Rock Paper Sweet

A collection of imaginative wedding ideas & stylish everyday living, from the rings to the favors to the 'happily ever afters.'

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Invitation Maps

I absolutely love hand drawn invitation maps!  They are just so pretty and add so much character to the invitation suite.  The maps can really add to the feel of the wedding, depending on how they are drawn.  One of the most popular ways to go about including a map in your invitation suite is to have a calligrapher illustrate the map and have it letterpressed.  The maps are helpful for the out-of-town guests who may be unfamilliar with the town in which the wedding takes place.  A map can not only help them find their way around, but it can also highlight some of the interesting or famous landmarks in your town that you think they would enjoy seeing during their visit.  Here are a few samples of just how pretty and creative these maps can be.  Don't you just love them?!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ways You Can Save Money On Wedding Flowers

Getting a little bit creative can save you major bucks when planning your wedding.  For my wedding earlier this summer, I decided to do almost all the flowers myself.  I flipped through magazines and browsed wedding photos online to get an idea of what types of arrangements and bouquets I liked and didn't like.  Well, what I realized is that I am not a fan of the typical bridal bouquets and the fru-fru table centerpieces you often times see at weddings.  I decided I was going to do something that was more natural - and, as a bonus, it was a LOT cheaper than going through a florist (no offense to any of you florists out there!).  My thought was this: WHY spend so much money on an arrangement of cut flowers that are going to wilt away and die within a few days?  I love having potted plants in my house, so why not use this idea for my wedding flowers? 

I browsed nursery after nursery to find exactly what my husband and I were looking for: white flowers and lots of greenery.  We were hoping for a fresh, clean, natural feel with the flowers, and we got it just right!  The cost of potted plants is significantly cheaper than fresh cut flowers (even if you do go through a wholesale florist), and you get to enjoy them for so much longer.  For instance, I adore orchids, so I used a white orchid plant on half of the tables in our reception venue.  Orchids are so elegant and classic that they stand alone - you don't need to do anything else to make them any more beautiful (they are also relatively low maintenance).  It was a simple arrangement that I bought from - believe it or not - a grocery store for $9/each.  They were blooming brilliantly at our wedding reception, and now (two months later), my husband and I, along with my mom and several of my aunts, enjoy having the orchids sit on our kitchen tables - still as beautiful as ever.  It is so special to my husband and I that we are still able to have this very flower from our wedding reception in full bloom today!

For the rest of the flowers at the reception, we re-used flowers from the rehearsal dinner the night before.  My aunt and uncle hosted the most beautiful and elegant rehearsal dinner for us in their backyard, and they had made lovely arrangements of all-white flowers and greenery.  Some of the flowers they purchased from a florist, but many of them were picked from the garden.  They had hydrangeas (my favorite), roses and baby's breath.  They made smaller arrangements in silver bud vases, so nobody would have ever realized they were the same flowers at the wedding!  My aunt sent me the flowers the next morning, and with the help of my mom and my maid of honor, we quickly (and easily) redid the arrangements in larger vases and added sticks that were spray painted silver into the mix. 

Rehearsal Dinner


For flowers for the ceremony, I enlisted the help of several family friends.  One helped make pin-on corsages for my and my husband's mother and grandmothers.  I had bought eucalyptus stems and white carnations to use.  We took a eucalyptus stem, tore off the leaves near the bottom, and used hat as our base.  We then took two carnations (preferably ones that had not fully bloomed yet) and placed them over the eucalyptus stem at different heights.  We then wrapped green florist tape around the stems and trimmed them to the length we wanted.  And...viola!  We had beautiful corsages.  We made them Thursday evening (wedding was Saturday evening), so we placed them in half-closed Ziplock bags - so the flowers could breathe - and placed them in the refrigerator.

I had a florist make the boutioneers for the men because we needed a lot and I didn't have enough time to do all of them. Be sure to check around for prices, because you should be able to find someone to make boutioneers for pretty cheap.  I had called around to different florists and found someone who could do them for $5/each.  I had her make them all the same, then I personally added a sprig of pink berries (that were in my bridesmaid's bouquets) and a silver flourish to my groom's boutioneer so that it would stand out from the rest.

I bought two dozen white roses, two dozen white spray roses and a couple stems of pink berries.  I bout these all in the florist section of the grocery store.  They were fresh and beautiful, and relatively inexpensive.  My maid of honor and I assembled the bouquets for the three bridesmaids and seven flower girls with these flowers.  We gathered together eight white roses and peeled off the excess greenery.  We inserted a couple springs of berries into the bunch and wrapped it tightly with floral tape.  These were the bouquets for the bridesmaids - easy as that!  We did the same for the flower girls, only we used the smaller spray roses and omitted the berries.  It was so simple that my maid of honor and I did all of these bouquets on the morning of the wedding.

