Thursday, May 31, 2012

Small Wedding, Big Bash

As promised from my previous post, I want to share about our open-house style reception. After having a small, intimate, quick wedding, we had the big bash about 4 months later. I found this to be a wonderful concept. It gave the hubby and I time to settle into our place, and find more time to plan our party. I couldn't imagine how much more exhausted we would have been if we moved, had a ceremony, had a huge party, and left for a honeymoon all in the same day. I don't know how other couples do it.
Instead, we got to plan our reception together in the comfort of our own apartment. I actually enjoyed each step of the process - from the invitations, to the decorations, to the atmosphere we had the party in, to the food (well, maybe not planning the food - this was never my expertise...) Check out some of our ideas and pictures below:


Our color scheme was Brown and Blue
Me, being the simple, DIY girl I am, found a lot of my ideas on Pinterest and made most of the stuff we needed. One of them being the Mason Jar centerpieces with a floating candle. I simply got wider hemp material and hot glued it around the mouth of it. Just add water and floating candle! I was amazed at how expensive the candles were at many stores, but found a pretty great deal at

We posted lots of pictures around the room of our ceremony so people could see what our wedding was like. We also had a daisy flower theme going too. I found really cute daisy pieces at

The tables had the Mason Jar centerpieces as well as the daisy pieces. They also had little, clear plastic bowls of candies that matched our colors (Almond Joy Pieces in one, and York Pieces in another). The pens were on each table for a fun Crossword puzzle I made about my hubby and me for people to fill out and learn more about us. (I found a website via searching for a free puzzle maker). Definitely was fun for the family!
We hung pictures from our ceremony and wedding pictures around the room on thinner hemp material, thumb tacks, and clothes pins. It was fun watching people walk around and look at them!

The sitting tables were covered in our light blue color, and the longer serving and decor tables were covered with our brown color. It made our colors even more vibrant!

We had a table with the bouquet I held int he wedding, along with my husbands boutonniere and our wedding programs on them for people to see. It was another great way to liven up the room.


We put together mini drawstring bags with coffee beans. The tags on them say "Love is Brewing - Mark & Ashley". They were a hit, and since the hubby and I are avid coffee drinkers, they were absolutely perfect!

They're hard to see in this picture, but to the right of it are sheets with a crossword puzzle about us. They were a fun way for people to learn about us and our families and friends to learn more about each of us.


My favorite part of our reception was definitely the atmosphere and laid-back feel of it! Everyone had so much fun and plenty to keep them busy if they wanted, especially with how busy we were greeting and talking to people! There was light music over the sound system with positive and Christian music. 

One of the accommodations we provided for parents was a Kids' Corner, complete with coloring sheets, and kid & family-friendly movies playing the whole time. A table made just for them, and bean bags to watch the movies on.

Lots of different coloring sheets for both girls and boys! Even some with characters from the movies we showed. I found many free downloads online for these. 

Our church had some old kid-friendly magazines that kids were able to look at and take! 

 Another cool element to our party was the room for viewing our wedding ceremony. A separate room near the main room with a tv and dvd player that we had our ceremony playing on. People could come and go as they pleased. All they needed to do was push play. =)

  We put copies of our ceremony in the room for people to follow along with. 

Our guestbook was a couple's devotional Bible and index cards. It was fun to look through the index cards and we still are finding verses people underlined and highlighted to this day as we go through the Bible!

Food & Seating:

This part was the biggest stresser for me. When it comes to food and knowing how much to get, how much to pay and where to get it, I couldn't tell you. We decided to provide the main dish, beverages and cake for our guests, and asked anyone who attended and who wanted to, to bring a dish to pass. I was fearful that this wouldn't work, but between all of our family and our wonderful church family, we had plenty of food to go around!

Seating was open-house style, thus, we didn't need to worry about seating charts and running out of room. You grab a plate, fill it up, and either walk around, or take a seat at one of the 10 tables we had set up. This too, worked out really well with people coming and going anytime between the times we had the party.

Our gorgeous, gorgeous cake! Made by one of the wonderful ladies in our church. It was her wedding gift to us! I love that it is complete with daisies and our colors.

Our awesome, open-house food spread. Definitely had enough to go around!

All in all, this party was a great one! Everyone had so much fun and though we were exhausted at the end of the day, it will be a day for us to remember for years to come!

My Resources - These sites are ones that helped me get ideas and where I got a lot of the things I mentioned above:

The Knot
Oriental Trading
Joann Fabrics

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Simple Wedding in a Small Town

My hubby and I decided to marry quick and simple. However when it boiled down to it, eloping seemed out of the question as we are from a smaller community with most of our family around, so in order to keep from hurting feelings, we decided to keep the ceremony with some flair, but just drop all the glam.
The process of planning our original wedding was really getting to us. The guest list was getting extensive- to the point of financial worries, the decor outrageous, space questionable, and food situations stressful. We were married in 20 minutes, with very simple decor, and 15 or so of our close family (parents, siblings, grand parents). I wore a mostly white dress mixed with purple, along with some leggings and boots (we were married in January).
The ceremony was EVERYTHING we wanted without the stress and hurt.
I highly recommend it to any couple who can live without the huge production and long-time traditions. We really didn't care about any of it. Marriage was all we wanted.
Here are some of our pictures (our photographers were friends from church - Connie and Kerri Conrad) that can help you spark some ideas if you are leaning this way:

  Reciting our vows! I just used the classic traditional ones. My hubby and I wrote to each other our personal vows to share together alone.

