Wednesday, December 31, 2008

be merry, be bright

Dear blog friends,

This has been quite a year! It's been a thrill to share my adventures in life, letters and wedding planning with you. As the new year begins, I'll be moving on as a Mrs. and leaving the Ms. Bliss blog behind. You'll still be able to access the content here and if you are a new reader, I hope that you will enjoy digging through the archives and reading my story.

I wish you all health, happiness and a terrific new year. And should you be wedding planning, I wish you the day of your dreams.

Ms. Bliss

Monday, December 29, 2008

One Blissful Day In Photos

When Mr. Bliss and I arrived home from the holidays we had one extra present waiting at our door for us - our proof book from our photographers. We have more than 1,000 images of the big day to go through! We are so happy with the photos. Our photographers, Daria and Andy Bishop, really captured moments as they happened throughout the day. I thought I'd share with you a few (okay, more than a few) of our favorite moments.

Getting ready with all of the girls was so much fun.

Finally, I get to wear it!

My cousin Emma was ready for her flower girl duties.

Portrait of a self-portrait.

The guys look serious about getting dressed.

Mr. Bliss getting a little help from his brother.

We woke up to an overcast day, but just as we were getting ready the skies cleared!

Buttons can be tricky...

Buttoned-up and on the way to the trolley.

I love this shot of Mr. Bliss waiting in the back of the church.

And here I am waiting in the trolley.

Flower girl waiting for her big entrance.

I do!

Mr. and Mrs. Bliss enjoying some fresh air and champagne on the trolley.

The whole wedding party (and check out the yellow fields in the back).

Lovely little flower girls.

Oh happy day!

A quiet moment with Mr. Bliss in the yellow field.

Another moment by a beautiful barn.

Back in the trolley and en route to the reception.

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Bliss!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hope, Peace, Cookies

What more does one really need?

I spent the morning of the cookie swap furiously producing these little snowflake sugar cookies. I've been celebrating the holidays with the same group of lovely ladies for a few years now, and these are always requested. I like to keep it simple with the snowflakes - no need to color the icing and I have amassed quite the array of white sprinkles and snowflake cookie cutters.
Decorating was simple as Mr. Bliss and I had decked the halls (or the condo) a few weeks earlier. I did pull out my kate spade for Crane holiday card from last year and slip it into a frame that we had to create the mantra for the evening.
Hosting a little soiree was the perfect push for me to finally get a few wedding photos displayed. Mr. Bliss had barely hung these on the wall when the guests started to arrive. I also had the perfect excuse to break out our new stemware and other fun wedding gifts.

Pomegranate prosecco cocktails were the drink of the night. They are so easy and super yummy. You simply place a few pomegranate seeds in each champagne glass, add a dash of pomegranate juice then fill with prosecco. The bubbles from the prosecco actually make the pomegranate seeds dance!
Wishing you all a cookie-filled holiday!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Halls Are Decked

The Bliss condo is full of holiday spirit as I am getting ready to host a cookie swap this weekend! More photos to come.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thank You Notes

I'm happy to report that all of our 100+ thank you notes are finished! Mr. Bliss and I spent several Sunday afternoons working through our list and writing them.

While choosing the design of our thank you notes, I found inspiration in an unlikely place - our toasting flutes.

Belle Boulevard toasting flutes by kate spade.

The flutes were a gift from a bridesmaid and I just loved the design. As I was going through Crane's new wedding collections I discovered that kate spade had just introduced a new Belle Boulevard wedding suite. The correspondence cards in yellow were just right for our thank you notes.

kate spade for Crane & Co. Belle Boulevard correspondence cards.

Now what exactly were we to write in those pretty cards? According to Crane's Wedding Blue Book, there's a simple formula for a thank you note:

- Greet the giver.
- Express your thanks.
- Say something nice about the gift and how you will use it.
- Mention the past, allude to the future.
- Repeat your thanks.

Here's an example:

Dear Aunt Kay and Uncle Joe,

Thank you so much for lovely crystal cake plate. I'm looking forward to baking now that we have such a beautiful piece to display the goodies!

It was wonderful, as always, to see you both at the wedding. I especially enjoyed dancing to the oldies with Uncle Joe. We are looking forward to seeing you at Thanksgiving and telling you all about our adventures in Hawaii!

