Broke-Ass Tag: New York Bride

4/26

So the bridal shower has been sort of an ongoing issue with my bride tribe and I. To be honest, a shower was never even on my radar as something I would need to worry about. Isn’t that a time when friends and family get together and shower the bride with gifts? Shouldn’t her only job be to show up? Welp, apparently not.

My MOH is wonderful and I love her dearly. Planning parties is not her thing. If I say, find me someone who rents freezers in Syracuse, she will bring me a list of everything sorted by distance and price. We shop and brainstorm together while taking no prisoners. But apparently she lacks the genetic coding that allows me to say “will you plan the shower?” and for her to reply with” I’ve already booked the venue and have a menu set.” If you caught one of my earlier posts, you’d know what I’m talking about.

One of the tea cups my mother started hoarding

Fast forward to now. I’m living in another state and I’m about 300 miles from home. I rallied the other ‘maids to help my MOH with her planning. My sister and another ‘maid have been trying, unsuccessfully, to contact the venue I picked for the shower. The lack of response from the venue was at first manageable. The owner apparently had some sort of family emergency and was unavailable for a while. Since the owner is the one that books all events, my girls were at a standstill to book the venue. A week turned into two week and then well over a month with no phone calls being returned. The girls called a few times and got the same response. Well crap. This is not worth the hassle, back to the drawing board.

Teapot we got at an antique store

I have a family friend who has a giant house and hosts parties all the time. I had hesitated to ask her if she could host the shower, 1) because she can be a bit overwhelming at times, 2) she and my MOH do not get along, at all, and 3) I didn’t want her going wildly over the top with this, something that has happened before. But, desperate last minute times call for last minute measures. I casually texted her about something completely unrelated and mentioned that we were looking for venue suggestions if she knew any. Not an outlandish question, she’s well connected and party planning is her jam. She responded with the expected response of “you can have it here.” I’ll admit I was very relieved. Anything that she gets her teeth into will be beautiful and go off without a hitch. Problems? Welp, my sister has this vision of what she wants for my shower. I asked for a tea party. Little sandwiches, hats, tea, the whole pinkies up extravaganza. (Not to be confused with Alice and Wonderland).

My sister has been roaming the country and city side in search of antique tea items. She hopes to use them for centerpieces since buying 40 for everyone to drink out of is a bit insane. She asked my mother to help with tea-item acquiring and my mom has gone a little insane hunting down tea cups. Some of them are really stunning though and I plan on running away with them afterwards.

Sale at Michaels on tea party items

So, we now have a date, time and location. My sister is working with the friend and together they can hopefully create something awesome. Spoiler alert: I don’t really care what the party looks like. I’d just like to hang out with an awesome pack of ladies and drink tea in our fancy hats. I have a small army of cute hats that I’m currently debating which to wear. If only all my decisions were this difficult.  

What about you? Are you experiencing unexpected twists and turns when it comes to the shower?

  • 4/11

    If you saw my last post, you know what I’m in the middle of packing and moving everything. I can’t find anything because most of it is already packed. A few days before I found out I was getting a new job and moving, I started doing trials on drying flowers. As a broke, DIY bride, I was hoping I could preserve my own wedding bouquet and use it as art in a shadow box after the wedding.

    I scoured the Interwebs for tips and tricks and decided to do a dry run (pun intended) on some flowers I got for my birthday. In the chaos of moving, I didn’t take pictures of all of the steps, but some are self explanatory.

    29 Cup Snapware Container from Amazon

    I started with about 8 roses, a gerber daisy, and some random greenery. My bouquet will be sunflowers, but since they aren’t in season, the daisy had to do. I wandered over to amazon and picked up some Activa Silica Gel for Flower Drying. It comes in 5 pound boxes. I quickly realized one wasn’t enough and ended up with three. Depending on the size of your bouquet and the bin you put them in, you might need two or three. At first I tried using a Gladware container but quickly realized they weren’t deep enough so I also bought an 18.5 cup Snapware Container and a 29 cup Snapware Container since it was in the recommended with purchase section on Amazon. I really like these containers, but if you have a similarly sized one laying around, it should be fine. It does need to be air tight and deep enough to allow an inch of gel on the top and bottom of your flower. Roses have fairly tall blooms.

    Insert wire into stem and fold it over for later

    For the rose and gerber daisy, I trimmed the stem off right at the base and shoved about 3 inches of greenery wire into the stem. This will allow me to anchor it to the shadow box or back into a stem later on. Fold the wire over a few times and bend it up so it is out of the way.

    Fill around base of flower first to avoid petals spreading too far

    I 300% recommend laying out a towel or plastic drop cloth over your work area before you open the gel. Newspaper does not cut it and the gel gets everywhere and WILL scratch your furniture. Though it’s called gel, it has the consistency of fine sand. Pour about an inch of gel into the bottom of your chosen container. For tall blooms like roses you will want to cushion the sides of the bloom before adding any gel into the inside. Do this by placing the bloom down and pouring gel around it, slowly creating a little mountain. Do not fill the inside of the bloom until the mountain of gel reaches the top of the blooms. The gel is heavy and will crush, bruise, or bend the petals if you aren’t careful.

