August 29, 2008

'Cause It Takes Me So Long Just To Figure Out What I'm Gonna Wear

Yes, things have been manic around here. I wanted to pop in super quickly though to give an update on what the hold up is!

The past few weeks have been nuts with weddings ... this weekend being no exception ... so we're looking forward to some wind down time to catch up on all admin goodies come next week!

I've manged to line up a few new guest authors as some people are bidding us adieu so keep your eyes open for those changes!

Most exciting for me, the complete Moments That Shine team should be starting to blog ... woohoo!

Have a fantastic last long weekend of the summer!


PS ... here's a shout-out to FBer Kissa whose day will finally arrive on Sunday. Have an incredible time, girl!!!

August 25, 2008

I've Been Waiting For Somebody

That's it. The day is here. I'm ready to make the announcement!

I'm thrilled to say this year's blog contest writer will be ...
TAMARA! Welcome to the mix Tam and I do hope you're going to love the craziness from behind the scenes at the blog!

Once again, huge kudos to all contestants. The decision was anything but easy and I truly had a blast talking to all of you. For anyone wondering, here is where everyone else wound up with the judges:
2nd Place: Kristin
3rd Place: Katherin & Scott
4th Place: Kelly
5th Place: Michelle W
6th Place: Lauren S

Also, big huge ENORMOUS thank yous to the judges and the vendors who have graciously donated their time and goods to the contest. In the coming weeks I hope to profile all the companies who have passed something along. In the meantime, kindly visit their sites ...
.: JBSmith Photography :.
.: SugarTree Photography :.
.: Irina Photography :.
.: Derek Macrae :.
.: Serendipity :.
.: Hair By Gera :.
.: Kake Kreations :.
.: MGX Productions :.
.: Vivian's Decorations & Design :.
.: Flour Confections :.

August 18, 2008

In Love With A Girl

And our last finalist ... I think you'll be loving this one! :)


The Intro’s:
For all of you reading this blog thinking “let’s see what this bride has to say about her wedding planning to date, and if she’s going through the same fun &/or stress as me” you’re going to get a little surprise.....I’m the groom!

It seems that most of the blogs out there are from the bride’s point of view which is most likely due to the fact that every groom’s head is spinning and the last thing we have the ability to do right now is blog about the process.

So on with the introductions. My name is Lawrence, and I’m a 28 year-old software sales representative. My Fiancée’s name is Kate and she is 26 years old. She works full-time in Toronto and is back at university part-time. She plans our wedding in her spare time (with my assistance of course).

We met (and sparks flew…) during the 2003 blackout while were scrubbing 1000’s of restaurant dishes (by hand) in the kitchen of the hotel chain we both worked for. At the time, we were both in relationships – but shortly thereafter we began dating.

Fast-forward to December 25th, 2007 - the day I proposed. Kate had always told me that she never wanted to get engaged on Christmas Day because it was, well… “corny”. I know, I know, you’re all probably thinking “buddy, if she told you she didn’t want to get engaged on Christmas, why did you do it?” And, you’re probably right – but the thing is over the past 5 years I have tried hopelessly to surprise Kate on numerous occasions (and I do mean NUMEROUS) and it has always ended the same way.... let’s just leave it at… NOT GOOD! So my plan was brilliant – she would never expect it. And, let me tell you, she certainly didn’t suspect a thing! That’s right - chalk one up for Lawrence!

Anyways, roughly a week after the proposal, the wedding planning started. So far we’ve booked our venue and photographer, but I’ll continue to fill this engagement blog with all the details of what it’s like preparing for a wedding, from MY perspective.

So, please stay tuned over the next 15 months as we plan our October 17, 2009 wedding, buy our first house, and potentially get a job transfer to London, England. All I ask is that you bear with me. I’m learning as I go.

August 15, 2008

where did all the pew bows go?

