Saturday, November 28, 2015

Beautiful Ballynahinch

Our first castle!

Our first castle and second destination was a long trip from Dublin to the west coast of Ireland. We ended up arriving in the dark around 9 pm, so the massive castle wasn't really visible but from what we did see, it was grand. 
Upon approaching the castle, there was a nice gentleman outside smoking a pipe on a bench and as we opened their big green doors it was immediately warm and inviting. Inside it was vintage looking and smelled of smoked salmon. 
 A nice older woman came up to an unassuming desk and we handed her our vouchers. She briefly explained some things about the castle and grounds, then gave us a map and our room key. Then she instructed someone to help us with our bags. Dinner was almost over but she assured us that it was an Irish 9 we could come back down and still be fed! he he
We didn't have one of the more luxurious rooms but they had us in the main building on the top floor, which felt special. Craig started up towards our room with a few bags in each hand and an older gentleman carried mine. To this day I am embarrassed that I can't remember his name, but that man carried my heavy mid-sized bag up three flights of stairs and never faltered. 
Each room had a different name and he explained that ours meant festive...which seemed appropriate. 

Our room was simple but big, with an updated bathroom. The mirror was heated so it wouldn't fog up and there was a heated towel rack...something I never knew existed!
The mattress and sheets were comfier that I thought they might be, for an older bed, but it did squeak he he! Perfect for newlyweds! And of course there were chocolates!
One thing we both loved is that they had their own glass bottles for water, such a better alternative to plastic! Plus we got to take one home, it now sits on our nightstand.  
We made our way back down the stairs, past old paintings and stuffed-river otter toward the dinning area.
The dinning room area was warm and inviting with lots of wood and more paintings.

A young waiter took our drink orders, explained the menu and brought us freshly baked bread. He was so sweet and honestly wanted to make our meal experience wonderful! 

The bread was the best thing I had ever had....i'm drooling just thinking of it. I would give anything to get a hold of that twisty bread!! 
Craig ordered a rabbit, pheasant and partridge pie and I a veggie risotto. Both were exquisite! I believe he said it was savory, hardy and well-rounded!

The next morning we decided to take a walk around the river and castle, as our map suggested, but first we made sure to get some brunch. Craig ordered an espresso and I my hot cocoa! They had the most delicious apple crumble...whoever said you can't have dessert for brunch is crazy! 

Upon starting our walk we were amazed...needless to say it was gorgeous! We went around the front first and started down a path towards the river. We went through some more landscaped areas and by a few horses, who actually came over to say hi, then onto the river walk pathway.
 It was definitely a path but it was so green and lush that one still had to be careful about where they stepped. Everything was green with light touches of the fall season. Lots of flowers, especially gardenias! 
The sheer amount of land they had was impressive. If we had had another day we could have wandered around the other trails. My mind kept wandering to my parents, I knew they would love it here.

Ballynahinch offered a few extra activities, on top of hikes and one was fly-fishing...and we could see why. The river was perfect for it. Peaceful...
 That night we had a fancy 5 course meal that kept getting better and better, culminating in the form of bread-pudding. Need I say more...I mean look at it.... i'm drooling again!

  Breakfast that next morning was scrumptious! Lots of options! I was impressed by the pitcher of hot cocoa they brought was like they knew my thirst for that sweet chocolateness! 

Neither of us wanted to leave but we were off to our next castle and adventure.
Ballynahinch will always be my favorite location on this was perfect for us to start with. I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting. Maybe not a big family with lots of little ones though. 
It was warm, inviting, friendly, romantic and just beautiful! Almost surreal how lovely it is! Please check it out!

