Friday, July 22, 2011

Vendor Review: La Scala Italian Bistro, Dublin, Ohio

As you may remember from previous posts, choosing a venue for our reception was tough. I do a little event planning for my day job and consider myself more than capable of throwing a catered dinner for ~150. I also had a good idea of what one should cost. I was floored by how much the word WEDDING increased the prices of every venue and menu. Oh well. We struggled with it, but made some tough choices and in the end made a great decision.

We chose La Scala Italian Bistro in Dublin, Ohio. We came to our decision based on the following factors:

Price: La Scala's pricing was all-inclusive. There were no additional charges for the room, set-up or the event coordinator. Additionally, their food prices were very reasonable and we received a large discount for our off-season wedding. Their open bar prices were relatively high, but everything balanced out and still saved us money. 
Atmosphere: The restaurant has two large reception rooms, both recently renovated and lovely enough that decor was unnecessary (if we didn't want any :).
Ease: Did I mention an event coordinator was included in the price? How awesome is that?
Reputation: La Scala is a well-known, family owned restaurant. We felt that having a restaurant relying on consistent business gives them a greater incentive to throw a great party. Wedding guests who have a great time and love the food are more likely to return to the restaurant for dinner, right?

So, how did it work out in the end? Perfectly. Seriously.

Kathy, the event coordinator, was amazing. She met with us a handful of times before the wedding, answered emailed questions promptly and made it clear that her job was to execute our vision. We dropped our decor off the Thursday before our wedding and the dessert off the morning of. She had everything set up perfectly and kept the party running smoothly.

The food was FANTASTIC! I hate the informality of buffets. I also hate tracking everyone's plated meal selection via reply card. Pain! La Scala has a family style buffet that was the perfect combination. Each table received generous portions of every dish we chose so everyone was able to have a little of everything... or a lot! They kept the bowls and plates of food coming! Everything was served hot straight from the restaurant kitchen, not luke warm from chaffing dishes (another pet peeve of buffets....). And it was all delicious as I expected from La Scala. We chose vegetable lasagna, chicken parmesan and prime rib for our main courses and garlic mashed potatoes and zucchini romano for sides. A salad, bread, spumoni ice cream and iced tea were also included in the price. All of it was delicious. The biggest crowd-pleasers were the lasagna and zucchini romano.

Photo credit: Jessica Miller Photography
The space was beautiful.

Photo credit: Jessica Miller Photography
Photo credit: Jessica Miller Photography

Photo credit: Jessica Miller Photography

I don't think any of these pictures do it justice.

And the price was right. We came in right at our budget, no surprises in the bill. Our large, Italian family got a kick out of the restaurant's atmosphere and the fantastic Italian menu.

I think the very best part of it all is that we can go back whenever we want. I see many celebratory dinners enjoyed at La Scala in our future. I see bringing our kids for dinner and telling them, "this is where your mom and dad had their wedding reception." How cool is that?

Good job, La Scala. You've got us for life!

All photos in this post are credited to our fabulous wedding photographer, Jessica Miller Photography.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Apologies and Excuses

In the past three months I have written three blog posts.


I have a million excuses and loads of apologies. I hope some of you are still out there to receive them!

So, what have I been doing with all my extra non-blogging, non-wedding planning time? Here you go:

Our busy season just wrapped... the months of May and June were hellish from 8:30 a.m. - 5+ p.m.. that's all I have to say about it.

Kicking-Off my Etsy Store, Becky Seymour Designs.
I know. There's not much there yet. Prior to June 22nd, I'd only made things on an as-needed basis for myself, my friends and babies I think are cute (not the ugly ones!). More items will be coming in August when life SLOWS DOWN (puh-lease?). In the mean time, please like the Becky Seymour Designs Facebook page and for crying-out-loud, BUY SOMETHING! Or send me a request for a custom piece. Despite the chaos, turn-around is quick, I promise :)

So, stay tuned. I'm starting my vendor reviews and it should be particularly good reading for any Columbus, Ohio area brides. I'll dish on what I loved and hated about them all... but mostly loved cause I picked some rockin' vendors.

And I'll leave you with one Becky Seymour Designs happy customer: my niece, Lexi.
Clearly, she's one of the cute ones, especially in a custom hair bow from her favorite aunt, right Lexi? Right.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Becky Seymour Designs has Launched!!

It's official! 

