Mrs. Kuz 2 B!

An Antique, Down-Home Wedding – Our Way


February 2012

Adventures in calligraphy

When I started thinking about the invitations, I had just thought some simple pieces of paper in an envelope with information on it will suffice…boy was I about to be hit in the head by a proverbial 2×4.  There can be simple invites, but there are also what is now known to me as invitation suites; a whole booklet of invitation information.

Image via Weddingbee
Anyway, our whole invitation process will have to wait until after our guests have received their own invitations. (I’d say at least another 4 months.)
This post relates to the fancy writing on those pretty papers.  Now, I know most people these days have fallen in love with embossing and letterpress, but those were not in our budget at all.  As I soon found out, neither is custom calligraphy.  So, as with so many out-of-budget projects before, I thought I could learn calligraphy.  A money-saving project and a new skill, all in one swing!
I bought a well-rated calligraphy set online and was pretty excited when it arrived.  Sadly, I didn’t touch that thing for 3 months.  After that, it was another 4 months before I really broke it out and started playing with it.  During that time, our guest list began to grow, so I knew there was no way I was going to make the whole invitation, but I thought I could at least address all the envelopes, plus the inner names.  From reading others’ experiences, I knew I was going to need some practice time.  I didn’t want to waste ink on just practicing, so I waited until I had a project that I needed to write, but wasn’t so important if I messed up.  Then I remembered I had to write on the back of all my tags on the jelly I made for our favors. If I messed up, no epic fail on this one.  I had about 300 tags to write, so I figured by the end of that, I should have things under control.
A little side note…I have terrible handwriting.  If I take my time and think about what I am writing, it’s legible, but usually not.  I remember frequently in high school, my papers were mistaken for a boy’s because of my awful penmanship.  I don’t even want to explain my signature.
So I broke out my little kit and went to town.  For anybody wanting to try their own calligraphy, here are my lessons learned:
1) Buy a good calligraphy set (if you know you will really use it).  The kit I bought was highly recommended, but it was a cheaper set.  I think it was just meant for someone who wanted to try it out, which was exactly what I was looking for, at first.  Afer a few hundred tags, by finger was getting rubbed raw from the plastic grip.  It did come with a very nice instruction book and 3 different tips.
2) Take your time…really!  If you think you can write as fast as you want or as fast as you usually write, you are in for really sloppy calligraphy.
one of my first attempts
3) It is really hard to write in a straight line.  I started laying a piece of paper with a dark line underneath the tag, so I would have something to follow.  This is what happened whan I didn’t follow a line.  This might be simple for people who can write legibly to start with.  (You have to remember my bad regular handwriting)
not in a straight line
Not in a straight line
4) Try out different styles, but then try to remember which ones they were, and stick to making each letter look the same.  I tried making something fancy, and I tried simple.
a bit fancier (still not straight)getting a little better
5)  Remember to lift and set (again, taking your time).  Calligraphy letter are all about different pieces, not one fluid motion.  I had to remember this is not a ball point pen that rolls.  This is a piece of straight metal…it doesn’t like to roll.
Once I remembered to take my time and have fun with it, I came out with some pretty cool looking writing.

 Alas, my last lesson:

6) Don’t bite off more than you chew.  I wanted to do a lot of writing.  After just 300 words, I wanted to quit!  I now realize why calligraphy is so expensive!  There was no way I was going to have the patience to address over 250 invitation!  My new goal is to at least have some fun and use calligraphy to write the names on the inner envelope. 
Anyone else start a project, then figure out sometimes things were better left to the professionals?

The Dudes’ Duds

Now that we have gotten the ladies dressed and myself, it was time to think about what the guys were going to wear down the aisle.

As Mr. Kuz and I started discussing the possibilities, I found that he had a whole idea worked out in his head already!  I really shouldn’t be surprised at this point, because of all the other things he has spouted out so far, but I guess I’ll never learn.  He did ask me a some point what the girls were wearing, so he did try to coordinate something!

Now as we were thinking things through, we had some similar ideas (like color), but then some not so similar thoughts (like what clothes should be worn). 

