Debbie's Doings

When two people sing together, they're in love; when two people dance together, they make love.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A little something for the ring-bearer

One of the things I thought little about, until recently, was what our ring-bearer is going to carry down the aisle. Our ring-bearer is an awesome guy. He's my best friend's (and consequently my MOH's) son.

photo via Facebook: MOH and my ring-bearer bud
I couldn't have a more awesome ring-bearer bud and I'm glad he's excited about his job too. When we first got engaged, his mom told me that they told him he would have to wear whatever I wanted because it was my big day. His dad even said if I wanted him to wear a top hat, then he would have to wear a top hat.

So I'm not making him wear anything as ostentatious as a top hat. He is wearing a button-up shirt, grey trousers and a red bow-tie I made him. He also has new red Chucks to wear with his wedding suit. I'm super-excited about it!

What I hadn't thought much about was what he would actually be doing. There are a lot of new trends out there for ring-bearers besides the traditional pillow.

Image via: Dress Dress
Seriously, those two kiddos are so cute!

Image via: Braggin Bags Etsy
There are even modern options for a pillow...but I don't really want him to carry a pillow with fake rings on them. Or the real ones for that matter.

Image via: Summit Hills Florist NJ
 We could always use a book...but Jeff doesn't really read much, so I ruled that out.

Image via: The Bridal Dish
A sign would be cute too. But would take a lot of time to make (especially if we went with a wooden one).

The one option I kept coming back to is this one:

Image via: Country Barn Babe
A wooden keepsake box. I loved it. So I started looking around to see what I could find here to work. Big fat no at the crafting store in town, big fat no everywhere I actually looked. I didn't want to really buy one already made for us online. So I turned to Trade Me and found a listing for a vintage wooden jewelry box that I loved...and it was only 10 dollars. So I got it and turned it into a small DIY project as it was old and needed a good cleaning.

I went through two movies cleaning this up with q-tips, toothpicks and water. It was meticulous work. Then I had to overhaul the insides because it was yucky red satin and was divided into two uneven sections.

personal photo
 I didn't get pictures of the cleaning job, but needless to say, it needed it! The fabric I decided on was a scrap I had kept for several years. It was just too pretty to get rid of!
Personal photo
The empty inside- it didn't take much to rip out the lining.

personal photo
 I used my modge-podge and a paintbrush to get the fabric on the lid. When it came to the box part, I went with double-sided tape around the edge and then modge-podge over the top. Add some pillow stuffing and there you go!
personal photo
It's done. It's not quite the clean, rustic image I saved and drooled over. I suppose I could have had Jeff make a box for this (as he has 4-5 boxes he's made sitting on his dresser), but I didn't want to add to his list of things to do. The box may be a little bit fancy, but it will hold our rings as my ring-bearer bud brings them to us on our big day. And that's really all I wanted.

Did you shy away from the traditional pillow for your wedding day? What do you think of the lovely box we'll get to keep for the rest of our lives? I love it!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas in New Zealand

One of the biggest things I've had to adjust to since moving to NZ permanently is how I celebrate Christmas. I'm originally from Illinois where Christmas is usually quite cold and the weather is quite unpleasant. *This does not include the last couple of years where it has been unseasonably warm*

The southern hemisphere, as we learn in school, has opposite seasons to the Continental USA. So Christmas now falls smack-dab in the middle of summer.

GIF via: Friends
So here in New Zealand, people have BBQs on Christmas, go to the beach with the family to open up presents and generally do not eat a heavy meal of turkey and all the fixings. There are no all-day sit-downs of football on TV, no 25 Days of Christmas specials on TV and no carolers coming to your door. There is certainly no snow (although there is still some visible up on the I guess if I really need a white Christmas, we could go hiking and find some).

So how do I reconcile myself to a probable lifetime of Christmases in the summer? (Don't even get me started on how my birthday is suddenly in the dead of winter now) I make new memories and new traditions with my soon-to-be husband.

On Christmas Eve, after returning home from the FMIL's house, we curled up in bed and watched "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

image via: 1amgeek

We opened our presents to each other on Christmas Eve so we could have a nice sleep-in the next day. We have no kids yet, so we take advantage of every day we get to sleep in late.

This year Jeff made me part of my present (poor guy didn't have enough time to finish it yet!) and wrapped it up for me. A few months ago we went to Golden Bay to meet with a jeweler about our wedding bands and found something similar to this in a shop:

image via: Eastwind Gifts
I fell in love, but the price was just too much. So Jeff decided to make it for me. He finished the cutting board and just has to make the trolley part now. How amazing is that?

Personal photo
We're really big on homemade gifts especially because we're creative and frugal with our money. I put together a photo album of our first year together for Jeff, complete with captions. I was able to get the album half-off with a gift card we were given for our engagement. It's so nice to have something tangible to look through and see what we've accomplished together so far. I've obviously veered off-topic now, so let's course correct for a minute here.

Christmas in New Zealand.

image via: The Royce
Part of joining someone in marriage is blending the two upbringings together and when it comes to holidays it becomes really clear just how different we are. I like to think I am bringing some of the childlike wonder of the holiday to our relationship while embracing the relaxed attitude Kiwis bring to the Christmas holiday. We put up the Christmas tree at the end of November, start playing Christmas music then and light the advent candles as we look forward to celebrating the birthday of Jesus. These are the things I bring to our new family and are traditions I can't wait to share with our children someday. A new tradition for me is Boxing Day and how Jeff and I have chosen to celebrate the day after Christmas with a picnic by the river and a swim if it's hot enough. One of the most important parts of blending a family for the holidays is taking time to talk it out: what is important to you? What do you want to celebrate?

