking at wedding gown designers' web sites. Stop, stop, stop the madness now!

I have been trying to take my own advice in the wedding planning process but this wedding gown business has proved difficult. I bought my wedding gown earlier this month & I thought, "Thank God, I can stop looking at wedding gowns!" While there may be more beautiful, romantic wedding gowns, I knew with 100% certainty that I found the perfect dress for me. I have been in the wedding industry for ten years & it would be easy to revert to looking at wedding gowns with an eye for others' weddings, not my own. Sure enough, no problem. Now my addiction to the popular tv show, "Say Yes To The Dress", is another story.

Unlike most wedding magazines & blogs, "Say Yes To The Dress" is all about wedding gowns. There is no way to avoid the issue. There is no way I could stop watching the show either. So I watched the first show with a wary eye, hoping that a fantabulous wedding gown wouldn't tempt me or make me question my wedding gown choice. Nothing. Then I watched another show, feeling a bit more confident. Nothing. And you know what? Instead of the nightmare scenario that I might fall in love with another wedding gown, I fell more & more in love with my wedding gown.

No dress envy here. Just 100% satisfaction that I made the right choice!


Crafty Thanks

Creation One

Creation Two

Creation Three

Creation Four
My favorite- the last one!

How I wish I had enough time & creativity to make all the Thank You cards for our engagement party! Maybe, just maybe, I'll go that route for my bridal shower (time will tell!). Most of our engagement party thank you notes were written on my personal stationery. I could never let a prime opportunity to craft pass me by so I did handcraft a few, special thank you notes.

For the most part, I had the craft supplies on hand & I simply emptied my craft armoire of its contents. I had the paper stock from my bridesmaid cards, the ribbon from my Valentine cards, the swirl paper punches from Koru Wedding Shoppe (Koru's logo is a swirl) & the silver pen from various projects. I felt like I needed a bit more so I bought glitter paper & flower/heart decorations from the scrapbook aisle of Target. Once all of fun supplies were scattered on the dining room table, I settled in to make my four creations.

I had only two ideas in mind: I wanted to use the swirls on every card & I wanted every card to be unique. I punched three large swirls & one small swirl from the glitter paper for each card. One creation at a time, I arranged the large swirls in fun ways & I added different embellishments. Every card had a small swirl tucked into the bottom right corner of the inside- just a cute, extra touch! I was happiest with my last creation & I ended up wishing I'd used that design for all of the cards.

Who are the lucky recipients' of my handmade thank you notes? The fabulous hosts of our engagement party, my Mom & my sister who put a lot of time & effort into making the party a HUGE success. My brother-in-law was included on my sister's thank you note because he put a lot of hard work into the party as well. RZ's parents were also instrumental in making the party so wonderful because they made delicious food for all of our guests to enjoy. And finally, my Grandma who flew from California to join us in the celebration of our engagement party.

Thank you, thank you- we love you!


{puppy love} Bastard Bailey

Bailey models his new t-shirt


Clearly, Bailey's idea of modeling is lounging on the couch.
No amount of treats & persuasion could convince him otherwise.

(but not for long)

Among all the generous presents we received for our engagement party, Bailey's bastard t-shirt stands out as the most original & fun gift. RZ's cousin Randy & his girlfriend Annemarie got this adorable t-shirt for Bailey. His t-shirt says "Bastard (but not for long)" with our names & wedding date. It's impossibly cute, just like Bailey. We LOVE it!

You may notice that Bailey's t-shirt is a bit small for this big boy. About one month passed from the time we found Bailey on Petfinder to the day he arrived on P.E.T.S. (aka Last Chance Highway) to stay with us forever. In that month's time, RZ & I happily told everyone & anyone that we were adopting a beagle, including Randy & Annemarie. While this t-shirt would easily fit a standard beagle, Bailey is no average beagle. He came to us bigger & better than we could have imagined!

Bailey may not be sporting his t-shirt to the dog park anytime soon but we love his new t-shirt all the same. Thank you Randy & Annemarie!!!