 Bride picture in front of stained glass.

 We had all our guests (those that were comfortable) take communion during the ceremony. Our Pastor did a great job of incorporating the communion ceremony in with the wedding and its meaning.

 My hubby signing the marriage license. The jars are simple little jam mason jars with votive candles in them. They also lined the aisle of the church. Very simple and very easy!

 Love this picture! Same stained glass and a shy kiss behind the bouquet. Totally brought out our personalities!

Edited photo of our rings and bouquet flowers. 

We each picked out our own scripture verses to read to each other during the ceremony.
 All the guests that were present! Siblings, parents and grandparents.

Simple decor we used. Table and flowers were right at the church. Jars and candles along the aisle and front of stage. (Picture on my camera taken by my sister-in-law)

This was such a simple, low-stress wedding! Just be sure you are ok having a wedding like this. There is definitely nothing wrong with the big, glamorous wedding. It is your special day after all. But if you are looking for something small, simple and quick, this may be an idea for you! We had a HUGE open-house style reception 4 months later. A little more work, but it was such a blast! You can see that and how we did it in my next post! If  you have a question or want some more of my experience, just comment or contact me! I'd love to share! Pin It

Video Voice-Overs

To all my fellow video editors out there, I've recently found a way to include voice overs into my edited videos along with the music of the video using Windows Movie Maker. This is the first time I've tried this editing style and found it to be quite powerful and meaningful to the video's meaning.
Here's what I did:

1) Record voice over (I just used my Canon Power Shot camera).

2) Copy off of your camera's SD card to your computer. Put in a folder of your choice.

3) Convert the voice over video to MP3 format. I use Any Video Converter and select my conversion format. You can find a free download of AVC here.

4) Open Windows Movie Maker - Import Audio - Find your new MP3 voice over (I still use Windows Movie Maker 2.6 because I can't stand the Windows 7 version) I downloaded this version free here.

5) Edit the mp3 with parts of the video and pictures you'll be using at this point of your finished video project.

6) Once you have how you would want your voice over to look in your finished video project (minus the music), save to your computer as it's own video file.

7) Open your main video project in Windows Movie Maker. Import the video voice over you just created under "import video".

8) Input into your project at desired spot of the timeline.

9) Adjust the voice over volume by right-clicking on the voice over video in your timeline and selecting volume. You can adjust your music volume the same way by right-clicking on the music in your timeline. I had to play with this a bit to get the music and voice to fit together right.

10) Repeat the first 9 steps for each voice over you want in your main video project. Then save your final project! 

I understand this is probably clear as mud, but feel free to leave me questions and I'll do my best to answer them! I hope to eventually include pictures with these steps, which would probably help. I was very excited when I figured out how to incorporate voice overs into my videos. It is a great tool to making your videos more meaningful, informative and interesting. Check out the first video I did this with below:

(Dominican Outreach Trip, 2012)
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Write for a Career...Someday.

I long to write and write well. I long to sit and just write all day long. Write a blog. Write creative ideas. Write new characters. Write about things that inspire me. I just want to write.
Writing for money would be nice. I hear you have to be REALLY good to do that though.
Maybe I'll write devotionals, and actually sell them.
Or a book of my less-than-classic poems.
I could just come up with a new story and turn that into a novel - maybe even a series.

Someday, maybe I'll write and be paid for it...

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Smash Booking: A New Craze?

So I've recently been intrigued by this apparently not-so-new scrapbooking style called Smash Booking. I must admit, I am an avid scrapbooker who uses anything and everything in my books and receives some of the best comments and cringes from fellow scrapbookers who either admire or worry about my work. Smash booking, however is right up my alley.

I ran across many pins for this on Pinterest, and at first glance, my belief was the "slambook" you see on "Mean Girls". But upon further investigation, I saw it's a very creative scrapbook junk drawer for anything you want.

Too bad I didn't know about this before I began wedding/reception planning. I have a composition book I kept notes in, but definitely nothing as cool as this. I cut out tips for invitations, food, decor, favors, etc and kept them in a folder, but having a Smash Book to put them in would have been neat, plus I could have kept it for years to come. =) I might still make one.

Check out the Smash Book youtube link to educate yourself further about the book if you want.

Here are some of the cool lay-outs and inspirations I found on them too:

There are some fun things sold for the Smash Book too. I'd probably use a lot of my scrapbook stuff I already have accumulated over the years.

This is probably a hobby I'll end up getting into very soon. =) I could have a book for so many areas of my life. What a fun, way to journal and keep ideas and cool things you come across in magazines, or to keep movie ticket stubs, cards, whatever in! Pin It