My idea was to go with a classic, but somewhat antique feel…kind of like the old west.  Keeping with our low-budget theme, I wanted the guys to wear black suits, with long sleeve ivory shirts and just full vests, no jackets.  I think this picture inspired me the most.

Image from

I love how relaxed the men look and the chick there in the black dress justified my decision on the ladies dresses.  It looks formal enough, but not like the men are being restrained.  Another reason for the vests?  My favorite celebrity man!

Blake Shelton! Image courtesy of here.

You know how couples agree that they each have that one celebrity, that if said celebrity came calling, all bets are off?  Yeah, that’s mine. (Mr. Kuz knows it too.)  Anyway, I love that look.  And since Mr. Kuz will be wearing his boots, why not look a little bit country?  Because, let’s face it, we are a more than a little bit country. 

I’ve always had something for the rolled-up sleeve look for some reason and I could almost see him wearing black jeans.  He wore his jeans to my college formal, with a western cut jacket and a white shirt. (sorry, I have no idea where we have pictures of that).  I thought he never looked better.  Mr. Kuz feels that our wedding needs to be a spit and polished look, so no jeans.  He also said nay to my vest idea. 

Mr. Kuz’s idea was for the guys to wear jackets over short sleeves and no vests.  He consented that if I really wanted vests, that they could be the backless type.  Ummm, no.   Every time I think of the usual vests used for weddings, this scene from The Proposal pops into my head. 

Screen shot from YouTube

 Plus, those vests always reminded me of bibs. (Am I crazy?)  So, we nixed the whole vest idea altogether. 

 I did have a problem with short sleeves, too.  He was dead set on that idea.  He began a whole search on every shirt site known to the world-wide web, even uniform company sites.  You know what he found?  Nothing, Zilch, Nada.  Apparently, in guy land, they don’t make an ivory, non-pocketed, short sleeve shirt.  Yay! (for me).  (And if anybody has a resource for these, please don’t share it with me so I can continue to claim ignorance.)  Also, we both loved the idea of gifting the guys custom cuff links to wear on that day, and cuff links are a no-go on short sleeves.

Our other conundrum were the ties.  He didn’t care what color the ties would be, so I stared to search for our primary color, copper.  They don’t make a lot of that one either.  Black ties it was!  Plus I scored them for $2.33 per tie on  Mr. Kuz wanted to go for the skinny tie look, and I was more than happy to comply at this point.  It was getting harder to dress the guys than the girls! 

I was finally settled.  Black pants with jackets, long sleeve ivory shirts, black ties.  Mr. Kuz told the guys they were free on the shoes, as long as they were black.  Now that I picture it, I think I might try to incorporate some color into their wardrobe…any ideas? 





THE dress. Part 3/3…The one where I said Yes to the Dress.

Mr. KUZ…GO AWAY.  THIS IS NOT FOR YOU TO READ.  If by chance you actually do read this.

To Everybody else, sorry it took so long, but vacation was nice!

So you all heard about my escapades in the dress hunt so far.  Well, after feeling that I wasn’t looking so hot, I postponed the dress shopping for a few months.  I still looked through my wedding porn almost weekly daily (haha…I have a stack of magazines in almost every room, including the bathroom).  I was hoping that my mom could make a trip up to see me and we could go shopping for a weekend.  There were a lot more possible places to shop here than back home.  But, I wasn’t thinking about shopping again until I heard the magic word…SALE!   I love a sale and I love a bit of competitiveness.  When Mestads down in Rochester announced they were having their 50% off the whole store sale, I thought it was worth checking out.  The sale was only for a few hours, but it held the promise of $10 bridesmaid dress, $3 shoes, and really cheap authentic designer dresses.

picture from a bridal show


I had never been to Rochester, so I thought I should do some recon and check things out.  I wanted to see the goods before the crazies get there…I had no idea what to expect.  I didn’t know if it would be a running of the brides NY thing.  So I made an appointment and ran down there by myself on a Saturday morning.  I could have asked any number of people to come along, but I wanted some alone time.  It’s when I think the best thinking and do my planning.  Getting things sorted out in my head first would help a lot. 