I am thrilled to announce that my Etsy shop for Becky Seymour Designs is LIVE! The shop features handcrafted floral hair pieces and jewelry and specializes in custom wedding designs for brides, bridesmaids and flower girls. Also, any of the handmade items you've enjoyed through this blog can be custom ordered through Etsy, including seating charts, programs, hair pieces and bouquet additions.

More product will be coming soon! In the mean time, browse the shop!

Ivory Satin and Tulle Hair Clip and Broach, $20

Monday, May 16, 2011

Custom Present for My Groom

Huge apology to all of you for the month-long hiatus from blog posts. I find the further I get from the wedding, the less motivation I have for writing recap posts. Don't get me wrong, I love this blog, you lovely readers and chatting up how FABULOUS our day was, but it's just not on my mind as much as it used to be. Life has moved on and with spring comes house projects. Although the rain is keeping us from much-needed landscaping, we have been productive indoors, installing new venetian blinds and working on new pieces for my soon-to-be-launched Etsy store. More to come on that project later...

Gift for my Groom
I often say how blessed Matt & I are to have talented, creative friends. One of those friends was a great help with a big headache of the wedding-planning process: the gift for my groom. I met Grace Hester of Grace Hester Designs at a wedding last summer. She and Matt work today at her day job. In the evenings she's a wife, mom to two adorable little girls and a super talented designer. You can read all about it at her lovely blog. When I finally decided to give Matt a keepsake that included the lyrics to our first dance song and our new, shared name, I immediately asked Grace to design it. And what she came up with was perfect:
Our wedding colors happen to be very similar to our bedroom colors, so here's the print, framed and in its new home.
Ignore the mess, please. Our bedroom is NEVER clean, I swear...

Grace has a version of our print and so many fun, cheeky prints worth checking out. I'm thinking about adding the Love Lives Cozy print to our room next. Thank you, Grace, for your great work! We love and cherish it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Sexcuses" That Will Ruin Your Marriage

Thank you, for your assistance with planning my wedding. Your advice on 13 things NOT to tell my bridesmaids and top wedding day regrets and how to avoid them were clearly vital to my planning process as were your phenomenal tips for saving money like, "only hire a day-of wedding coordinator" and "don't buy off-season flowers." Invaluable. You managed to make me feel broke, cheap and stressed with each new article and e-newsletter. It was quite motivating...

I was THRILLED when, just four days after my wedding, I found I had automatically rolled-over into The Nest. The minute the dust settled (had it?) on our wedding, you kindly began filling my inbox with what is inevitably NEXT in my life: cooking, cleaning, saving money and getting myself preggers ASAP (who writes this stuff, my MIL?).

Today I was especially thrilled to learn that I can save my marriage by simply sucking it up and having more sex. Clearly putting out is the only way I will be keeping the wonderful, attractive, and easily distracted man I caught, even when I don't feel like it.

And don't forget to lose weight while you do it with the best calorie-burning sex moves cause the second easiest way to lose your man is by getting fat.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

DIY Wedding Favors: Homemade Apple Butter

If favors aren't edible, they're a waste. Seriously. Although I'm sure you only invited 300 of your absolutely CLOSEST, BESTEST friends, I'm also sure that 99% of them (ok, all of them except your mother and grandmother) do NOT want a to decorate their house with memorabilia from your wedding. If you're lucky, they'll frame a picture of themselves with the bride, but they'll probably look drunk because, let's face it, they DO care about the open bar. Which is why I opted for the best wedding favor, the kind that is homemade, edible yumminess.

My mom has been canning apple butter for years and she gets 100% of the credit for our delicious favors. She has kindly agreed to share her recipe!  Everyone say THANK YOU Amy! And check out her blog where she hosts tons of giveaways.

Caramel Spice Apple Butter (Adapted from the Ball Blue Book)
Yield: 9-12 Half-pint jars

8 – 9 lbs Apples, cored & quartered (to yield about 12 cups apple pulp)
4 cups Sugar, divided   
1 cup water or apple juice
2 teaspoons Cinnamon, ground
½  teaspoon Ginger, ground
½  teaspoon Cloves, ground
½ teaspoon Nutmeg, preferably freshly ground
2 Tablespoons Lemon juice

In a large saucepot or Dutch oven, combine apples and add the water or apple juice. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are softened. Press through a food mill or sieve. Return pulp to saucepot; set aside.