JESS-I was just standing in our shop, enjoying the tunes on the stereo and watching the street as my hands flipped shiny ribbons back and forth into simple pew bows for tomorrows wedding. As my mind wandered I suddenly realized it has been at least a year since I made a pew bow.

I am not sure when they seemed to go out of vogue, but as I think on it more I now barely even mention them in a consultation as no bride seems to want to go that route. Which I think is a real shame. Pew ends, chair decorations, aisle markers, call them want you will, these are one of those little details that people don’t miss if you don’t do them, but boy do they notice when you do!

So I say “bring back the pew end”! These little gems add colour and a sense of grandeur to the ceremony, and can continue on to the reception to add interest to your evening (how about hanging them around the courtyard railing, decorating the backs of your head table chairs or along the front of your desert table?) And I’m not talking some frilly tulle bow (though there’s nothing wrong with that!) why not show some extra style and choose an unusual container with a cool cluster of flowers- something a little bit mod?

Yes, if you are on a small and tight budget, pew ends are usually the first item to get chopped, but consider asking your florist to get creative, you don’t have to do the whole aisle, how about just two at the front to usher your guests in? Remember, its all in the details!

Shake Ya Tail Feather

Going for a theme again with this week's Etsy favourites ... feathers! Let me tell you ... their style has come a LONG way in weddings since my mom's blue & white all feathers bouquets back in the nineties (no offense, Mom). I have a feeling even she would agree with this one after seeing these pictures :)

Hats have been making a comeback on this side of the pond for a while now. I love the colours in this one by GillBoulter!

Instead of all feathers as your bouquet and to dress up the one you have, why not look at this by pinkposy?

Often as guests, part of the bridal party or even the bride we're looking for that perfect purse to add some punch to our wedding outfit. I love this one by Bethany.

How about some feathers with colour? Love love love this hair accessory by Mikiye. It looks striking in dark hair ... hmmm ... wonder if I have anywhere to wear it :)

And now for my favourite of the week. Actually, I have a tie this week because I couldn't decide which I love more.

First ...

These feather hair pins by mezzo.

They add subtle wisps of colour and movement but nothing too big ... awesome for those who don't want a veil or elaborate hair-do. I definitely would have gone for these myself.

And the second ...

This amazing dress by LondonDemimonde. The extra piece of dimension, the pieces of colour, the way it catches the light ... what a beautiful way to embellish a dress!!!

August 14, 2008

Fell For The Woman Just When I Met Her

Still going strong with the contest entries! This one comes from the lovely Michelle ...

Wedding proposals are tough. There's a lot of pressure to do them right, so that there's a good story to regale everyone with afterwards. Before getting engaged ourselves, FH and I thought we had heard just about every type of engagement story.

One friend was falling asleep after a long day of work when her boyfriend suddenly turned on their bedroom light, reached under the bed for the ring, and abruptly proposed. She said yes, and fell promptly back to sleep.

My cousin had an elaborate Amazing Race type of adventure all around Toronto that ended with a romantic proposal at the top of CN Tower, where they had their first date eight years ago. The only catch to the story was that she had helped her boyfriend plan the whole thing out beforehand.

A third friend went out shopping at Yorkdale Mall and asked his girlfriend if there was anything he could pick up for her while he was there. Half-jokingly, she suggested a diamond engagement ring. So he did.

Looking back, when my turn came, it should have been so obvious that FH was about to propose. We had driven out to his hometown during Thanksgiving weekend, and were staying at his parents' house. The morning of, he suggested going on a picnic, which may have been a suspicious sign for some women, but hey, I was lucky that FH enjoyed doing random things like that. I agreed, but when the weather took a turn for the worse and started to pour, I suggested holding off on the picnic. FH agreed but nervously looked out the window every ten minutes for the next hour. As soon as the rain started to subside, he said “Let’s go!” and grabbed a picnic basket out of nowhere. No sooner had we gotten in the car, it started to pour again, but FH insisted we go anyway. We went to a local park beside the river, found a nice spot under a beautiful pagoda bridge (mostly for the shelter, since it was still raining!) and ate some turkey sandwiches. By this time, FH was sweating, which I didn’t realize, thinking that he had gotten wet in the rain. Then he fumbled for a piece of paper in his pocket and started to read a poem he had written about our lives together. When he took the ring out of his pocket and asked me to marry him, I flung my arms around him and shouted yes while sobbing and laughing hysterically. I hadn’t even seen the ring yet, but boy was I glad when I did. He chose a ring that was exactly me. He tried to put it on my finger, but grabbed the wrong hand which only made me laugh harder.