 Good thing I went down early…I got lost, even with my GPS.  (I love it when I get to an intersection where there is a no turn arrow and the GPS is telling you to make a U-turn).  After finding the place, and being 15 minutes late, I was met by a very understanding and smiling consultant named Jo.  When I walked into the place, I was braced for a mob…it was Saturday, in a pretty large city, and there was a sale coming up.  I was pleasantly shocked.  Now THIS is what I had in mind when going wedding dress shopping.  It was a quiet, beautiful place with rows and rows of dresses and helpful people everywhere.  There were no teenagers looking at prom dresses or people running into each other or sales reps yelling into a phone.  The dressing room was HUGMUNGOUS!  It had a platform on one side with a little step on it, several chairs and places to hang all your clothes and store your purse.  There were mirrors on every wall..helpful.  Out of the 2 bridal salons I had gone to so far, this was by far the best experience yet, and I hadn’t even seen any dresses!

Jo showed me around and explained how the dresses were organized (by size) and told me to pick out a few.  Another person was next to me and made trips to the dressing room with my picks.  I also told Jo what I was looking for (lace, sparkle, sophisticated, ivory, sweetheart neckline, flowy, lightweight).  I found a few that were ok.  Unfortunately, they are one of the salons that don’t allow pictures…I tried to sneak a few with my phone (BAD…I know.  I wanted to send them to my mom.), but nothing really turned out.   As it will turn out, I wouldn’t need to send them anyway.  Jo knew how to do her job better than me (DUH!).  She brought 2 dresses that were absolutely perfect.  The neat thing was they had a couple of things on my list, but they were never anything I would have picked out on my own.  I even looked at them on the rack and passed both up. 

The first of the two was light and sparkly.  It was a line made especially for Mestads.  It moved and felt great.  She then switched on the “special” lights.  I had never heard of or seen these before.  They are supposed to simulate the lighting in churches so you can see how the dress will look on the big day.  My draw dropped.  Now I really wanted it.  Jo had me walk around the store and then next to the big windows so I could see how it looked in the natural light.  Yup, still wanted it.  Jo suggested I try on one more and then I could go back and try this one on again.

The last one was IT!  It actually took me a bit of convincing, but now that I look at it and think about how I wanted to feel on our wedding day, it’s still perfect.  Here’s Ericka by Maggie Sottero!

It looks so classy, plus the color works wonders with my skin tone…white never fit me.  Maggie calls this pearl color.   It is heavy, but it feels great on, which is a great bonus! 
Since I was there to primarily look for deals for our trip during the week, I asked Jo what could be done to save this for me.  She said there was no way to hold it for the sale, but if I called her at the same time the doors open, she can grab it for me then and hold it.  A few days later, 4 of my 5 bridesmaids plus my future Mother in Law all made the trip with me…I felt so lucky and grateful to them for taking time off work and coming along!  I made our game plan while standing in a not too long line while getting bombarded by local wedding vendors and having music blasted in my ear from a way too loud DJ they had there for the event.  I think the vendors finally got the hint to leave us alone after a few of my ladies told them to get away.  Funny…some of my ladies were much more dressed up than my and the vendors kept thinking they were the ones getting married…not too observant of the rings on their hands I guess.  I told the girls what sizes we were looking for and to grab anything that might look promising for our range of size (2-18).  You can bet that right at 3 I had Jo’s number on my phone and prepared to hit the send button.  I did multiple times and finally got through and asked for Jo.  She immediately remembered me and the dress.  Since they were only letting a few people into the store at once, we had to wait about a half hour, but I knew Jo had my dress.  We even had time to look through the outside racks for dresses before making my way to the desk for Ericka’s pick-up.  They allowed us the use of a dressing room, but for only 20 minutes.  We fit all 6 of us in there (I told you they were big dressing rooms) and everyone tried on their dresses.  We only manages to get one bridesmaid dress (for $10.  Ten freaking dollars!), but we got my dress too, so I call it a productive trip!  We had a few cocktails afterwards as a reward (we found the closest bar there was…some of us had to use the bathroom, and the rest just wanted a drink…none of us are the huge crowd type.  We also treated ourselves to Mexican later. 
I’m so excited!  I do have to have some alterations done, but since it is a corset back, my only huge obstacle is my height (or lack thereof).  Next adventure of the dress will be alterations!
Anyone else find their dress in a unexpexcted way?