Thanks for reading -Bunny

Monday, November 23, 2015

Creating a Dream

Hi there,
 Our wedding turned out to be exactly how we imagined it, from the violins to the carefully glue-gunned flowers, it was magical. 
So I wanted to share a little bit on how I created our very own vintage fairytale.
To start I found the perfect Prince he he! Which wasn't easy let me tell you, but he was worth the wait!
First we looked for a location that could embody the simple elegance and romance we needed, and Shadowbrook was it. Plus Craig has been going to SB since he was little; it was also where we had our 1 year anniversary. Their rock wall was the perfect backdrop for our ceremony. There is also a moment when guests can look up and see the bride walking towards the ceremony space. Pure Magic!
We wanted a small, formal wedding during the day with plenty of appetizers, candy and drinks. It was my idea to incorporate a fairytale twist, Sleeping Beauty, and lucky for me Craig is a trooper! I tried to not go overboard but I carefully thought of each detail and the meaning behind it. Keeping to the colors blush, ivory, powder blue, sage and gold.
My dress was Champagne instead of blush (apparently my paleness looks awful in blush) and my 3 bridesmaids were in dresses with softened colors to represent the three fairies, with the groomsmen bow-ties matching of course. 
Our "naked cake" was lightly frosted from a light pink to blue and made by the Shadowbrook Chef on staff. 
Each table had confetti made from old fairytale books and music, spinning spools and pumpkins to add to the theme.
Craig was in charge of the rings, hand-fasting and tuxes. I didn't know what any of them were going to look like which was fun! He ended up picking out the most perfect suits for this vintage fairytale. It was important to us to create a romantic mood for guests. I wanted it to feel whimsical and unique!
So Why Sleeping Beauty?
I grew up on fairytales and had always felt drawn toward Sleeping Beauty. The colors of her dresses (blue to pink)....her adorable fairy godmothers, the rustic prince and of course Maleficent. The idea of the spinning wheel also held a lot of etc.
I also loved the idea that this princess waited sleeping for her prince to save her. I felt that I woke up the moment Craig and I met. We both knew that we had finally found each other, the person we had been searching for.
Here is a little bit about each wedding detail, I had to give credit to some awesome Etsy shops, family and vendors. This wouldn't have been possible without them.
For our set up Craig and his group of men worked hard to match my diagrams and set up each table. I love that my brother and father worked on the candy bar! So sweet!

We got a few of the key pillars of every wedding done early: photographer, music, flowers and videographer. Each added so much to the over-all feel and atmosphere.

Our Photographer Adriane White had the dreamy style we wanted. Plus our friends had just had her photograph their wedding and they said she was a ninja! Thinking about it...I can't even remember seeing her at the ceremony ha ha! She took some beautiful shots of us all and was really calm and super sweet!

Videographer Devi! Devi Pride was recommended to us and she was equally as sweet and created a lovely highlight reel of our day!

Music: Dancing on Strings a three string band from Kelly Productions created the mood... soft, elegant and magical. The bridal party walked down the aisle to Bittersweet Symphony and my dad and I to the Wedding March. They even learned the Sleeping Beauty Waltz for our first dance!
Flowers from Sarah Pink of Pinks Petals. She was experienced with SB and diligent about getting us the right displays and flowers. I actually let out a sharp gasp when mentioned that milk glass was a possibility! So pretty!
Fabric Bouquets: I never liked the idea that your wedding flowers wilt and die after your big day. I wanted to have my bouquet forever! I know that lots of brides have them dried or preserved but I didn't want it to lose its beauty. Plus these were just too lovely to pass up. I did search around for different types of bouquets....paper, felt, fabric, broach....until I found Lauren. 
She creates really beautiful work and at a reasonable price. She sent me photos of her process, kept me up to date and wanted my input. She was wonderful! I also had her make the boutonnieres and corsages. Check her out:

Charms: I added two charms to my bouquet to tie in the spinning wheel and Maleficent. I needed her represented somehow!

Then it was on to decor and everything else under the sun!
Invitations by Dawn-botanical were all the rage that initially I wanted to go with a watercolor floral wreath design...but upon discussing with Craig, we picked these....with gold foiling. They were inexpensive as far as invites go and there was a lot of variety.
My Mori Lee Dress came from Trudy's in San Jose...not the best service but my dress was lovely and made me tear up. It was def not what I had in mind. There was a struggle to feel confident in a strapless dress he he! We had it bustled at Blossoms in Dublin, CA. My mom made me some light shoulder "straps", purely for my own insecurities but they made it even more dreamy. Plus I was working out...shout out to the girls at Barre! No back-fat here!

Bridesmaids wore Dessy dresses from Trudy's as well and all suites came from Men's Warehouse.

I asked my mom to make my Garters; she is really crafty and likes to sew. I was so happy when she said she could! Truly making them extra special!

I asked my Dad if he would want to make our ring holder. Of course he said yes and even made us a few options to pick from! We went with the smaller more circular round. I'm going to have to add both the garters and ring-round into a shadowbox.
Hair and Makeup by Meg! I met with a few hairstylists and they were either way too expensive or didn't give off the best vibe. When I met Meg she was so relaxed and confident. She even practiced some looks, on a model, to see if I liked them. On the day of she was so calm and didn't mind working in our small kitchen, (she is freelance).
Meg also added in some pins I had gotten and we added some babies-breath later on.