In a large skillet or saucepan, heat 2 cups sugar over medium high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking skillet occasionally to heat sugar evenly; reduce heat. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is melted and turns a rich, golden brown.  Be VERY careful, as the caramelized sugar is extremely hot.  Keep a bowl of ice water handy in case you get burned.

Carefully pour caramelized sugar into apple mixture in kettle (mixture will spatter!) The caramelized sugar will harden like candy, but will eventually melt. Stir in the remaining sugar and spices.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, stirring often, until thick enough to round up on a spoon. Stir in lemon juice. Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes for half-pints and 15 minutes for pints.

Amy recommends tasting your apple butter and adjusting the spices as desired.

We printed the labels on top using images from our invitations (suitcase) and another family member, Tammy, did all the calligraphy. Thank you Tammy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Becky's Vintage Inspired Accessories

The Earrings
 Rhodium, Swarovski pearls and crystals... handmade from Lulu Splendor on Etsy!

The Hair Piece/Fascinator
A custom, handmade creation by Artsymorena on Etsy who came highly recommended by my hair stylist, Brittany! I loved the pop of turquoise-y blue!

The Bracelet
Faux-pearl bracelets from Icing
Seriously... I tried to spend more money, but I couldn't find pearls in the right color anywhere else!

I think it all came together quite nicely :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Dress: Vintage, Classic and Oh, So Very Me!

In many ways I am a very typical girl. I love pink, high heels and pretty, sparkling things. But I was never the little girl who dreamed of her wedding day. And I also never imagined my "dream dress." As the planning process began, I started thinking long a hard about what I wanted.  I knew it wouldn't be the typical, princess ballgown.

I consider myself to be classic, a little stylish with a bit of vintage and whimsy. I knew I wanted a vintage-style dress and lots of lace. I also knew I preferred something with STRAPS. I say "preferred" because I knew it would be difficult to find. Strapless dresses have dominated wedding fashion for the past ten years, but as a busty, fuller-figured lady, I'd prefer to have a little bit of strap holding me in (You know what I mean, girls? The ladies have a mind of their own sometimes...). I was thrilled to find that straps are coming back in style and I had several, lovely and fashionably options. Here is what I selected...
Baby Got Back

It's House of Wu Private Collection and I found it at Wendy's Bridal in Dublin, Ohio. 

One of my bridesmaids, Aarti, was in town visiting from Brussels, Belgium (seriously) and since she lived so far away and was missing all the wedding fun, we decided to spend a day doing "wedding-ish" things. One of them was dress shopping. We picked some funky dresses, neither of us were taking it seriously. But when I put on this dress, I knew it was the one. It was just so very, very me.

I've never been able to find much about the designer and I've certainly never been able to find my dress online or in magazines, which is weird, but makes me love it more. It's all lace and pleated organza loveliness. It had straps but felt sexy. I could move and dance in it to my heart's content.

I can't say enough about how wonderful my experience at Wendy's was. Everyone working there was lovely, from my sales attendant to my seamstress. They understood what I wanted and were kind and patient with every step. I had several not-so-great experiences due to overly-pushy sales people and being completely misunderstood (not listened to?). I've been to tiny, upscale salons that were horrifically overpriced. And I've mentioned my complete disdain for a certain gargantuan discount bridal chain (puke). Wendy's was the perfect middle-ground. They had a HUGE selection in a wide range of prices and they treated me very well. Love them! I've sent all my bride-friends there and one of them just bought her dress at Wendy's last month. Yay!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dessert Buffet

Hello my lovely readers! We have finally returned from our honeymoon and I am back to blogging! I am so excited to share more details from our wedding. Now that the big day is over, I can spend a month or two reminiscing through this blog. Oh, how I love it..

There were several traditions that we decided not to incorporate into our wedding, some because of the cost and some because they just weren’t our style. One of the budget-busting traditions that we cut was a large, tiered wedding cake in lieu of the trendy dessert buffet.

My mom is well-known for her cookies and she has made them for several of my cousins’ weddings. I knew we would be including my mom’s pizzelles, anise cookies, butter balls and Italian nut bread on the dessert table.

I also wanted to add macaroons and cake pops because I love both and knew they would be a hit.