THE Dress Part 2/3


My next dress shopping experience is where all brides go at some point in the quest for a dress; David’s Bridal.  I knew I would try this eventually just because I knew they would have things in my size, plus there was one only 40 minutes from my house. 

 I met MOH ‘Lil T there and immediately walk into a circus.  We went there on a Sunday, thinking it would be less busy than a Saturday…WRONG!  I also made the mistake of forgetting it was prom season coming up.  It never entered my cranium that girls would go there for prom dresses.  When I hear “bridal”, I think wedding dress.  Anywho, there were about 6 girls trying on dresses with their moms.  I think there were only 6 dressing rooms, but I had an appointment, so I guess one was reserved for me.  I met my consultant, who was very nice.  I had gone online and picked some dresses out that I wanted to try on.  She immediately informed me that about half of those weren’t at this store.  FAIL!  Oh well, it was just shopping around anyway.

I picked out a couple of dresses to replace the ones they didn’t have in stock.  The consultant asked me to describe my wedding, and I told her it was more antique and rustic with a little bit of glam.  I told her I wanted lace, not a lot of poof, a sweetheart neckline and light fabric.  She ran with it and came back with a few which she proceeded to stuff into the tiny dressing room.  Since I had ‘Lil T with, she left me in the room with neither one of us having no clue how to get into these dresses.  Plus, the night before I had smashed my finger in a door, so I didn’t really have the use of my right hand.    After a few trial and errors of turning and loosing ourselves in taffeta, we got it figured out.  I came out in the first dress and wasn’t really that impressed.  Not really with the dress, but with me in the dress.

  I was beautiful, but the halter itched and it showed way too much of the chest nuts.  I loved the bottom of it.  I moved around in the dress because I really wanted to love it.  It was exactly what I had in mind, but I knew better than to lie to myself and try to make something work.  As I was moving around, the manager came over with my consultant and introduced herself.  Not sure why…trying the old schmooze ’em routine I guess.

Anyway I stuffed myself and my sister back into the dressing room and went for the next try.  It was after this that my consultant seemed to disappear for about 20 minutes at a time.  I loved that she wasn’t hovering, but there were dresses I had questions about and it was kind of aggravating not being able to get answers to those questions.  (There needs to be a happy medium here of not annoying, but available.)  Here are a few more of the rejects.

All of these I found one thing wrong or another…too poofy, not enough lace, looks like a prom dress, makes me look like I have holster hips…you know the usual nit-pickyness I have and my crazy head demanding perfection.   I was looking for something a little more sophisticated.  I will be 28 by the time we are married and I can’t see myself wearing a poofy wedding gown that makes me look like I am playing dress up.  Then the consultant (who magically reappeared) brought me a more fitted one.

This one I loved to the point I wasn’t taking it off.  For at least a half hour, I walked around David’s Bridal telling myself I need to really love it and make sure I’m comfortable.  I loved how the bottom moved and the sparkles and the lightweight and the neckline and the train and the belt and I could go on forever!  But (and this is a BIG but), it was slightly out of my budget.  The consultant came over and slapped the obligatory veil on my head…I don’t know, to make me love it more and pull out the plastic?  There was a sale going on (DB always has a sale going on), but I wanted other opinions.  Mainly, my mom’s.  So I got out of the dress while T sent some pics to my mom of this dress plus one of the others I had only liked.  Several hours later mom called me and asked “Which one do you like…I hope it’s not the more fitted one?”  My stomach just dropped.  Now I don’t have a thin body…I am curvy, but I never thought I was way over average.  Because of the fact that they had this dress in my size to try on was helpful and I thought I looked pretty good it in.  I knew I would lose weight by the wedding, but it was just more toning up that I wanted to do.  Mom didn’t think I could wear this style.  Nothing against Mom’s opinion, but her fashion and mine are not near the same.  We aren’t even in the same time zone.  Mom is much more old-fashioned and conservative while I like to mix in some trendy and have things a little more fitted. 

So, I said no to this dress.  I still had a looong time until my wedding and plenty of time to shop around.  This was only the 8th dress I’d tried on.  Maybe there was something else out there…stay tuned! 








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