Mr. & Mrs.

I am now a married woman!
The weather was PERFECT - cloudy in the morning for pictures and bright & sunny for the ceremony! I believe leaves were falling at the appropriate times and the pastor told me later that I had a giant daddy-long-leg crawling up my dress! Oh, how we love nature! :-)

I just wanted to post a few of my favorite photos recapping the wonderful day that we had! All of our photos can be viewed on Sara's website: sara-jayne.com and if you email me at rstork@gmail.com I will give you the client login password. (Let me know who you are because I'm not about to show all these photos to people who don't introduce themselves!) :-) Sara-Jayne Photography also has a page on Facebook which has about 100 of our photos posted on there.

A red barn is very appropriate when one has a wedding in Iowa.

What I saw for the first time when I started walking down the aisle with my parents. It took all of my willpower to keep myself from crying. So powerful.

Our ceremony site. No fancy decorations, we just let Mother Nature be her beautiful self, and she definitely shined for us that day!

Our tree-planting ceremony. After the ceremony we planted a strong White Pine near the church. This gift represents the growth of our love and symbolizes that marriage - like a tree - requires constant nurturing and nourishment.

My amazing California cousins finding where they wrote their names in my parents' guestbook on Aug. 2, 1980. I used the handmade wooden guestbook my grandfather made for my mother for her wedding and added our own pages to the front.

The newlyweds walking to the reception. I love this photo because it reminds me of photos I've seen of my parents' wedding.

Our table arrangements: Flowers from my mother's garden in canning jars; Brown paper bag table runners with clearance ribbon; hand-me-down votive candles from Craig's List; thrift store wine glasses with handmade charms.

The wedding party as the celebration continues!

And the glorious German Hausbarn! This site made our wedding so spectacular, I cannot thank LeRoy & Freda and the Hausbarn staff enough for all of their help and support!


Hand-me-down Guestbook

One of the last few things on my to-do list for the wedding was the guestbook. I really disliked the padded, white guestbooks that you see in stores and I had made up my mind to do something unique, but I didn't want it to take much time.

My mom suggested we use their old guestbook. I was not convinced at all that this would work, until she showed the book to me. My grandfather had made the cover out of wood and varnished it himself. This alone was enough to make me fall in love with it. The pages were simple brown butcher paper that my mom had copied her handwritten design on. It was held together with 2 adjustable metal rings. There was nothing written on the cover, the beautiful wood spoke for itself.

So, i took the book back to Chicago and crafted some of myself into it. I used our brown bag theme with ribbon to create a simple cover detail. Then I cut pages from our large supply of brown grocery bags and printed a simple layout on the front and back of each. Instead of using the metal rings, I found some old hemp string back in my closet and used it to bind the book together. Once all the pages have been put in, I will trim the hemp cord.

The last thing we're going to do is include my parents guestbook pages in the back of the book. It may be fun for our guests to flip back time and see who attended my parents wedding in 1980. And who knows, maybe this book will be passed down for generations. Wouldn't that be something?! :-)

12 days left!


Table Runner and Garters!

I much apologize if my brain is turning to scrambled eggs, but there are only 16 days left until the BIG DAY!!! Derek and I went back to Iowa over the long Labor Day Weekend and accomplished a TON of wedding stuff.

Project #!: Handmade vintage garter
My grandmother brought some of her old handkerchiefs that were given to her by her grandmother. I am using one that is in very good condition, along with a handkerchief of my late grandfather's from when he was in the service to wrap around my bouquet. The other handkerchief had lots of stains on it, so I cut it up to make a long lace. I used ribbon my mother had found and extra ribbon from our boutonnieres and sat down with my Aunt who is a wonderful seamstress. In about 30 minutes we had a finished garter!

Project #2: Brown Grocery Bag table runners
The table centerpieces were difficult for me. Besides the flowers from my mom's garden in her canning jars, I didn't know how to finish the design. I purchased some votive candles that were leftover from a friend's wedding and had reluctantly given in to the idea of just a fabric runner.
Then shear genius struck me. There was a piece of a bag leftover from our card box (crumpled, then ironed with wax paper to give it a texture) and I happened to set my canning jar full of wine corks on it. BINGO. Grocery Bag table runners! Ok, so this idea wasn't entirely mine. Derek came up with the finishing touch of adding a strip of ribbon down the center. Just another reason why together, we rock!
Over the weekend, we were measuring the reception hall for various things and I decided to mock up what our tables will look like. We have an array of garage sale vases mixed with canning jars to hold the garden flowers, real plates and silverware, and my thrift store wine glasses with homemade charms as the favor! I think they look pretty nifty and simple!