By the time we added up all the cookies, it seemed silly to have a huge, multi-tiered cake. Instead we decided to have three round layer cakes, each of a different flavor (vanilla cake with lemon filling and vanilla butter cream, chocolate cake with raspberry filling and chocolate butter cream and carrot cake with cream cheese icing) and a couple small sheet cakes in the back. We ordered the cakes from Piece of Cake in Columbus, Ohio and they were kind enough to do some simple scroll work and piping in the butter cream frosting. They were so sweet! And the cake was TO DIE for! Seriously, YUM!

Here’s a breakdown of the cost:

$219 for ~151 servings of cake
$45 for macaroons
$30 for cake pops made by Heather Dodds (if you're in the Cbus area and need cake pops, I HIGHLY recommend her and I can give you her contact info:)

I have no idea how much my mom spent on ingredients for the cookies she made, but even if it was upwards of $100 (which is probably over estimating), we still managed to come in around $2.60 per person. Not bad, considering how pricey wedding cakes can be.
Also, we had WAY too much cake for our 155 guests. We had originally intended to only have around 100 servings, but my parents overruled us and ordered extra. Thanks mom and dad! We were eating cake forever....

I decorated the dessert buffet with bunting. The small bunting on top of the cake that said "LOVE" I found online from the TomKat Studio. The larger bunting that said "LOVE IS SWEET" on the front of the table I also found online, but I cannot track down the site! If I do, I will update this post with the details.

All photos courtesy of our fabulous wedding photographer, Jessica Miller Photography!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Join me in supporting the March for Babies

This year I will be participating in my 8th March for Babies for the March of Dimes. During my freshman year of college I volunteered at the Cincinnati, Ohio March of Dimes and assisted with their spring 2002 neighborhood walks. It was an amazing experience and I have supported the cause through my own walk ever since.
 Becky, Matt & Henry at M4B 2011

Today in the U.S., 1 in every 8 babies will be born prematurely. Some of them won't survive, and others will have health problems that could last a lifetime. The funds we raise in WalkAmerica support research that saves babies' lives. The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.

I`m very excited to be a part of March for Babies again this year. If you sponsored my walk last year - THANK YOU! With your help, I set a personal record and raised over $500! Please help me reach my goal again this year by making a donation to my walk. You can make a secure online gift at my personal walk page.

Your gift will fund March of Dimes research and programs that help moms have full-term pregnancies and babies begin healthy lives. And it will be used to bring comfort and information to families with a baby in newborn intensive care.

Thank you for helping me give all babies a healthy start!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Presents for the Parents of the Bride & Groom

A few posts back I shared how to use Etsy's Alchemy feature for personalized wedding items. Unfortunately, Etsy has decided to close Alchemy for the time being. Since my experience was quite successful, the news was disappointing and I hope they come up with a new and improved version soon. We used Alchemy to purchase our parent gifts.

I posted a request for picture frames personalized with our names and the date of our wedding and received MANY bids from talented ETSY vendors. These are the frames we "commissioned."
These beautiful frames came from Etsy Seller Mehndiart09. We are so thrilled with how they turned out and hope our parents love them too!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bridesmaid's Gifts on a Budget

I can't say enough how amazing my bridesmaids were throughout the wedding process. They threw me two FABULOUS parties. They helped multiple DIY projects including our photo booth and flowers. They handled every bump along the way without stressing me with the details. Most importantly, the put up with bridezille-to-be-me for months.
And they coordinated their rehearsal dinner dresses without even meaning to! LOVE!

I wanted to be sure that my gifts for them were functional, fun and unique for each girl, without breaking the bank. After scouring the internet and giving it lots of thought, here is what I came up with!
- Turquoise pashmina from (for obvious & practical reasons... a February wedding is bound to be cold!)
- Beauty Rush lip gloss from Victoria's Secret (in a color they could wear the day-of and every day!)
- Candle (I found these about a year prior on clearance and grabbed them!)
- Lolita martini or wine glass (I LOVE these glasses. They come in fun themes, are hand-painted and each comes with a yummy drink recipe on the bottom. I saw them long before the wedding and knew I wanted to get them for my maids! Each girl received a different glass.)

I had been keeping an eye out for Lolita glasses for about a year, but never saw them priced below $25. I lucked out when I found one glass on clearance and the rest at Macy's where I was able to use my 15% off coupon. In all I spent about $30 per bridesmaid, which was a deal and I think they all loved their gifts (I hope!!). They deserved them and so much more!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday and I received the loveliest present. My photographer, Jessica Miller, sent me a sneak peak at our pictures. Eeeeeeeeee! She gave me TWO photos on facebook and I can't WAIT to see the rest.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DIY Passport Wedding Programs

UPDATE: Order these adorable Passport Wedding Programs for YOUR wedding at my new Etsy shop, Becky Seymour Designs!