Thanks again for your generosity.

With love,

Mr. and Mrs. Bliss

Monday, December 8, 2008

One of My Favorite Pretty Little Details

Cocktail Flags!

We provided our venue with yellow cocktail flags to serve in our signature passed drinks during cocktail hour. For signature drinks, we chose a "Bride's Favorite" and "Groom's Favorite." One was a lemonade and vodka cocktail and the other was a local microbrew. I bet you can't guess which was the groom's choice!

Now I wish I would have taken photos of how I made the cocktail flags to share with you readers. Sorry! I will tell you this - with very little cost (and definitely more effort) we were able to make these ourselves and I thought that they were definitely a detail at the wedding that did not go unnoticed. It was so fun to walk around cocktail hour and see people walking around with them.

To make them, I used yellow paper that I printed at home and cut with a paper cutter, double-sided adhesive and the bamboo sticks that you use for skewers. One thing to remember: call your venue and ask which glasses they will be using for passed cocktails so you know what length the flags need to be. Mr. Bliss was quite the trooper cutting 200+ flags to two different lengths!

Yes, the boys enjoyed the cocktail flags too!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Eyelet Invitations

A reader just wrote in asking for more invitation details so I thought I would share more with everyone. Check out these new beautiful shots of the Bliss wedding invitations.

photos by Daria Bishop Photography

The main invitation piece is a Crane 64lb white embassy card. The paper is 100 percent cotton and feels amazingly thick. The pretty eyelet design was blind debossed, which basically means that image was pressed into the paper (like letterpress without the ink). The debossing of the eyelet design combined with the thickness and the quality of the paper resulted in a beautiful, textured eyelet detail. For the lettering, we chose engraving, which is a highly skilled form of raised printing. Check out this video to see how exactly engraving works: It's amazing how long a bride can agonize over fonts! After much deliberation, we went with Charter Roman and Colonial Script.

The corners on all of the invitation pieces are rounded. This is actually done by hand at Crane! It's a very smooth corner, not the result you would get when working with a punch corner rounder. The invitations are fairly formal, so I wanted the copy on the reception card to have a bit of whimsy. Instead of "Reception," we went with "dinner, dancing & happily ever after." The choices on the response card were "Will be there to celebrate" and "Sends best wishes and regrets."

Coming up: programs and how we incorporated the eyelet design into other wedding details. I also have more wedding photos!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Welcome Bags

You know what I'm talking about... The cute little bags that you couldn't wait to prepare for your guests to welcome them to your wedding weekend. You carefully scoured the Internet for hours looking for the right bags, labels and ribbon. You made lists of the fun contents to buy in bulk and you contacted the Chamber of Commerce in your wedding location for bundles of tourist brochures. And then all of that carefully collected stuff sat in a box and waited..

Until it was the weekend before the wedding and then you are all like "! we have to put together more than 70 bags and individually wrap all of this bulk food so we can use the super-cute monogram labels that I ordered. and I hope I bought enough yellow ribbon to tie around the bags with the chocolate chip cookies. and wasn't I going to write a nice welcome letter to all the guests? oh no!!"

At least that's how the welcome bag project went down in the Bliss household. We pulled it together though and after a few late nights of serious teamwork, here are the results.

Brown kraft bags were bought in packs of 12 at Michaels. Labels are from MyWeddingLabels and double-faced satin ribbon was bought in bulk from Papermart.

For yummy goodies, we bought Goldfish, pretzels and peanuts all in bulk at Costco. We also bought chocolate chip cookies there (these were assembled the day before the wedding to make sure they were fresh and not melted). I had ordered a ton of food-safe cello bags like these and smaller, monogrammed labels from MyWeddingLabels.

I TOTALLY underestimated how long it would take us to get all those goodies individually packaged into the cello bags. This is where Mr. Bliss, my helpful engineer, came to the rescue.

The magic welcome bag funnel, made out of a cleaned milk jug.

Mr. Bliss in action.

The assembly line.

A few hours later!

The finished product!