I am also nearly finished with the ring bearer's book. However, in our rush to get back to Chicago, I left it at home! Hopefully mom will send me some pictures of it, so I can post them. Otherwise I will post it as soon as I get home the week of the wedding. Exciting times! The countdown begins!!!! :-)


Recycled projects!

I have so much to post, but it's hard to find the time to organize and actually post! We've done a couple more crafty-recycled-green projects in the last few weeks! One idea was the ring bearer "pillow". I knew that I did not want an actual pillow (unless I made it or found one that was handmade), so I was looking at other ideas such as a large leaf, small gord, chunk of wood....you get the picture. Something different.
Then I came across this posting at Offbeat Bride (Click here for the full post) explaining step by step how to make a ring book! I feel in LOVE with this idea! I found an old book that was falling apart from its cover. Derek still wanted to read it, so I only used the hard cover for this project and kept the pages in tact and readable for him. I used an old 2005 market book that was out-of-date and cut down the pages to fit. I then covered it with our signature brown grocery bags, crumpled and iron with wax paper! When it's finished I will post pictures, but here's a picture from the original idea from Zephyr at Offbeatbride.com

There's another project I'm working on, but I have to run out the door for a meeting, so I will post that later! 26 DAYS LEFT!!!


Recycled wedding card box!

Wow, sorry for the long hiatus...again. It's tough to post when the hours in each day just seem to fly by! We have bout 45 days left until our wedding day! It seems unreal that it is this close! And a little scary since I still have a long list of things to do for that day! Well, let me update you on our last little project!

Our wedding card box!
I wanted to make this simple and follow our green theme, so I saved a bunch of boxes from the mail, a couple large pizza boxes and grabbed a few brown paper bags from my mom's house. This box is nearly 100% recycled! Here's what we did!

1. My live-in architect helped create a stable box structure and lid with his amazing modeling skills!

2. I crumpled the brown paper bags and ironed them with wax paper to get a neat effect! Then I wrapped the box and lid with the paper.

3. I used paints and ribbon leftover from our boutonnieres to put the finishing touches on our box!

It definitely looks different, but I think it fits us!

Our invitations have been sent out! Hopefully the mail does not eat them like it did some of my shower invitations! I can't wait to see everyone! It is going to be a great weekend! Check out our wedding website that Derek and I designed! That's all for now! Check back soon as we start to design our wedding programs! :-)


Eco-friendly, Homemade Boutonnieres!

I've been googling and estying around to find a simple, yet catchy homemade boutonniere style. One that I easily make 30 from without ripping my eyes out at the last minute! Flowers are nice, but not very environmentally friendly if your flower choice is not in season or grown locally, not to mention by the end of the night they are wilted and mangled from dancing! My mother is growing the flowers for our centerpieces and we could have used those flowers to make the boutonnieres, but I had a dream of chaos erupting the day before the wedding when the floral boutonnieres fell apart because we did not know how to make them!

So, instead of using the traditional flowers from a florist for boutonnieres, we decided to make our own sans flowers! Using clearance ribbon from a craft store and old buttons from my mother's button jar, we came up with these! The buttons are hand-painted to correspond with our color theme and each design is simply sewn together (with the help of a little double-sided tape too! haha!)

I'm excited to see how these look on everyone! They turned out spectacularly! The great thing about this is that I can get all of them finished ahead of time and we do not have to worry about refrigeration, or putting them on too early! I recommend hand-making boutonnieres to anyone planning a wedding! It's a special touch and you get to see your craftiness on everyone throughout the night! Plus, it's a little sentimental gift for each person who took part in your special day! What could be better?! :-)


Wine Charm Party!