Bridesmaid bouquet

Flower girl's bouquets (all together in a vase)

Bridesmaids bouquets

For my bouquet, I gathered together some of the larger flowers that were used at the rehearsal dinner and add some of the white roses and eucalyptus stems to them.  I then inserted the silver sticks and a pearl sprig into the bouquet.  I wrapped it tightly with florist tape and inserted pins into the stems to hold it together.  It was meaningful to have a bouquet of (some) hand picked flowers and flowers that were also a part of the rehearsal dinner.  It was fun to make my own bouquet, but I have to admit I was a bit nervous about finding the perfect flowers and putting it all together on the morning of our wedding!

On the altar, I placed big, potted peace lillies into large brown urns that I had borrowed from a neighbor.  The peace lillies (found at a nursery for $20each) were the perfect combination of crisp, white flowers and ample greenery.  They were perfect for the ceremony, and now they are being enjoyed as houseplant in my parent's home.  The urns gave the plants some extra height so that they looked appropriate in the big church.  We also used ferns and small white potted flowers (all found at nurseries for just a few dollars each) to fill-in the empty spaces.  

The great thing about using potted plants instead of fresh cut flowers is that not only are they incredibly cheaper, but they can be enjoyed for much longer.  With the proper care, these plants can last for months!  When you need to use fresh cut flowers, try doing the arrangements yourself.  You will save a bundle of money!  Don't be afraid of trying - it's not all that hard to do because the flowers are already so pretty.  Good luck!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bridal Beauty Tips

Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day.  With all the planning to do and parties thrown in your honor, it's hard to find time to stick to a regular workout routine (unless you're Wonder Woman).  And, let's just face it: of course you are going to indulge in the delicious desserts and champagne punch at your engagement party...and your bridal shower...and your bachelorette party...and your bridesmaid's luncheon...and your rehearsal dinner...and, well, you get the point.  So, here are a few easy tips to help keep you on the right track as you prepare for your "I Dos." 

1.  Drink plenty of water.  Drinking enough H2O is essential to a healthy body and a healthy complexion.  Water will flush out toxins in your body, assist in shedding a few pounds and leave your complexion clear and bright.  Try swapping out your Diet Coke with sparkling water, or slice up some fruit and toss it in your water for extra flavor.  Lime, orange, mint and cucumber are all refreshingly good choices.  Carry a bottle of water around with you wherever you go (in your car, at your desk...) and you will find yourself falling into the habit of drinking more.  Your body and your skin will thank you.

Photo Credit: Lauren Conrad

2.  Get enough sleep.  Brides-To-Be are super busy and often times under stress.  Make sure you get enough rest each night to help fuel you throughout the next day.  Your attitude will improve and your complexion will glow if you aim to get 8 hours of rest every night.  I know it is difficult, I've been there.  It seems that as the wedding gets closer, the days get shorter and the To Do List gets longer - but you cannot compromise your sleep.  If you have to, set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it.  Remember, it's okay if your don't cross off every single task on your To Do List today - your planning will be more effective and creative if you sleep on it and start with a fresh outlook tomorrow.

Photo: Breakfast at Tiffany's

3.  Delegate.  Divide up the tasks that need to be completed and assign them to people.  This simple act can relieve you of stress, enabling you to relax and get some rest!  Your bridesmaids are always there to help you out, along with your mom, your aunts, cousins, friends, etc...  People are almost always flattered to be asked by the bride to help out with a wedding task.  The people around you are so excited about your upcoming wedding, and it makes them feel special to be asked to help out.  It took me a little while to realize this, but once I did, my life was so much easier!  Even the most unexpected people can be a huge help - for instance, my 14 year old little brother helped me paint wooden picture frames white for our reception decorations, and my other brothers and cousins were more than willing to run errands for me, such as picking up linens and flowers.  Don't be afraid to ask for help - it will keep you calm and focused, relieving a lot of unnecessary stress.  A happy bride is a beautiful bride!

4.  Get some exercise and make healthy choices.  A lot of brides want to tone up before their wedding day so they can look their best.  Try making healthy choices when preparing meals, but avoid going on a super strict diet or extreme workout program before your wedding.  In all reality, doing so will leave you frazzled because, honestly, you won't really have time for that.  Stick to lean meats, lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains and water.  When you eat healthy, you feel more energized, therefore allowing you to work more efficiently at conquering that wedding To Do List. 