All day, we kept looking at each other with wide eyes and mouthing “we’re engaged!” It was the best day, and a story that I won’t mind telling over and over again in the years to come.

August 13, 2008

Shed Some Light On Me Please

Today Moments That Shine went on a road trip and met up with the extremely talented and lovable Jessica of JBSmith Photography. We were in search for some new business shots and maybe a little gossiping over lunch. Good friends, good laughs, good times all around. The day didn't start off well with the missing of the GO Train and a bit of a rain storm (and humidity!) but I know in the end it was worth it.

While Jess makes us wait for the final product, I thought I'd post a few pictures of her on the job ... it's fun to turn the tables on the photographer for once ... even if it's only pictures of her back ;)

Here's Jessica snapping headshots for Crystal ...

And here's Nicole! (she turned heads like *crazy* all day)

We retired to a great Mexican restaurant afterwards in Jessica's hood for a little guacamole and other goodies. I thought some candids might be in order. I'm sure everyone was impressed :P

Look! Jessica's face! Sorry for the lighting ... blasted windows.

I think one of my favourite moments of the day was when two strangers jumped in and asked to take photos with us. I'm sure Jessica will pass along the result. Honestly, a total blast :)

We're Gonna Be Alright

Today let's go with ...

“Along for the Bride”

One of my biggest struggles in the process of wedding planning has been the whole idea of “envisioning my dream wedding”. Most of the things I think I want (a pretty dress, good food, good music, and an open bar) are not based on some childhood fantasy, but rather on the things I’ve criticized about other peoples’ weddings.

Case in point: I realized that the physical staging of the ceremony was important to me not when I closed my eyes and pictured my own vows, but when I watched two friends stand awkwardly two feet apart during their ceremony a few weeks ago, largely because their officiant hadn’t given them direction during the rehearsal. While I’d never expect my partner and I not to hold hands during the ceremony, it was only then that it dawned on me how important it was. So, while I might not have my own unique wedding vision, I can at least envision the things I don’t want.

Only in ridiculing opulent wedding cakes in magazines did I realize that having one wasn’t important to me. Thankfully, the only dessert my fiancé wants at the end of the long day/night is a pizza-flavoured one. Our plan to go cake-less has met much resistance, but not from the usual suspects like mothers and aunts, but rather, from my decidedly non-married girlfriends. While slicing in to an overpriced slab of sugar has never been a part of my wedding vision, apparently the moment is something my friends, years away from their own weddings, have already decided is important, and think they I should think so, too. If it hadn’t been for Eva Longoria (-Parker) and the two page spread in In Style Weddings detailing her million-dollar meringue creation, I might have never realized that this is just not what we want, and that my hard-earned dollars are better spent on a sweet/savoury table that will please many more of our guests than any pretty pile of fondant ever could.

Still, it is becoming increasingly difficult to go about planning a wedding with only a “don’t do” list in my mind. Sure, I’ve torn pages from magazines of dresses and flowers I “think” are pretty, but how much do I really want these things? It is impossible to shop for a wedding dress when I cannot picture myself in one, and I have no sketches in my fourth-grade math notebook to remind me of what I’ve always wanted. Instead, I can sort of envision what I don’t want, and can see, clearly as wedding cake-topper, what others want for me.