I recently had an "OH SHIT" moment when I realized that this past weekend was the last free weekend I have until August 29th. Our Sept 26th wedding is coming up VERY QUICKLY and I seem to be getting more DIY ideas as the days go by! So I sent out a party invite to my lovely Chicago women and they all came over for a wine charm-making cocktail party! IT. WAS. FABULOUS!
I cannot thank them enough! We made over 250 wine charms! Charms ranging from old clip on earrings, keyboard keys, puzzle pieces, fishing lures and seashells! I'm storing them on clothes hangers for now and 100 fit nicely per hanger! It's a great way to keep track of the numbers! Here are some of my favorites that I quickly picked out. The charms will be on the wine glasses and the entire set-up (glass + charm) will be the wedding favor for guests to take home with them! All the charms were made from recycled items, things that normally would have been thrown away, or found at a garage sale/thrift store! Thank you so much ladies! I know it was last minute but it was tons of fun! You were so helpful! And the free beer at Duffy's definitely made the night even better! I can't wait to see all your shiny, happy faces at my wedding! It's going to be quite the party!


Wine Glasses & Invitations

I mentioned in a previous post that my family & friends agreed to help me search for garage sale or thrift store wine glasses. Well, I have had EXTREMELY good luck with this search and Craig's List has become my new best friend! Last week I found 138 wine glasses for 50 cents each from an art gallery that went out of business and yesterday I found possibly 100-200 glasses (again 50 cents each) from a recently married couple who did not end up using all of them! So total I have 238, possibly 338! I can't believe how easy this was!

Thank you so much to all my friends who have collected wine glasses for me! I think we finally have enough! It wasn't as hard or painful as I originally thought this search would be! One thing to cross off the wedding to-do list!

It has been a while since my last post, so I thought I'd give everyone something to read/look at and post our wedding invitation that we finally designed! We're having them printed at a local business in Carroll and using 100% recycled paper. The only issue is color since Derek and I do most of our work for web, we've become unfamiliar with all the print options such as PMS colors. The test print looked like red and green instead of teracotta and peridot! It may look different on every screen too, but we'll get all that figured out soon. What do you think?! We've changed "family" to "families", but haven't found any other spelling/grammar errors. We wanted to include our parents names, but the spacing seemed too cramped for the 5 x 7 size we are using. Our wedding website sort of follows the same design, but we've been so busy with work that we haven't had a chance to finish it! There's a lot of content to think about! I will post that link as soon as we get it finished.
Heading out to Iowa this weekend for one of my best friend's weddings! So excited to see everyone (and take secret notes of how she does things! haha!)
Thanks for reading!


DIY Wine Charm progress!

Hey All!
Over memorial day I visited my grandmother and she pulled out a huge jewelry box full of goodies and told me to go through it and take what I like to use for the wine charms! It was a TREASURE BOX! She does not have her ears pierced, so there were tons of pairs of clip-on earrings, old broken necklaces and pins! All perfect for wine charms! So, this week whenever I needed a break from the computer work, I wandered over to my workshop (aka the living room, the only other "room" in the apartment!) and started making the jewelry into charms!

I'm starting to get a nice collection going. I've had friends send me the most random of things like the plastic tags on toddler clothing! (Kudos to Erica for those!!!) But that's the point! This project is all about recycling the random objects found around the house that would normally be thrown away and creating a new item out of them!

I'm not actually putting together the whole charm right now, just getting it ready so it can easily be strung on the wire. I am going to plan a charm-making party in Chicago soon, so all of you who are in the area, clean out your jewelry boxes and get ready for a fun night! I will provide the wine and food, if you provide the broken jewelry/random objects for charms! :-)

I'm also still hunting for thrift store wine glasses! Some stores in Chicago are charging an awful lot for mis-matched glasses. I was thinking no more than $.50-$1.00 but some are marked as high as $3.00 per glass! That's a little outrageous for me since we need to find over 300 of these. So the hunt continues! If you see a deal at a garage sale this summer, grab 'em for me and I will cut you a check and make a personalized charm for you! :-)


Reason #1 why I LOVE photoshop!

Compare the images below and see if you can find what's missing!

If I can remove shadows, zits and strengthen a jawline, imagine what I can do with those extra 10 pounds I've been trying to get rid of! :-) Just some fun with Photoshop on the engagement photos we had taken. We probably will not use this one for anything, but it was fun to see how it could be cleaned up! I'm VERY glad we hired a professional wedding photographer-- Sara Jayne Weitzel is AMAZING!-- She has such great ideas and I can't wait to see the great photos she takes of us!

