Archive for the ‘Do It Your Own Damn Self’ Category

Despite not having a trained professional on site, the dance floor was hopping the night of July 23rd – and I did it all myself! I had decided early on that I did not want a lame wedding DJ, but it took me until about a month before to find “instructions” on how to orchestrate the correct flow with an iTunes playlist. Since it was so difficult for me to figure out, I wanted to share the playlist I created so future DIY brides can confidently create a party scene where everyone, from the little kids to the old timers, can get footloose.

(The entire reception was about 3 1/2 hours long. Keep in mind that our reception was a casual buffet, so the first 50 minutes or so were receiving line, buffet line and eating. Then there was a break in the music – created by physically separating the 1 playlist into 2 – for speeches…after that it was party time!)

When You’re Smiling – Blue Vipers of Brooklyn
Ain’t Too Proud to Beg – The Temptations
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) – The Four Tops
Little Duece Coop – The Beach Boys
Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
Hey Love – Stevie Wonder
Blueberry Hill –  Fats Domino
Mambo Italiano – Rosemary Clooney
Angelina/Zooma Zooma – Louis Prima
Tough Mary – Etta James
Let’s Do the Twist – Detriot Cobras
Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel
Fool in the Rain – Led Zeppelin
Only the Good Die Young – Billy Joel
Sugar, Sugar – Ike & Tina Turner
You Never Can Tell – Chuck Berry

[Break for speeches]

Twist and Shout – The Beatles
Start Me Up – Rolling Stones
Pink Cadillac – Bruce Springsteen
Play that Funky Music – Wild Cherry
Love Rollercoaster – Ohio Players
Lay Down Sally – Eric Clapton
Your Song – Elton John
You Send Me – Sam Cooke
Wished on the Moon – Billie Holliday
Brown Eyed Handsome Man – Chuck Berry
Cecilia – Simon & Garfunkel
Do You Love Me? – The Contours
Footloose – Kenny Loggins
White Wedding – Billy Idol
Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield
The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson
Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel
Jump In Line (Shake Shake Senora) – The Hit Crew
Can’t You Hear Me Knocking – Rolling Stones
Stars Fell On Alabama – Ella Fitzgerald & Louie Armstrong
All of Me – Frank Sinatra
Rock Me Baby – BB King & Eric Clapton
Come Around- M.I.A. feat. Timberland
Here Comes the Hotstepper – Ini Kamoze
Whatta Man – Salt-n-Pepa feat. En Vogue
Weak – SWV
Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes
Love Shack – The B-52’s
Musicology – Prince
Oh Sheila – Ready for the World
All Night Long – Lionel Richie
Let it Bump – Miss Elliott
Single Ladies – Beyonce
California Love – Dr. Dre & Tupac
Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-A-Lot
Yeah – Usher
Do I Move You? – Nina Simone
Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ – Journey
Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye
You Can Leave Your Hat On – Randy Newman
Just Say No To DJ’s graphic from Zazzle.com


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Despite dealing with finger-related complications from a recent surgery, my mom has been steadily working on sourcing and designing the paper flowers for the tin-can centerpieces. Originally we were thinking crepe paper flowers, but the color selection of crepe up in Maine left much to be desired, so she switched to tissue paper. Here’s what she’s come up with so far:

So cute! And those heart stamens are made out of a garland that she found. I love the colors and the different patterns mixed in add a nice touch. And she will wisely be traveling with them flat-packed, so assembling them together the week of will be a nice crafty activity.

This week has been a challenge of trying to get ahold of vendors to finalize details. Sure,  it was a holiday weekend, plus my home internet is oh-so-conveniently down until further notice, but it’s amazing to me how uneager these people are to get paid. And there was also the realization that if my proposed seating configuration is approved by the Winery, that there will be less tables…which means that I made a lot of extra centerpieces, both embroidery hoops and cans – YAY for wasted effort!

But anyway, things are moving along and I’m steadily making lists and checking them twice…just trying to keep the big picture in mind – I will have fun and any major disasters can be avoided by spreading lamb’s blood on the door.

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I know I know – I’ve been talking about working on the playlists for about 2 million years at this point, but I FINALLY finished* them this past weekend. What gave me the inspiration/kick-in-pants that I needed was discovering this post on A Song Blog. An informative breakdown of the ideal feel of the playlist…even with some of the same song choices! I guess what I had needed was someone to literally say “this is how it should be done” instead of leaving me to wallow on my living room floor surrounded by albums arranged in autobiographical order (see High Fidelity: above).