In the end, the only thing I can really envision for my “dream day” is my fiancé and I as equals, surrounded by the people we love, having a good time and celebrating. And really, isn’t that all that matters? That, plus the glass of wine I envision in my hand. I am sure that if I stick to this vision, the rest will fall into place eventually.

August 12, 2008

And Now To Me You're Everything

Another fabulous finalist in the blog contest!

Nervous isn’t the right word. Anxious either. Paranoid? Maybe.

I knew from day one that I liked her. Love her even. But what if she didn’t like me? That would be awkward to say the least.

I prepped myself that morning, took my time in the shower, blew my hair out nice, apply just the right amount of makeup and took a look at myself in the mirror. Yes, that would do.

I hopped in my car and parked at the designated spot agreed to by one of my bridesmaids, and got into her car.

“You ready?” she said with a smile.

“I think so.” I said back, clenching my fists, willing them not to go clammy.

We drove to our destination, got out of the car and made our way inside. I paced around nervously, telling myself that the meeting would be great. She would love me just as much as I love her and then there she was. Beautiful, still in her plastic. My dress. THE dress.

I pulled her out, slipped her on and had a store attendant help me with the back. I made my way to the mirror and instantly knew. She did love me just as much as I loved her. So much so, that she would make me feel like the most beautiful bride on my wedding day.

Needless to say, it was a match made in Heaven!

August 11, 2008

You Are My Twin Moon

Our next featured blog entry is from a fun bride planning things from a bit of an untraditional angle ... it sounds like it's going to be great!

Here Come the Brides…

In general, I have found that living life as one part of a lesbian duo is less hassle than the straight alternative. When we see a new mother holding a baby we both grab our abdomens in that oh-God-I-wish-I-could-just-steal-him/her-and-move-to-Hawaii-kinda-way and totally get what the other is feeling. When my dear Aunt Flo has come to visit and having sex seems less appealing than dropping a cartoon anvil on my lovely fiancée’s head, she is able to hand me a bottle of Midol, rub my feet and not take any of my crazy-talk personally. Nobody in my household thinks that it’s funny to fart and hold somebody’s head under the sheets. I can dress my terrier in a leopard print jacket with pink-fur on the collar without a lot of flack (true story). And agreeing on a video at Blockbuster is actually quite easy.

So, I naturally assumed that planning a wedding with two creative, energetic and organized brides would be a snap. I mean how many times have I heard my straight girl friends complaining that their husbands were less than enthusiastic when it came to wedding planning? My friend Trish, barely audible through muffled sobs on the other end of my phone, saying “The tux, the tux, all he had do was order his own tux. Could he do that? Could he manage to pick up the phone and make that one simple call?” was ringing a bell as I sat in my perfectly clean (because no boys live here) condo imagining what would ultimately be my (err… I mean our) flawless wedding day.
Staring down at my black titanium engagement ring with the perfect princess-cut diamond sparkling under the glow of the energy-efficient light bulb my darling had just replaced in my desk lamp, I felt a little like the cat who ate the canary. But as anyone who watched Saturday morning cartoons as a child (or as an adult) knows, Tweety Bird generally struggles enough and eventually gets out of Sylvester the Cat’s mouth. That happened to me when my fiancée came into the room asking for my mother’s second cousin’s address. It went something like this:

Me: “Why do you need her address? The wedding is over a year away. Are we even inviting her?”
Her: “Yes we’re inviting her – you’re mother already emailed me her guest list and she’s on it. How am I supposed to send her an STD if I don’t have her address?”
Me: “You’re sending her a what?!”
Her: “A Save the Date card. I have three samples made. You can see them after you get me her address.”

Is having two brides in a wedding like having two cooks in the kitchen? I guess we will see. Hopefully our wedding will be made with two parts love, one part compromise and only a tiny, little dash of disagreement for flavor.

August 10, 2008

There is Nothing I Could Hide From You

Quick! I neglected to post my Etsy finds last week! Let's get this done now ... the week doesn't end until midnight on Sundays, right?