Ok, the next post will be our wedding invitation design. I'm still waiting to get the test print from the printer, but I'm pretty sure we won't be changing the design. Programs are next on my agenda! Derek is putting together the wedding website today! Maybe I'll throw in a sneak peek of that too! Thanks for reading!! :-)


Sneak Peek: DIY Save-the-Dates!

Our original green plan for Save-the-Dates was to be electronic and send them through email, however my mother has expressed a sincere interest in sending a few to friends and family members. So, we have decided to print a small quantity to mail. Here's the scoop:
- We created our own design using photography courtesy of my wonderful mother!
- We will use 100% recycled PCW paper from a local store.
- We will mail them as postcards to avoid the extra paper in envelopes
- EMAIL the rest to those of our guests who have publicly shared their emails. :-)

So, here's the design!

The website at the bottom is not active. It is a placeholder until we get the real website up and running (which Derek is designing and developing!) So exciting!!!

Oh, and one question I have for all of you in my teeny-tiny blogosphere. Is it noticeably odd that I am not wearing my engagement ring in this photo? It was being re-sized when we took these photos, and for all of the other shots I turned a ring around on my ring finger with intentions to photoshop in the diamond (haha i know i'm such a nerd). But this photo was very spontaneous and I forgot to change my rings around! Do you think it's a big deal? I can spend some time photoshopping the rings, but I want to know if it's worth it. Let me know what you think!!


Our "not-so-green" wedding bands

One aspect of our wedding that we did not go-green on is our wedding rings. I love traditions and passing things down, but unfortunately my mother's wedding ring (which was her grandmother's) is way too small for me. I did not want to destroy it by using the gold to create a new ring either. If one day my fingers are small enough, I hope to wear my great-grandmother's wedding ring, but for now Derek and I may be starting our own traditions.
Even though it's not "green" I'm still excited and want to share! So here they are!

We had lunch after we picked them up and did not want to leave them unattended in the car, so we pretended to be married for an hour! Derek says he really has to get used to his because of the weight. His ring is made of Tungsten Carbide and is kind of heavy. But he loves it!
We also finished designing our save-the-dates and invitations! We have definitely been productive! I will upload images of both in a later post once we finalize the wording. Less than 4 months to go!!!!


Long weekend, lots of planning!

Over the long weekend, lots of planning was done! We made some final decisions on times, places, set-up and details. One major detail we finally figured out was my recycled wine charm favor idea.

I have been struggling with finding a way to present these charms so guests know what they are without spending alot of money doing so. I was browsing wedding blogs and I came across a post on OffBeat Bride about a couple who collected thrift store coffee mugs (called them muglies!) for their guests! I loved it! So, I sat my entire family down and they all agreed to begin searching! We don't know the size of our guest list yet, but it's safe to say we will be collecting nearly 300 thrift store wine glasses!

Amazing photo courtesy of Soon-to-be Mrs. Eric Rubeck :-) Thanks, Toni!

I'm so excited because we're not limiting it to a certain style of wine glass--these will be all kinds of stemware like goblets and champagne flutes! It will definitely showcase our recycled theme!!

I have another really cool find that I am dying to share, but I have a few more decisions to make before I know if it will actually make a debut at the wedding. I will share it either way, but I'll make you all wait in suspense! Clue: It's something old and has to do with human anatomy and art! Any guesses?? :-)


Life got in the way! :-)

It's funny how easily life can get in the way of blogging! It appears that I have been on a month long hiatus from the blogosphere! I hope I have retained the few followers that I started with!
My parents were in the city this weekend and mom took some great shots of us to use as engagement photos! We may use a few others for our save-the-date emails too! Perfect, free and the photo-shoot came with iowa pork chops! :-)

I've realized over the past couple months how difficult it can be to plan a "green" wedding. Both of our families are very large, and since we haven't seen many of our friends for a while, that list is also getting long. One decision that we recently made is to go with real plates and silverware. We had originally discussed using 100% recycled or sugarcane-based table service, however that was entirely too expensive for our budget. I'm really getting excited about using the real stuff because now all the tables will be set and will look beautiful!