Fit in exercise when you can.  When we were planning our wedding, my fiance gave me some great advice regarding exercise.  He was an athlete in college, and he told me about a program his team used when they couldn't get to a gym every day: he called it "The 300."  You start by doing some cardio (you could go for a walk, jog, hike, bike ride, swim, whatever you choose) and then you proceed to do 100 push ups, 100 sit ups and 100 lunges.  The best part?  You don't have to do it all at once.  Whenever you have a few extra minutes, you can do some of your reps.  Keep a tally throughout the day and try to accomplish your 300. This is a great way to fit a solid workout into your already hectic schedule. 

Photo Credit: WebMd

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ruffles & Romance: Elements of a Southern Wedding

Southern weddings are typically filled with tradition, romance and a bit of whimsy.  A southern bride loves to incorporate into the wedding style 1) her and her fiance's personality and sense of style, 2) meaningful tidbits of her and her fiance's relationship, and 3) traditions used by her mother and grandmothers at their weddings.  Southern brides are southern belles.  They grew up in a place where manners are always minded, magnolias and hydrangeas are found in every front yard, live oaks are dripping in Spanish moss and the air smells like honeysuckle and jasmine.  Family, traditions, etiquette and the South are all important to southern belles, and many southern brides try to incorporate all of these things into their special day.  Some southern brides are very traditional, some are a bit more modern; regardless, southern brides never fail to dazzle and delight on their big day.  From ruffles to romance and everything in between, here are some of the elements that make for a fabulous southern soiree.

A lovely (letterpressed) invitation suite.
Credit: Smock.

A beautiful bridal gown.

Fabulous shoes + something blue.
Credit: Aruna Seth

A well-dressed groom.

Brightly colored bridesmaid dresses.
Credits for bridesmaid dresses: David's Bridal

A fabulous venue.

Something borrowed, Something old - antique silver tray.

Locally grown flowers (hydrangeas).

A well-set table.
Credit: Martha Stewart Weddings

Credit: Style Me Pretty

A local or signature drink.
Credit: Style Me Pretty

Comfort food.
Credit: Style Me Pretty

A beautiful cake that is mostly traditional, yet reflects certain elements of the wedding.
Credit: Style Me Pretty

Sweet favors.
Credit: Martha Stewart Weddings

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Marriage Thoughts...

At our wedding, my husband and I left little note cards and envelops next to our guestbook.  We asked our guests to write on them their best marriage advice for us.  They were to then place their note in the envelope, and we took them with us to read during the long flight on our honeymoon.  We got many excellent pieces of advice, but I would like to share with you one of our very favorites.  It is so simple, yet of the utmost importance:

"Speak kindly to and about each other."

We try to always keep this in mind.  This advice does not only apply to marriage, but to all our relationships - with family, friends, children, co-workers, neighbors.  If we can all stop complaining to and about each other, we can spend more time focusing on the things we love most about one another.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Learning to Love...the Laundry Room

Another chore I find myself doing frequently as a newlywed bride: the laundry.  There is almost nothing I love more than the smell and feel of fresh, clean laundry; yet, there is almost nothing I loathe more than folding and putting away a big pile of laundry.  My sweet husband will usually help out with other various household tasks, but typically I find myself alone in the laundry room.  Every time I complain about having to do this particular chore, my he asks me "What are you going to do when we have kids and the amount of laundry doubles...or worse?!"  Yikes!

I have pulled together some pictures of happy, peaceful laundry rooms that have inspired me to look at my laundry room in a different light.  With a little bit of organization, and by adding a few simple decorations to the room, I can turn my laundry room into a space that is welcoming and comforting.  This way, maybe I can become a bit more enthusiastic about doing this task.  And, if you look closely at these pictures, you may realize that perhaps doing the laundry isn't quite the chore we all think it is.  Maybe the laundry room can be turned into a private, peaceful place where we don't just clean our clothes; rather, we use the time to refresh our minds and relax for a while.

If you can, try revamping your laundry room in a cheerful color with paint or wallpaper.  I love the happy yellow!

A sink can always be helpful in the laundry room, especially for trying to remove stains.

Utilizing storage space and keeping the room organized are very important.

Incorporate peaceful and soothing colors and textures.

Who says you can't decorate the laundry room?  The prettier you make it, the more time you'll want to spend in it.

This laundry room has plenty of storage space and counter tops to fold clothes on.

I am always running out of space to line-dry clothes.  I love that this laundry room has plenty of built in racks for line-drying.

This space is gorgeous!  It seems a little crazy at first, having a comfy chair in the laundry room.  But, if you think about it, why not?  It would be a great chance to sit down and read a book while waiting to transfer your laundry.  I don't know about you, but nobody ever bothers me when I am doing laundry...why not make it a peaceful place to relax?