The welcome bags included: peanuts, goldfish, pretzels, chocolate chip cookies (not pictured), little packets of Tylenol, a local tourist map and area brochures and a welcome letter to our guests. I was able to refashion the wonderful map that Laura Hooper made for our save-the-date as the cover of the welcome letter.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Charming Bridesmaids Gifts

I've told you all about my wonderful girlfriends and how they totally spoiled me during our engagement. From the moment when I asked them to be bridesmaids, I was racking my brain for the perfect gift to thank them.

I decided to build the girls charm bracelets. I wanted the gift to be something that they would keep and actually wear and something with sentimental value. Once I bought the base of the bracelets, I set to work to find the perfect charms for each girl. Each bridesmaid received a silver Adirondack chair to signify the day that they stood by me in Lake Placid as I married Mr. Bliss. Others received mementos from trips we had taken together (a London phone booth, the Eiffel Tower) and other charms that told the story of our friendship and explained the traits that I love about them.

I had so much fun thinking about charms for each girl and then scouting different online charm stores to find them.

Here is a peek at my maid-of-honor's completed bracelet:

The evening before the rehearsal dinner, I stayed up (quite) late writing each girl a letter. In it, I told them how happy I was that they were standing beside me on the day of my wedding. I explained the significance of each charm on their bracelet and also expressed my hope and promise that I would continue to fill their bracelet with charms during the big moments of their lives.

The girls love the bracelets and I am already looking forward to giving them more charms.

If you look at Jenn on the far right of this photo you can see that she was wearing her charm bracelet in the salon the morning of the wedding.

Here are some tips if you decide to make charm bracelets for your bridesmaids:

1. Start early! It can take quite a while to find particular charms and you don't want to be dealing with ordering 30+ charms a few weeks before your wedding.

2. Pay attention to the size of the charms when you order them. I ordered a few that were much larger/smaller than anticipated.

3. Write your girls a letter so they know your heartfelt intent behind each charm.

4. Make yourself a bracelet at the same time! You will want one!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Soundtrack of a Wedding Day

Some of the most difficult wedding decisions for us were around music. It seems so simple at first, but then you realize that you are planning the soundtrack for a very important, once-in-a-lifetime day and every song seems so important.

Here's what ended up on our soundtrack (click to listen)..

I. Going to the Chapel
Okay, this actually wasn't on the official soundtrack, but my bridesmaids did break out in spontaneous song with this at the hair salon the morning of the wedding.

II. Trumpet Tune and Air
This played during the bridesmaid and flower girl processional. I actually chose this song on the advice of our violinist.

III. Canon in D Major
I always knew that I wanted to walk down the aisle with my dad to this song.. At the advice of our musicians and our officiant, we let the song play for about a half a minute before we proceeded. You really have to listen for a full two minutes to appreciate how beautiful Canon in D is. I've always loved it and am grateful to have such wonderful memories to associate with it now.

IV. Wouldn't It Be Nice
You have to imagine an instrumental version of this with strings and an organ. It was perfectly upbeat and fun for our processional down the aisle after being declared husband and wife.

V. Beautiful Day
This song was played at the reception when the bridal party and the newlyweds were announced. To be honest, I completely forgot that we were supposed to choose an introduction song and made the decision the morning of the wedding. Given that it was an absolutely beautiful day, and the fact that Mr. Bliss has been known to surprise me with U2 tickets, it was a great choice.

VI. The Way I Am
We chose this song for our first dance shortly after we became engaged, giving us quite a few months to dance around the living room to it with Otis. It was the perfect blend of sweet and honest and fun for our first dance together.

VII. Daughter
I searched and searched for months for a father/daughter dance song. I'm an only child with a close relationship with my Dad - I knew he was looking forward to this dance. I wanted the song to be special, but I also didn't want it to be so over-the-top sappy (like some father/daughter songs tend to be). I found "Daughter" by Loudon Wainwright and absolutely loved it. So many guests of the wedding commented on the song after our dance, asking about it and saying how much they liked it.

VIII. Have I Told You Lately
Mr. Bliss chose this one for his dance with his Mom. He also didn't want a totally traditional song and this one fit the bill perfectly.

IX. Come on Eileen
This was the last song of the night. We knew we wanted the night to end with a packed dance floor and we definitely got that (as well as a sing-a-long)!