We've also decided to go with an outdoor wedding. Hopefully the decorations will be simple and very natural. Anything that we purchase we are trying to re-purpose afterward. My mother had her eyes on 2 large, green pots that she knew would look amazing for the wedding, but she also has plans to use them in her garden when our event is over!

Sadly, not all the elements of our wedding will be eco-friendly, but it's that extra effort to help out in whatever ways we can that make a difference. I am still looking for suggestions or ideas anyone out there has to offer!


Offbeat bridal gowns

A part of me really wanted (and still sorta wants) a very unique and unusual wedding gown. I wanted to break tradition and go with a dress color other than white, a fabric other than satin, and a totally different look. I found a lot of dresses on various websites, but this one is definitely one of my favorites!!

Wai-Ching Clothing

I love Chrissy Wai-Ching's clothing line and style. It's a "wild but wearable line of clothing!" The dress has a very earthy feeling to it. To me, it resembles roots of a tree or plant climbing up the landscape of the body. Love, Love, LOVE it! Her style is to create dresses that flatter the figure. I just wish I had the right figure to wear this dress!! :-)

What dresses are your favorites????


Daily Inspirational Wedding Blog!


Photo courtesy of Jen, author of the Green Wedding Shoes blog.

This new find is a "must-share!" I love the inspirational photos of real weddings! I could go through the blog archives for hours at a time! In fact, I did so this afternoon and neglected the work on my desk! :-)

Hope you enjoy Green Wedding Shoes as much as I do!


Green wedding article

Sorry for the blog hiatus, but we've had company in town and as always, work has been crazy. I've done a TON of online browsing for bridesmaid's dresses. After trying on some dresses I had originally liked, I started back at square one. It's much harder than I thought to try and find a financially-friendly, yet appealing dress style for 4 totally different women. But I think I've found a style that I like and the ladies can choose from strapless, halter or straps. I'm going to check it out on Saturday with my mom. Hopefully the colors work well with what I have in mind. I will post photos soon.

Here's a quick article about a real green wedding in Maryland.
Residents use websites to green weddings
I love reading the different ways each couple finds to make their special day "greener"! Also, check out Wedding Wire. It is featured in the article above, and seems to be getting great reviews!


STA World Travel Intership 2009

I need to give a shout-out to two amazing women! Renee and Shanae are applying for the STA World Traveler Internship for 2009. STA Travel will send 2 interns "to traverse the globe experiencing a number of travel adventures and showcasing their experiences daily via a journal/blog, video and podcasts. They will be responsible for describing everything they do and experience with the ultimate goal of inspiring other students and young people to become World Travelers!"

Click Here to see their video!

I think Renee and Shanae were very creative and clever with their submission! I love, love, LOVE the Mac vs. PC approach! Watch it. Rate it. Comment! Help them win! They are seriously the best team for this internship!!!!


Another wonderful DIY!

I found this creative DIY at Offbeatbride and have fallen in love with the idea! Click the link to read the full article:

I hadn't given the topic of footwear much thought, except for the bridesmaids, but now I'm totally painting my own shoes! I don't have much luck finding COMFORTABLE shoes, let alone heels, so I'm giving a pair of my own shoes a bridal makeover!!! I am envisioning some body parts making an appearance somewhere! :-) That said, I have to link to this awesome pair of shoes that were featured on the Street Anatomy Blog

A pair of anatomical Keds available at www.zazzle.co.uk

I may have more DIY projects than I can complete before September! But I'd still like to hear more ideas from all of you!!!!


3 great websites I had to share!

1. Offbeat Bride http://offbeatbride.com/

Created by author Ariel, this blog is an ongoing celebration of couples who dare to walk off the beaten aisle. Posts feature non-traditional wedding styles, DIY projects and advice! I definitely got inspired to go "off the beaten path" with more of my wedding ideas!

2. Earth Friendly Wedding http://earthfriendlywedding.blogspot.com/

The official blog of EarthlyAffair. Includes great photos of eco-friendly weddings, favors, hair styles and more! Great resource for environmentally friendly ideas! Amazing list of green websites and blogs to help with ideas!

3. The Green Bride Guide

Great stories of real green weddings, guides to planning your own green wedding and even green calculators! Figure out what your wedding's carbon footprint will be and offset it with carbon offsets from Brighter Planet!