Of course I had to get Jack into a few pics.

Lashes: I actually won a set of lashes from a drawing the Barre Studio was doing! So awesome! Olivia Barney is the sweetest and really gave me some dreamy lashes!

Once Upon a Dream Sign: I ordered the paper sign part from a shop on Etsy and then attached it to a wooden plaque then glued on the little fairies and other items. Tiny fairies:

My Shoes: Another item that seems so easy but it took me forever to find the right heels. I wanted something that I could still walk in...SB has a lot of stairs! So I settled on a low heel sandal by Betsey Johnson in her Blue collection. Purchased on Amazon

Wands: I made these myself but 12 were from Save-On-Crafts. It was fun making them but it took a bit of time. Lots of glue-gunning and! Jack really wanted to help too LOL! So much ribbon!
Wand Sleeves from Foryourparty. I looked up sparkler sleeves...because that is usually what they are used for and found this great site. They were easy to design and order. Ours said Let Love Ring!

Heart Garland from LaMiaCasa and Mailbox Happiness were just adorable, I had to have them! They added a really delicate feel to the greenhouse room and candy table. Word of warning: they get tangled very easily. Try to keep them in their paper holders until you need them. These ones were also meant to be unfolded or fanned out but I don't think the guys knew about that lol. and

My bf/bridesmaid Amie made this pretty chalkboard sign for me. She has the neatest handwriting I have ever seen!

Tree Rounds from Save-On-Crafts added a bit of rustic to our tables, matching with Shadowbrook.

Signs from Wedology: Really elegant looking and their site had lots of color and text options!
I did add on flowers and things to the signs via glue-gun. I wanted some to stand up so we found some stands at the dollar store!

Confetti from Tree Town Paper. I felt a little guilty about ordering theses, as they are made from books but they turned out to be one of my favorite pieces. The Etsy shop owner worked hard to find old fairytale/Sleeping Beauty books and even found some music sheets to use as well, from the Sleeping Beauty waltz. 

I love them and still have most of the confetti. I plan on adding them to our wish jar and a shadowbox with other keepsakes.

Blush Runners from MyBellaAngel. These runners were perfect! A nice blush color to accent everything else.

Spools from Amazon: Don't you love can get almost anything there! I decided that I wanted to make another nod to Sleeping Beauty and have a few spools on each table.

Big shout out to Michael's! You are my favorite craft shop! Thank you for the stickers, flowers and paper he he! For our guest book, we wanted to give guests the option to create a page, so stamps, stickers and pens were available. It was fun to look through after the wedding.

Candy: SUGAR Store in Santa Cruz. They were so nice and really helpful when picking out their candy. Plus we got a discount!

Glass Jars: We casually accumulated glass pieces over a few months from Ross, Marshals, Save On Crafts and/or the Dollar Store. We also got gold scoops from Amazon.

Candy Bags: We went back and forth about how to properly give guests their candy and landed on little baggies with sticker closures. Super cute and guests seemed to like them.

Notes from Marrygrams and smittenpaperboutique. Craig and I wanted to give family members/wedding party thank you notes and personalized notes on the day of. I also made one for Craig which resulted in one of my favorite pictures. I love his smile!

For each Bridesmaid I got them delicate bracelets that have a branch/leaves on them. They seemed perfect for our fairytale. I also found hangers with their names. It's hard to see in the shot of all of our dresses hanging together with we all have personalized hangers. So adorable! Love these ladies! and

Cake Topper: We couldn't decide at first...I wanted cute bunnies he he! But we landed on a simple wire topper that says Happily Ever After.
Photo Props: These were the only real Disney kind of things we had and they were super fun. The duck-face pic is the BEST!

Ms. Raquela! My mom's cousin Raquela sang a personalized song for our father daughter dance. We had no idea that she was going to change some of the words in "I loved her first"....but she did and we cried. 

Thank you for that moment Raquela!

I hope I didn't miss anyone!?
Creating this wedding took a lot of time and planning but it yielded the fairytale we so desired. Friends and family helped out so much, mainly with set up and break down. My Aunt Carrie even helped move the day along via microphone and sass! She rocks!
To everyone, we are ever indebted to you. Thank you!
And then as quickly as it began... it was over and we were driven home in the Shadowbrook car! We waved goodbye to our family and friends while they jingled their wands. It was such a special day!

And thank you for reading. So much planning for almost a year...for one day! Weddings are crazy and kind of surreal but worth it. xoxo
-Bunny/Mrs. Murray