You may remember my exciting purchase of a Print Gocco last summer. I had many elaborate plans for using the adorable Japanese screen printing machine for wedding projects. Unfortunately Adobe Illustrator and my home printer won out and the poor Print Gocco was only used once. But the results were lovely and well worth the splurge to buy it!

What IS a Print Gocco, you ask? Check it out online here.

I used mine to print the covers of my passport programs!

We designed the cover and inside pages in Adobe Illustrator. The cover I screen printed with my Gocco. The inside pages included our wedding party, ceremony outline, in memorial and a list of things to do between the ceremony and reception (always important when there is a gap!). We scattered vintage passport stamps throughout the pages. The inside pages were printed on my home computer.

My husband (then fiance!) and I had an assembly party with our DVR and a glass of wine.

And here is our finished product!

I love them! And they fit our theme so well. Success!

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm a MRS!

Matt and I were MARRIED this past weekend. Our wedding wasn't perfect but it was a blast. I can't wait to share more from our special day with my readers.

Did I stay in my budget? I'll be revealing all the details over the next few weeks. For now, I am enjoying some QT with my husband.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sneak Peak: BHLDN Bridal

When I heard that Urban Outfitter (the parent company of one of my favorite stores, Anthropologie) was coming out with a bridal line I swooned. And then I turned meanly-jealous. Knowing that these lovely dresses were coming just an eensy-bit too late for me to wear them hurt my heart just a little. I had to wade through piles full of polyester and pick-ups to find my dress. Luckily my dress was there, between cupcake mountains of virginal white that made me nauseous. But I would have killed to wear one of these lovely BHLDN dresses. Not a pick-up in site, thank god.

The prices are a little steep for ladies in my budget bracket. Bridal gowns range from $1,000-$4,000 and bridal party dresses from $200-$400. Although I'd seriously consider breaking the bank for the chance to wear one of these dresses. Perhaps I should be glad the opportunity missed me :)

Thank you to 100 Layer Cake for the pictures.

8 Days!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Officially in the Single-Digit Countdown


So, what am I doing today with just 9 days left until our wedding? I am going to the ballet with my mom, sister and one of my bridesmaids. We are seeing BalletMet's production of Cinderella. I am so very excited!

I feel like Matt and I are in a good place at the moment. We have 95% of our wedding "To-Do" list complete. Only a few small strings are left to tie up and we are knocking more out every day. I am taking pictures of everything and I can't wait to share the final products with my readers (after my guests have seen them first, of course!). This wedding has been planned in bits and pieces, by collecting things along the way. I am finally seeing the pieces come together (in my livingroom.... stacked to the ceiling!) and it looks better than I imagined. I think our theme kept us cohesive throughout the planning process and I can't wait for everyone to see the results!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Real Bridezilla Moment

What a Monday! I am enjoying a day off of work to work on wedding projects after a FABULOUS Bachelorette Party Weekend with all my besties. I had a few errands to run so I went to the mall with my future mother-in-law. We decided to check Men's Wearhouse to make sure the groomsmen were all sized.

Here's the problem. My fiance stopped in to check on things two weeks ago and then had our order totally wrong.  Wrong vests, wrong ties on every member of the wedding party. So he corrected them.... or so we thought!

When I went in today, they were STILL wrong! So I was working with one of their employees to fix our order when his co-worker came in. The co-worker remembered taking the corrections from my fiance, and he started arguing with me that they were done correctly, when I was just told that they weren't. He kept arguing as I walked out the door, so I turned around and yelled at him... It wasn't one of my finest moments. It was 100% real bridezilla. 

It left me feeling mean and pretty crappy. I've prided myself on being level-headed and rational. I don't think I've had any really blow-ups or meltdowns. Thank you, Men's Wearhouse, for bringing on my first.

Also, which of these vests do you think is turquoise?

Men's Wearhouse considers the top vest to be turquoise. The bottom is pool. Our official colors are red and turquoise, but I am definitely going with the bottom vest. Hopefully they don't up-charge me for the last minute change, cause that one was all me!

12 Days!