Canning Jar centerpieces

Photo courtesy of Sweet Pea Gardens.

My mother and grandmother have always done a lot of canning and our basement is full of canning jars! I think they would be beautiful to use as vases for floral centerpieces at the reception! It's definitely reusing old jars that are now just sitting and collecting dust! Plus, it adds some personal history to the scene. And I'm not the first to think of this. I've found lots of photos using canning jars, mostly at outdoor weddings. It's simple, elegant and you don't have to buy a bunch of matching vases that you may never use again.

I'm also excited to have my mother in charge of the flowers. She is an amazing gardener with quite the eye for color! This way I know the flowers will be grown organically and locally. Nothing will have to be shipped anywhere. Once we get our wedding colors picked out, I will post some photos of the types of flowers that Mom will try to grow for us. Hopefully the weather cooperates!!


Sustainable, recycled invitations

We've recently started to think about our wedding invitations and how to keep them environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, our budget has gotten tighter due to the rough economy, so we're thinking about keeping some aspects very digital. We've always had the idea of paperless RSVP's via our wedding website that we plan to create. But now we also think our "Save-the-Date" announcements may be online as well.
The actual wedding invitations I will be traditionally mailing. So I've looked into various places to purchase recycled paper products. Here is one that I've found and am very interested in:

Natural Banana Paper
from http://www.ecopaper.com

"Our organic banana papers are made from combining tree free agricultural bio-products coupled with 100% post consumer content to create a beautiful paper that is laser and printer compatible. Both the agricultural by-product of the plantations and the post consumer paper create serious solid waste problems worldwide--help combat both with these tree-free papers. A percentage of each sale goes towards an orphanage in San Jose Costa Rica."

The Banana paper has a neat texture to it and it looks very natural, which I also like. We're thinking that our invitation style will be very simple in order for us to use less paper and we're hoping to print these ourselves. I may get crafty and add alittle of my own traditional art to each invitation, but we'll see how much time I have! :-)


Medical/Scientific Wine Charms!

I promise this blog will not be totally about wine charms, but last night while celebrating my birthday early, I decided to try my bottle cap charm idea and it turned out WONDERFULLY! I'm so excited, that I have to share it with you!

I have been collecting bottle caps for a while for an art project that I never got around to doing, so I'm going to use them for the wine charms! Instead of showing the beer brand on the cap, I'm covering them with various things: magazine ads, anatomy atlases, catalogs, road maps, etc. I can also flip them over and put an image on the inside to differentiate them from other sets. My mom went through her jewelry box and sent me some old broken necklaces and shells. I have plenty to work with now!

This first one comes from the 2006 Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) member salon catalog (i had an extra one). A great way for me to share my profession with my wedding guests! I will also have the catalog available for the guests to look at if they are interested in seeing the full illustration from which their wine charms were designed!

Illustration source:
How a Pandemic Strain Emerges

Alice Y. Chen -- A.Y. Chen Illustration & Design

*Note* If you're in this catalog and DO NOT want your illustration made into wine charms, please email me. I will credit every illustration on the card that goes along with each set of charms. On the other hand, if you WANT a set of charms made from your illustration, just let me know! :-)
Also, if this is totally inappropriate and infringes on copyright, please let me know! I think these illustrations make amazing charms and would spark great conversations!


My "Secret" Handmade Wedding Favors!

This project has been approved by the hubby-to be, which makes it official! I will be hand-making wine charms for each guest!

I am unsure if there will be a set of 4 for each guest, or just one. (It depends on how fast I can make them!) Here's the fun part--these charms will be made from things I find around the house, such as old jewelry, beads, buttons, old keyboard keys, etc! The samples I made are from an old computer keyboard and a broken necklace! I am so excited to really get started making these!

Today I was alittle too excited when I started because I had an accident with the superglue! (hint: it was all over my hands!) So I guess I'll be peeling that off for the rest of the weekend. :-)

If anyone has any cool suggestions for everyday items that would make cute charms, please let me know! The more ideas I have, the better!


Recycled wedding favors!

Toni, one of my bridesmaids shared this website, Do It Yourself Weddings, with me and it got the creative juices flowing! It has lists and links to different crafty projects from favors, invitations and programs to centerpieces and garters! One of my project ideas is to make my own garter! I would love to have a variety of pieces of clothing from each of the women in my family incorporated into the garter. When I go home in February, I will be attacking my grandmother's attic to see what treasures I can find!