Lots & lots of lovely gifts

We're all smiles as we open our engagement gifts

My personal stationery from Dreamland Designs

Blank notes waiting to be filled!

Written, addressed, stamped & ready to go!

What comes in the aftermath of an engagement party? Heartwarming memories. Cool gifts. Thank you notes. Seriously, we had some work cut out for us with the thank you notes we needed to write to our engagement party guests.

With our upcoming wedding & my impending name change on the horizon, I have my adorable "Kate Sullivan" stationery that I need to use before it no longer applies to me. I bought my personal stationery years ago from the talented Gina of Dreamland Designs & I love it. Gina hand-lettered my name & hand-colored a shamrock for the sweetest look. I don't want it to go to waste. I added "& RZ" to each card & viola- the stationery is perfect for our engagement party!

Here comes the fun part: I had to write every thank you. Why didn't RZ write some? Well, he conveniently has awful handwriting. Often, I have to ask him to translate the cards he writes to me. Our guests were kind enough to come to our engagement party & bestow us with gifts & they deserved legible thank you notes. I spent many, many nights writing thank you notes until my hand cramped. Of course, it was well worth it. A little thank you note doesn't seem like enough to properly thank our generous family & friends!!

I dismissed the traditional "Love" stamps & I bought the "Adopt A Shelter Pet" stamp for our thank you notes. This is something that is near & dear to our hearts, especially since our adoption of a rescue dog, Bailey. The stamps are meant to bring public awareness about shelter pets & encourage adopting from a shelter. If we can say thanks & help an animal, then job well done :-)


Our First Registry Gift

Our very first gift from our wedding registry arrives

And I'm not allowed to open it!


I often say delivery days at Koru Wedding Shoppe are like birthdays. I adore receiving packages of invitation orders or retail items. So you can imagine my total delight when a package arrived at Koru addressed to me personally a few months ago. For me!!! I could hardly wait to rip away the packaging & enjoy the gift.

Then reality set in. The Crate & Barrel box clearly meant this was a gift from our wedding registry. Our first! It wasn't a gift for me; it was a gift for us. Therefore, I had to wait & open it with RZ. My bubble was temporarily burst. I lugged it home & eagerly waited for RZ to arrive so we could open this baby. As soon as our condo door opened, I grabbed him by the hand & dragged him over to the gift so we could open it immediately. RZ took one look at the packaging & declared that it was an engagement gift & we needed to wait until our engagement party to enjoy it. What??!! Now my bubble was really burst.

Seriously, RZ refused to let me open the gift. I removed the outer packaging so we could let the gift-giver know the gift was received. The gift was from a dear family friend, Rosellen, wishing us a happy engagement. Day after day, the gift sat in our dining room & taunted the fact that I couldn't open it.

Finally, finally, the day of our engagement party came & I was able to open our very first engagement present from our wedding registry.
I eagerly tore into the package & I was thrilled to find the Cambridge Baker with Rack, the sure way to cook & serve in style. It was worth the endless wait. Thank you, thank you!


Our Greetings from Hoboken, Part Two

The front & back of our save-the-date invitations

A blurry close-up of our save-the-date wording
(my sincere apologies for my poor camera skills!)

Way back when, I promised to show you the flip side of our save-the-date invitations. Did you think I'd forgotten?! Of course not. Today is the day!

I'm a huge fan of short & sweet & our save-the-date invitations were no exception. I felt it was important to convey a few, key details to our wedding guests: our wedding date, our wedding web site & our names. From those basic details, our wedding guests are armed with any & all information they need. I kept the look clean, yet fun, with two fonts in black ink. To add a little spice, I penned the phrase "We would be honored to have the pleasure of your company when we're declared husband & wife."

We couldn't have been happier with our save-the-date invitations. They're simple, cute & informative- what a winning combo, if I do say so myself.

Now we're setting our sights on our wedding invitations . . . wow!


An Affair To Remember

Our engagement party in full swing

The engagement party loot
Lots of thank you notes to write!