    “Bible paper fragile” dried rose

    I broke the lone gerber daisy removing it from the gel, so I do not have pictures of it. For flat petaled flowers like daisies and sunflowers, lay the flower petals down near the top of the container, on top of buried sturdier flowers like roses. Since these petals are flat, they are more likely to bruise and should only be covered with enough gel to cover it, not a drop more. I made the mistake of burying them deep in the gel and the extra weight bruised the petals and made it look gross. It’s OK if the stem and wire stick out a tiny bit from the gel — once the container is sealed, the gel pulls the moisture out of the air and will dry the stem as well.

    Rose petals can be dried in stacked layers

    There are detailed drying time charts included with the silica gel for each flower. Roses are densely petaled flowers and take a very long time to dry out. The instructions suggested four days but up to seven. I uncovered one at the four-day mark to find the interior still moist. There’s no such thing as over drying them apparently since they’ve been hanging out in the powdery gel now for about a month and are totally fine, some of these pictures were taken today. They seemed safer still in the gel for the move.

    The resulting dried flowers are SUPER CRAZY fragile. It feels a little like Bible paper, super thin and a little brittle. Whatever you decide to do with your dried flowers, make sure they are in a setting that will keep them from being bumped around.

    Rose petals, surprisingly, hold up to tons of weight unlike the daisy petals. I filled the 18.5 cup container full of layers of petals with the vague idea of saving them for my flower girl to throw. My venue requires real flower petals if they are to be thrown outside. I managed to get about one and a half roses’ worth of petals into the 18.5 cup container. The amount of space that the flowers take up is a bit staggering. The must be fully covered to dry properly.

    Dried rose petal

    After the allotted time passes, lay out your drop cloth again and grab a spare container. Gently pour the gel off until a bloom is visible. Dust it off with your fingers and make sure it’s fully visible before pulling it up (especially if its delicate like a daisy, roses are sturdier). Store the used gel in an airtight container. The box includes instructions for baking it once it has lost the blue, so don’t lose (or accidentally pack) the instructions, you’ll need them again.

    So a quick recap if you decide to dry your own flowers:

    • Silica gel is a bit pricey, but can be used over and over again
    • Sturdy flowers like roses can be buried deep, flat-petaled flowers like daisies should only get a light dusting of gel
    • Shove some floral wire into the base so you can attach them afterwards
    • They take up way more room than you think they will, plan accordingly
    • Use plastic or fabric drop cloths, newspaper just makes a huge mess
    • Make sure your container is actually airtight
    • No peeking! Wait the number of days in the instructions and then add a few more just for good measure

     

    Anyone have any other recommendations when drying your own flowers?

  • 1/30

    Free notebook from Cornell Catering I love shows and conventions; there is always swag, raffles, and free snacks. All things right up my alley. Good news my fellow brides and bros, bridal shows are huge and plentiful. Now, I’m essentially done planning my wedding, but I still like going to shows for inspiration and a few last minute vendors I need. Here are some tips…

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    1/2

    "Will you be my bridesmaid" card I made Bridesmaids. This single word can hold so many emotions, meanings, joys, and nightmares. I have a whole gang of important women in my life that I want to stand by me on my special day. My fiance, Michael, has a lot fewer friends than I, so I’ve always known that the number of bridesmaids I had would…

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  • 11/16

    I have always planned on having different centerpieces at each table. I saw a photo of another bride’s wedding that had her escort cards as little ticket stubs with each person’s name on one side and the name of their table on each. I completely fell in love with the idea. Unfortunately, the Etsy seller who made her cards no longer makes them. I found…

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    9/21

    As a DIY, oh-so-poor bride, I have always planned on making my own invitations. I have been fussing with designs, envelopes, and patterns for about two years solid. I even went through a phase where I planned on having an Etsy shop to give brides invitations on the cheap. Then I realized I have no artistic ability. Sadly, that’s kind of a prerequisite for being a…

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    8/24

    Exactly 14 seconds after you announce your engagement, you will get bombarded with questions. Have you set a date? Where? Theme? Colors? If you are anything like me, you kind of wanted to scream at everyone. “CHILL OUT YO, the ring hasn’t even gotten warm on my finger yet, I’ll let you know as soon as I know!!!” Confession time: We only got to share…

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  • 8/8

    Greeting all my fellow Broke-Ass brides and bros! I’m Danielle, everyone calls me Dee. My guy (finally) popped the question and I’m green for go on releasing the wedding kraken! WOOT WOOT! Michael and I will be getting married in Central New York in September 2017. We have a budget of $10,000, although we are pinching our pennies to have a $2000 emergency fund. Our…

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