Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Great Frame of Mind

I have a tendency to buy things I see for a really good deals without thinking them through 100 percent (a small flaw in an otherwise perfect person, I know...) So when I purchased two great frames from Ross, let's just say I wasn't EXACTLY sure what I was going to be doing with them.
Well, once I got them home, I noticed a particularly bare spot above our bed that would be a nice home for the twin frames. I hung them up to see how they would look, and I'm ashamed to admit that they hung there empty like that for more than a couple of weeks! 

I had a little bit of a dilemma in deciding what to frame in them. I could do black and white art. Such is my thing you know. I love the timeless feel it lends to any space. But after searching for the right print or photo to house beneath the glass, I decided I would have to take an alternative route. 

My first idea was to go out and find a beautiful roll of wrapping paper to frame. Cheap, pretty, and quick. 

Then I thought about getting scrapbook paper and creating really the same type of feel as the wrapping paper would provide. I went to Joann's and found these totally adorable papers that I would love to have hanging above my bed.

Another idea I had (which logically came about because I was in JOANN'S), was to frame some fabric. JoAnn's sells these little scraps of fabric meant for quilitng. They come in different sizes. The set I purchased had four pieces of 18x21 inch fabric, which was exactly what I needed to fill out my frame.

I picked a really cute black and white contrasting pattern and cut it to fit the frames. I ironed the pieces with some heavy starch, popped them into the frames, and hung them back up. Really easy. Anyone could do it. And it could work for any space needing some cheap art.

Other ideas I pondered (and may switch to if I tire of the fabric!) were writing quotes or love letters on thick paper and framing them. A similar idea involved using a typewriter to type out said quotes and love letters. 

I also thought it would be cute to save some of my favorite greeting cards by making a collage out of my favorites and throwing them behind the glass. I hate throwing away a card someone lovingly gifted me, but I also hate clutter and how things just end up piling up and you never get to look at them.

Another thing I thought about was framing leaves or feathers. Something natural and organic to add some texture to the room. Peacock feathers would be quite stunning against the white mats. 

The moral of the story here is that anything really goes when you're thinking of things to frame. You can really go as far as your creativity will take you. Bonus points if what you framed is something sentimental.

Catering, and The Quest to Find It

I've read on a lot of bridal sites that you should not mention you are planning a wedding when you call caterers. I can't imagine personally doing that. It seems totally deceitful and just completely unprofessional. So, not being a millionaire myself (and not even really a "thousandaire"), and considering we ARE paying for 90 percent of our own wedding as a young couple just starting out in life, I'm desperate for quality, cheap catering.
(image courtesy of Project Wedding)

Since I knew catering was going to be our biggest expense, I have literally been looking since we were first engaged back in 2008. At first, my ideal wedding budget was around 5000 dollars. 1000-1500 of that I had alotted for catering. In my mind, I was hoping to spend around ten to fifteen bucks per person for a buffet style dinner.

Ha. I was in for a huge surprise. Most caterers around here are charging at the very, very least in the twenties for food, and then even more for service, tax, rentals, etc. And then on top of that we still have a cake to purchase and will need to provide our own alcohol. YIKES!

So my budget was extremely unrealistc. That's okay. At least we had a looong engagement to save right? When our budget doubled to right under ten grand, I realized that catering was still going to be incredibly expensive and eat up at least forty percent of my overall budget. I do not want to start my marriage out in debted to credit card companies. Been there, done that.

The biggest lesson I've learned in shopping for a caterer is really be creative...and be flexible. If you are willing to look at alternative routes, you can save a ton of money. For example, I got a quote from Fazolis (a local italian fast food spot) for a pasta buffet with salad, drinks, and their freaking delicious breadsticks for 17 bucks a person including service! How sweet is that? Once you throw in rentals it would probably be a little more, but you could have a delicious italian feast for 100 guests for about 2500 dollars (after rentals).

I also heard from a few caterers that unlike what I've heard on wedding sites like and, heavy hors doeurves  are NOT cheaper due to the fact that you need a lot more and they are much more labor intensive. That's one reason I reluctantly decided against them. As much as I really love the cocktail party vibe, I knew I could get more for our money with a buffet dinner.

Another thing to consider when you're thinking about your catering budget, is your rental budget. Is it important for you to have all china? Or is the types of food served more important? Most caterers include a high quality plastic plate within their quote. If this is okay with you, you can save five or six hundred dollars just on renting china! I ended up having to add about a thousand into my budget for random rentals. Since I'm having an outdoor ceremony, chairs will actually eat up a good amount of that. If your venue price is lowish like mine, you could always roll chair rental into that.

My last catering tip (for now) is to always, ALWAYS ask for a discount. Are you military? A teacher? Work for an employer that uses the caterer on a regular basis? Having an off season or mid-day wedding? Ask if they can cut you any deals. It doesn't cost you anything to ask, and the worst you can hear is no.