The party crowd gathers for the champagne toast

More champagne toast gathering

The happy & blessed Bride & Groom-to-be!
(I'm sporting my new dress)

The first Saturday in July was a picture-perfect summer day with sunny skies & warm breezes. At my childhood home, our family & friends gathered to celebrate our engagement under the grand oak trees. It was the day of our long-awaited engagement party!

Our engagement party was absolutely wonderful; we couldn't have asked for a better party. Everything was beautifully decorated in a hot orange & bright pink color scheme, accented by summer flowers everywhere. The atmosphere was casual & relaxed so people were free to mix & mingle throughout the backyard. We were able to eat, drink & be merry all day long!! We had amazing people, delicious food & plentiful laughter. We couldn't ask for more!

Before dessert, everyone gathered for a champagne toast. Now mind you, no ordinary champagne toast: my absolute favorite, Wilson Creek Almond Champagne toast. It's the little details that count. My Mom, my Uncle & RZ's Dad gave short, sweet speeches. RZ & I stood side-by-side, surrounded by our loved ones, & listened to the sentimental speeches. Cheers! We were overwhelmed by the love! It was my favorite part of the day & I wished it could last longer. The entire day was filled with love for us, celebration of our engagement & hope for our future.

Our engagement party would not have been possible without the careful planning & hard work by our hosts, my Mom & my sister, & my brother-in-law. The day would not have been as special without our family & friends. Thank you, thank you to all!!!

We will forever remember the special day of our engagement party!!!


Six Months & Counting . . .

Joyful Image from Might & Main

Our wedding day is six months from today!

In six months, I will be walking down the aisle to marry my best friend & love. Our wedding day will mark the official start of our family. We will be surrounded by our beloved family & treasured friends. We will eat, drink & be merry in honor of our marriage. The mere thought of what will be happening six months from today overflows my heart with love & happiness.

I am so happy today; I can only imagine how happy I will be six months from today!


Dress Nightmares

Kayla dress by Thread
At $480, there's no way.

Edie Dress by Thread
Again, $480. If my Bridemaids won the lottery.

Is there one item on your wedding to-do list that you dread? For me, it's choosing a bridesmaid dress. I have absolutely no patience for this task. It could be that for a brief time in my wedding career, I sold bridesmaid dresses &, well, let's just say it wasn't my favorite thing. I would rather scrub a dirty bathroom from top to bottom. From the day I got engaged, I wearily eyed the "Choose & Order Bridesmaid Dresses" task on our wedding timeline with a heavy feeling in my heart.

I. Don't. Want. To.

Time hasn't done much to change my mind. I have looked at bridesmaid dresses online & I've found several that I love . . . for $400 or more. Seriously. I've found a few I kinda like for $200. Even at that price, I want to love the dress if I'm asking my bridesmaids to shell out the money. Now the thought of going to a bridesmaid dress store, even my favorite Bella Bridesmaid, just doesn't sound fun. So I keep searching online with the same results. It's an endless circle & I grow more & more frustrated.

I have coordinated & attended several lovely weddings where the Bride had each bridesmaid wear a black dress of their own choosing. Everyone looks great & comfortable. Less fuss, less stress. The thing is I don't like black that much. I wear & decorate with little to no black. Black is not me. When I suggest to my family & friends that I may let the bridesmaids choose a black dress, they look at me with horror, knowing my strained relationship to black. Honestly, I'm at the point where I just don't care.

So what are my ideal requirements for a bridesmaid dress? Classic. Long. Affordable. Chocolate brown, champagne or dark purple. Any suggestions??!!


Pretty in Pink, Part Two

Pretty in Pink escort card & menu

Pretty in Pink design close-up

Above items were designed to perfectly coordinate
with the Pretty in Pink pocket invitation

The design started here with the wedding invitation

I experience a short mourning period when my Brides & Grooms get married. Whether I was assisting them with invitations or helping them with planning, I miss their phone calls, emails & visits. Such is the case with the Pretty in Pink couple. I started designing their wedding invitation with them in November & throughout the next few months, we worked on escort cards, menus & a Soon-to-Be Mrs. hoodie together. Then they got married in late June & they happily entered newlywed territory. Sigh.