Love the of monogramming your way through a wedding? This particular design is currently sold out (sorry ... I couldn't resist the picture though) but LSeabol has many other elegant designs ...

How about accessories for the reception?

Beads are a wonderful way to add colour and personality to the festivities. This server by tiemdye and this signing pen by breathtakingbracelet add that perfect splash of *you*!

I wouldn't be me if I didn't add some bling to the weekly finds, right? How about this hair pin by EricaBapst? I especially love the colours in the beads here.

And my favourite of the week???

Love love love this dress. It's not always easy to find the right bridal dress but there is a lot of choice. What about attire for the pint-sized girl of the day though? This find tells so much about the designer, couple and model, it's great! Made by cadenzaclothing.

August 9, 2008

In Your Eyes I See That Perfect World

I would like to start sharing the wonderful blog entries with everyone. This one was on all of the judges' lists so we must have liked it ;)

The Proposal

Naked. In bed. At 2:00 in the morning on a Wednesday night. Or technically Thursday morning I suppose. Either way, this is NOT how I imagined my marriage proposal.

Ever since I was a little girl, I had this fantasy idea of how my proposal would take place. After a beautiful Saturday dinner out, I imagined going for a walk in some fantastically romantic park setting, near a river or something. Then, just like in the movies, my boyfriend would get down on one knee, gently take my left hand, beam a nervous smile up at me and pop open a Birks silver box containing the Ring while saying those four magical words... "Will you marry me?".

So getting engaged at 2:00 in the morning mid-week, with pillow tousled curls and tossed bed sheets; well, hearing those magical words being uttered in that setting was a bit jarring.

No we hadn't just rocked the world in that bed, prompting that sudden proposal. I wish! ;-) Instead, my partner and I had been winding up a long day of talking, crying and negotiating our future. Why tears? Because just yesterday, my man woke me up at the end of a night shift to inform me that he had orders to ship out to Afghanistan in February 2009. He will be gone for six months, possibly nine. Neither of us slept much after that news.

Yes he’s in the military, in one of those jobs so top secret I don’t really even know what he does on a daily basis. Me? I’m a graduate student in my second year, working on finding an acceptable thesis topic.

Given my studies, I hadn’t envisioned getting married anytime soon. But something about having this man I love go so far away for so long suddenly prompted images of wanting to officially be Mrs. Military. For him, it was a way to feel his “perfect girl” would be taken care of while he’s gone and know that I’d be here when he got back.

And so, the proposal happened. It happened not at all like it was in my childhood fantasies. Nothing about it was the same. There was no pretty dress, no fabulously romantic setting, no ring. Those four little words weren’t said on bended knee. In fact, they weren’t even uttered by him.

I was the one who said them, not him.

Oh.. yeah.. His answer?

“yes!... Yes yes yes yes YES!”

I’m so happy!

August 8, 2008

Good Fortune's Found Me Out

The finalists for our annual blog contest have now been chosen!

After a grueling week of mulling things over with the other four judges, I'm happy to announce the talented and creative entries we felt stood out were from:

Katherin C
Kelly Y
Kristin I
Lauren S
Michelle W
Tamara P

Over the next little bit I'll be meeting with each lady or couple to get a feeling for their personalities and then will be back with the grand prize winner announcement!

Also, over the next few days I will be posting some of the entries so everyone can see why it was so difficult to narrow things down!



August 7, 2008

Pulling Weeds in the Later Afternoon Sun - Fooooour!


Probably my favourite season for flowers. Coming out of the winter funk, smelling the sweet scents and looking at the bright colours always lifts my spirits.

Here are a few lovely pictures for inspiration. As always, check for availability in your area. Also, please note that there are regulations in certain areas. For example, in Ontario dogwood is in bloom but since it's the provincial flower, florists are not permitted to sell it. If you want dogwood, look for a beautiful silk :)



Apple Blossom

Billy Buttons


Cherry Blossom







Lily of the Valley







Sweet Pea