Another project from the website that I really liked was a wedding invitation made from a champagne label! So unique! I may consider something like this if we choose to do any save-the-date cards.

Handmade Wedding Invitation

After spending a few too many hours researching this, I came up with a great idea for wedding favors!! It's using things found around the house and each will be unique and handmade by me! I can't wait to get started, but I will leave you in suspense until I have a few samples to post! One clue: it's something to use when you're drinking wine. :-)

Here are a few more links that I have found helpful.
Esty.com Buy & Sell Handmade
Eco Etsy


The dress.

Sorry for the week-long hiatus. I just recently started a new position with Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, so I've been adjusting to the crazy schedule I will now have!

First, I MUST share an awesome link that I found!
I've come across many different wedding contests, but this one takes the cake! Toilet Paper Wedding Dresses! If I were savvy at sewing, I would definitely make my own dress, but I can't even imagine the skill one must have to sew toilet paper!

So since we are on the topic of dresses, I have been running into issues. I have been trying to find eco-friendly ideas for wedding gowns such as second-hand dresses, organic fabric, Craig's List, eBay, etc. Most of the pre-owned dresses I have found that are in my price range are just (to put it nicely) not my style AT ALL. I have found GREAT sites like PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com and WoreItOnce.com. I am still looking at these sites in case "my perfect dress" appears in the listings, but the artist inside of me REALLY wants to design my own!

My mom found a bridal shop in Ft. Dodge, Iowa that can copy any style of dress and add unique features. So, I have just started researching organic fabrics. I'd like my dress to be very simple and comfortable, but it's hard to find stores that carry organic fabrics so that I can TOUCH them! :-) (I know I live in Chicago, it should be fairly easy, so I will keep trying!)

If anyone has any links or suggestions, please send them my way! I know that this is going to be the toughest part of the wedding planning, but I am hoping to learn a lot!


Biodegradable silverware and garbage bags!

First off, we found a fabulous caterer! The family business Lidderdale Country Store will be catering our reception! Not sure what the menu will be, but I do know it will be delicious!

Uncle Bill and my dad are working with us to be as green as possible. I know there are real plates and silverware available to use, but I hate having to make someone do all those dishes, especially since we will have a lot of guests. So we've been looking into biodegradable table service. I've found a few websites that seem do-able, but we'll definitely have to make room in our budget if this is what we want to use.

The first site I came across was Branch: sustainable design for living They offer compartment plates made of 100% sugar cane fiber (bagasse), a byproduct of the sugar refining process. They also have silverware and nice looking cold cups. This site however, does not offer samples for sale. I'd like to see the durability of the products before I buy a case of 500!

My mom then brought up a good point. How horrible is it to have biodegradable silverware when you throw it into a PLASTIC garbage bag! So I searched around and came upon this site: The Biodegradable Store. They have biodegradable garbage bags of all sizes, as well as silverware, plates and cups. They also had a "heavy-weight" option for the silverware AND samples available! I may go ahead and order a sample of the plates and silverware. I'm just curious to see what compostable corn silverware is like!

I know the biodegradable option may be adding more of a cost to our budget, but if we can save in other areas, I'd really like to do it. Does anyone have any other sites they have come across, or other suggestions? Or are there any dishwasher volunteers out there? :-)


Reception site: Konferenz Centre

The Konferenz Centre is where we will be having our reception and is located directly across from the Hausbarn. We have rented the entire place which contains Hansen Halle (a large events area), Roten Bar Tavern, and a Dining Room area with a fully-equipped spacious industrial kitchen.

The attempt to be "green" in this case is that the ceremony and reception are at the same site. We will be encouraging our guests to carpool not only to be environmentally-friendly, but also because the parking lot is not gigantic. There is also a discussion about the possibility of a busing system for guests from the hotels to the ceremony, but we haven't worked out those details yet.

Another "Green" factor is that the money needed to rent the facility goes to the Manning Heritage Foundation to help with the preservation of the Hausbarn and Heritage Park.

Here are a few pictures of each room of the building.

Hansen Halle

Roten Bar Tavern

Dining Room