But let's concentrate on the positive here. Don't you love the escort cards & menus designed to match their wedding invitations? I adore it when a Bride & Groom carry through a design in all of their wedding stationery. The shimmer paper, pink design & chocolate fonts were a constant from the wedding invitation to the escort card to the menu. Simply beautiful!

Lunch with a View

I can't get enough of the NYC views!

My Mom poses after a fun day at the Hyatt

More NYC views.
I told you I can't get enough!

In all my excitement to tell you about finding my wedding gown, I forgot to mention the fun day in between the florist meeting & the dress appointment. On that day, I brought my Mom to see our wedding reception venue, Hyatt Regency Jersey City. We had a fabulous time!

We started the day with lunch at the Vu Restaurant in the Hyatt. The restaurant overlooks the Hudson River & the Manhattan skyline, much like the hotel ballroom where our reception will be held. My Mom & I snagged the best seats in the house & we had a tough time tearing our eyes away from the panoramic NYC view. Alas, we managed to concentrate on the great menu & order lunch. My Mom had a Cesar salad & Angus sliders while I had an iceburg lettuce salad & a lump crabcake burger. Delicious!!

Lunch was followed by a short tour of our reception locations. We saw the Manhattan Ballroom Foyer where our wedding guests will enjoy cocktails & hors d'oeuvres. Then we saw the Manhattan Ballroom where our wedding guests will eat, drink & be merry. The rooms were empty; the skyline views still shined. I couldn't help but think how incredible the spaces will be decorated with flowers & filled with our family & friends.

The tour reminded me how incredibly happy I am that we chose the Hyatt for our wedding reception! From the views to the food, everything is top notch. It was a special treat to have the opportunity to share everything with my Mom. Next time, it will be our wedding reception!!

A HUGE thanks to our fabulous catering manager, Tanya, who made this entire day with my Mom possible!


Yes to the Lovely Dress!!

I'm at Lovely Bridal Shop to get my wedding gown!

There are sweet touches everywhere you look,
including this Lovely banner on the second floor landing

The lovely first floor at Lovely Bridal Shop

Every Bride has a unique story when it comes to finding their wedding gown. Many told me they tried on the first gown & purchased it. Some mentioned long & hard searches including several bridal salons & hundreds of dresses before they found their wedding gown. Others fall somewhere in between those two extremes.

Here is my story.

I was (somewhat) patiently waiting for my Mom to visit from California before I started looking for my wedding gown when I came across a new bridal shop opening in the West Village of New York City called Lovely Bridal Shop. Lovely is striving to do something different: offer romantic dresses, reasonable prices, sweet atmosphere & a lovely experience. I started following Lovely's blog & researching their designers, becoming more & more excited to shop for my wedding gown.

I lost any & all patience to wait for my Mom when Lovely hosted an Elizabeth Dye trunk show, a designer I liked. On the beautiful spring day of my appointment, RZ & I headed into the city together & he dropped me off at the doorstep of the renovated brownstone that is Lovely Bridal Shop. I was semi-nervous that the hype may be greater than the reality but as soon as I walked through the door, all my fears fell away. I breathed in the calm atmosphere & took in the gorgeous decor which is beyond beautiful. And those racks of gorgeous weddings gowns- incredible!

For the next 45 minutes, I had a ball playing dress up as a Bride. In some ways, after so many years as a wedding planner, I could hardly believe I was the Bride in the mirror! I told the owner Lanie about my wedding, my style & my budget & she pulled several dresses for me. She was great about styling the dresses with ribbon sashes, brooches & flower pins when appropriate. All of the gowns were stunning; a few were definite contenders. I was drawn to two gowns the most & I decided my Mom could help me decide when she came with me.