The entire post is well worth reading, but here are the basic “to-dos” that A Song Blog lists:

1. Who is at your wedding?

2. Can you dance to this song?

3. Pay attention to flow

4. What’s the mood?

5. Do people know this song?

6. Watch your language

7. Know your crowd-pleasers

8. Make it yours

All extremely important things to think about – especially #5/#7. I have always prided myself on my eclectic and varied musical tastes, but there will be no shame in me playing Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose” because THAT will get people on the floor more than, say Matt & Kim (no offense to M&K, since I did actually go to school with them and they are very nice kids, but I don’t want to see any hipster-wrapped-in-plastic-wrap moves on my dance floor).

Given the time that I have for the reception (about 3 hours), I was really stumped on finding the proper flow for the evening. A Song Blog manages to map out a suggested flow in a way that I could easily follow – starting with oldies/classic songs and moving into more dancey stuff before featuring the first set of slow songs. Then it’s rinse and repeat, increasing the tempo as you go along, with the evening culminating in a super dance-party for the younger crowd. Overall a great post for anyone DJing their own wedding or just hosting a party where they want to keep their guests happily on the dance floor.

*The term “finished” is used loosely here, since I still need to sit down with my soon to be sister-in-law and finalize the list/add some of her music to it….

High Fidelity image from theartofthemixtape.blogspot.com

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It’s been a regular craft sweatshop ’round here as the big day looms closer, with a lot being accomplished in just the past few weeks. Even Butch has sprang into action as his excitement grows (or maybe he’s tired of the nagging)…Here’s what we’ve been working on:

The embroidery-hoop table numbers are finally done! Thanks to a couple rainy days weeks and a burst of inspiration, I finally finished. I used a different stitch for each number (*See my list at the bottom if you care to know what’s what). I also made special signs for the escort card table, the sweetheart table, and the dessert table:


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An ongoing project has been the family-made dessert table. I chose to go this route, because 1. I think wedding cakes usually look better than they taste and 2. I didn’t want to spend the money on a cake. Participating bakers/pastry chefs/Keebler elves are, my mom, Butch’s mom, my sister, Butch’s sister and my brother-in-law’s mom. So far the menu ranges from rum cake to apple pie to pignolli cookies to red velvet cake to mexican wedding cakes. There will be something for everyone, and even though the buffet dinner is going to be delish, I hope everyone saves some room for dessert!

The theme of the wedding is “Handmade With Love”…We’ll all be collecting random plates/platters/cake stands/trays for a mismatched look….which will probably end up translating into a “shabby chic” look, so that’s the inspiration I’m going for with how the dessert table will look.

From My Sweet and Saucy:

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I’ve been slowly working on the reception playlist – my biggest burst of activity being when I recently went on an iTunes store shopping spree fueled by junior-high dance memories (hint: I was a real hotstepper). But now that I’ve captured the essential boogie-down tunes, I’m a little stuck as to what to do for the slower ones.  I highly doubt there will be a “first dance,” but I know some of my guests might want to dance cheek-to-cheek with the ones they love. On the other hand, the whole event is casual, and many of our friends are coming single, so I don’t want to create any awkward moments.

The official rule of thumb seems to be 1 slow song for every 4 fast, and slow songs do give the real party animals a break from the floor so they can sit down for a breather. I’ve got some classics (Billie, Ella & Louie, Frank) on hand, but I think what’s stumping me is the when. As in, how do I know when to schedule in the slow-dance tracks? Remember, I decided against a DJ (I will not abide Rod Stewart’s “Have I Told You Lately”), but a DJ would at least be able to “read” the crowd and change the pace accordingly, whereas I’m making a set playlist that will be played from beginning to end from an iPod. Butch reassures me that whatever I do will set the pace, but I’m not so sure. So, how do I do this like a pro?

If only things were as easy as on Everybody Loves Raymond, when Robert and Amy got married:

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Due to some major reality checks recently, I have decided to only make room in my life for that which is positive and enriching. This thinking has forced me to cut out anything that is not working for me (or working against me), and that includes reexamining how my “wants” relate to my actual budget for the wedding. As hard as it was, we’ve decided to cut out 2 major expenses: The Flowers and the Honeymoon. GASP! I know, the horror! With the honeymoon, I think it will just have to wait until next year, because we just don’t have the money. I’ve tried to keep this wedding as low cost and DIY as possible, but with all the expenses that come with a new house, there’s no way I’ll be able to enjoy myself fully on the trip with how much debt I’m bound to be in at that point in the summer. It’s sad…but if we go on it next year then it can be an anniversary trip!

Now even though I would get a discount on the flowers through work, it was the only vendor that made sense to cut, especially since I’m not willing to go cheaper on the food. And I think it’s one of those elements that can be easily replicated in a crafty way – like with tissue paper or crepe paper flowers:

How incredible do those blossoms look? And the tutorial, from House Tweaking, looks super easy. I think this method would work well for the flowers on the tables…big bunches of brightly colored, fluffy flowers!


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