Fast forward to a beautiful summer day one month later. My Mom & I returned to Lovely for the final selection. The plan was to show her my favorite dresses & maybe try on a few more gowns to give her the Lovely shopping experience that I had adored so much the first time. This time, we were helped by the kind Victoria who pulled the two dresses I liked & my Mom found three dresses for me to try on. My Mom sat back & relaxed downstairs while I came down to model each dress for her. We had fun playing with accessories like veils & headpieces to complete each look. I nixed Dress #1 because I didn't like the long version & I pretty much thought Dress #2 was the winner. Dress #3 & Dress #4 were fabulous, just not winners for me. Then I tried on Dress #5 & I fell in love instantly. Romantic. Simple. Me. This wedding gown was everything I had wanted & more- it blew me away.

I bought the last dress I tried on at Lovely Bridal Shop. That is my story of finding my wedding gown.


Flower Time

FUN research on wedding flowers!
A selected few books from my wedding library

I found the most inspiration for flowers from this book

Anything that caught my eye was tagged for future reference

While my Mom was visiting from California, I made plans for us to tackle fun, wedding-related tasks. Our first task was meeting with our florist, Liz of Elizabeth Koleto Designs. I have known Liz for many years & while she has a regular 9 to 5 job, she is a florist too. She did a beautiful, amazing job for our three friends' weddings & when she offered to put on her florist cap for the wedding, I was sold. I know many talented florists but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to work with a friend.

In preparation for our initial meeting, I went through my wedding magazines & books for inspiration. Let me tell you, this is no small feat. I have dozens of books & hundreds of magazines! I tagged everything I liked with my wedding post-its (unfortunately, a discontinued item) & I started to realize I was drawn to different variations of one look that fit well with my modern winter white theme. Working with that look, I created ideas for the personals, ceremony, cocktail & reception florals. However, I knew it was simply a starting point & Liz would be key in truly defining the florals.

My Mom & I had a wonderful time meeting with Liz & delving into the creative side of the wedding. Liz asked the key wedding questions about the bridal party, the venues & the theme. Then she patiently looked through all of my photos to get an idea of what I was thinking for flowers. As I expected, Liz had great comments & ideas that I never would have thought of on my own. Flowers are her passion!

I left the meeting with complete confidence that the wedding flowers are going to be beautiful thanks to Liz. We came up with some definitive ideas & left some things open-ended to decide in the future. I hadn't bought my wedding gown yet (now DONE- read about it tomorrow) or bridesmaids dresses yet. As we get more things done, it will be easier to finalize the details.

Our next steps are seeing a sample centerpiece, talking budget & nailing down the exact details. I look forward to Liz helping me with every step & I will share all of it with you here. I count myself very lucky to be working with a fabulous florist who is also a friend!


{puppy love} Beagle Bailey

Bailey LOVES the dog park

Could his face be any sweeter?!
I doubt it.

Bailey is such a handsome guy

Bailey is a city dog now!

Allow me to introduce you to the newest, cutest member of our family: Bailey, our beagle.

The past two weeks have been full of exciting things but the arrival of Bailey was by far the biggest & best thing. In late May, we found Bailey on Petfinder where he was up for adoption through a wonderful animal rescue organization, All About Labs. The more we learned about Bailey & the more photos we saw of Bailey, we knew we had found our new furry friend. Bailey traveled to us from his amazing foster family in Arkansas on P.E.T.S., a fabulous company that makes animal rescue road trips every weekend. He arrived on June 26 & we happily welcomed him into our lives & hearts.

Since Gucci & Kaydee left us earlier this year, we had a big void in our lives. We didn't want to replace Gucci & Kaydee but we wanted to fill the void. I hoped we weren't putting too much pressure on Bailey to fill this vast void; I didn't have to worry. Bailey jumped right into our lives with his sweetness, cuteness, playfulness & stubbornness to fill the void & make us forget it existed. We are so thankful for days filled with sloppy dog kisses, dog park trips, long belly rubs & games of fetch. Bailey is a total delight!

People say Bailey is lucky to have found us; we are lucky to have found Bailey.

P.S. If anyone is looking for a new forever friend, please rescue!!!!

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