Someday I would love to show Jeff an American Christmas in the USA, but for now, he'll have to deal with me singing "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" at the top of my lungs as I make jam in my really hot kitchen. :)

personal photo
What did you and your fiance/ee have to compromise on when it came to the holidays? Were you able to find a good way of combining your traditions? What new traditions have you picked up?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Planning Bride's Best Friend

When I think of all the work that has gone into our wedding thus far (and still has yet to be done), I thank my lucky stars that I have a talent that has come in handy here.

I'm not talking about my sewing skills, my crafty skills or the woodworking skills of my fiance. Nope, I'm talking about my shopping skills. My online shopping skills specifically. Online shopping has become a HUGE part of most wedding planning and there is a plethora of resources online to help in creating one's wedding dreams. From artists that design your stationary from afar, to suppliers who have every imaginable lace when you're living in a town with a limited supply of anything, and online auction sites where other brides are selling what they don't need anymore. I'm pretty lucky, I reckon. If I had gotten married even 10 years ago, the online resources I have today wouldn't have been readily available. I've also done pretty well with my online shopping:

1- My wedding shoes (bought from, sent to my mom, handed over to my best friend and currently waiting in Auckland to come down to Nelson in January)

2- Bubbles for our exit (at Jeff's request, found on Trademe for a steal)

3- Vintage tablecloths for our reception (via Trademe)

image via: Parna

4- Stretch lace trim for garter (via Etsy for a ridiculously low price)

5- Our fingerprint guestbook (via Vistaprint for a great deal)

6- 50-odd paper lanterns (from another bride who doesn't need them on Trademe)

image via: Hippo Joy

7- Our decorative wedding bands (from so we can get them customized here in NZ)

image via: Irish Shop

8- Our address stamp (from Etsy as well)

I've worked hard to find what we need for our wedding and I'm really grateful for the Internet to be such a good resource in this regard.

All images are personal unless noted.

Have you found anything for your wedding online? What are some good resources you found in your planning process?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

On Planning a Honeymoon

When we first got engaged, we had already been talking about taking a trip to the USA in 2013. It's my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary and my mom and her siblings are planning a reunion. Jeff hasn't met any of my family in person (except for Mom) and I want to show him where I grew up, much in the same way he's shown me those things since we got together.

Personal photo: Mom and I's vacation to New Zealand (when I met Jeff)

So we set a wedding date (yay!) and started looking at traveling back to the USA in relation to that. Since we are paying for the wedding ourselves and both work minimum wage jobs, paying for a big trip right after the wedding seemed a little out in left field. Financially we couldn't do it.

Image via: Darrell Young Photos

We looked at a trip for a month after the wedding, but again that meant we would have had to book our flights already and we don't have that kind of money (most of the time it's a good thing we don't have credit cards, but when it comes to major purchases, it sucks). So we started looking at taking an end-of-the-winter trip back to the USA. Remember folks, the seasons are opposite here to the Northern Hemisphere. That means that the hot, sticky summer birthdays I grew up with in July are now cold, midwinter deals here in NZ. Taking a winter trip home has several advantages for us.

1- We can save for a longer time before we go on this trip.

2- We can hopefully get some financial help from the wedding because we're not registered anywhere except for our honeymoon fund.

3- We'll be visiting the US at the end of summer. While I'm sure it's going to be extremely hot in mid-August, I'm stoked about that time of year.

4- This time period actually falls in between Jeff's two seasonal jobs (our wedding falls in the other gap) and it will be easier to take time off and go away.

So now that we've decided where we're going for our honeymoon, Jeff goes and decides that he wants to go somewhere right after the wedding, a minimoon, as it's called in the online wedding world. I'll tell you more about that later though. It may or may not involve a campervan.

Image via:

Did anyone decide to take a honeymoon further along in their first year of marriage? Will you be going somewhere new or familiar? Who is taking more than one trip to celebrate their wedding, like us?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Back in the Saddle

Phew, it's good to be back here. Jeff has finished his show and I'm finally able to find time to work on wedding projects and blog again. It was nice to take a short break from it though. But we're back to being busy with the summer season open at Berrylands and Jeff working really long hours. I'm starting a second job tomorrow morning and Christmas is just around the corner (seriously, when did THAT happen?) In the next few weeks I'm hoping to finish up my wedding dress, buy Jeff's suit and get our wedding rings in our hands. I still have a couple small projects to work on as well and blog about before we hit the big rush of getting things done. We're at 75 days and there is still so much to do!

What I have accomplished lately is the task of trying on my finished wedding dress. Yep. I got the skirt attached and the main construction is all done. All that's left is a zipper, the lace straps and my crinoline to fill out the skirt. It's pretty good looking! Bear in mind that the dress isn't as tight on me now as it will be (it'll be better when the zipper is in to take care of that problem).

Yes, I had Jeff clothespin me in my dress. Haha.

Making a screwy face.

That looks better now.
It's good to know that I made a dress that fits me. This will be your last look at my dress until my wedding day. Enjoy it. :)

What you don't get pictured here is Jeff pulling the back closed properly and the dress laying flat where it needs to be. It was nice to see what the dress will look like when it is fitted completely. I hope I can finish all of this by the middle of January at the latest and then I can not think about this for a month.

Was there a project that you wish had done? That seemed to drag on forever?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cake Taste Test

One part of the wedding planning I have been looking forward to is the taste test of the cake we're going to have. If you recall, we're having a non-traditional cake made by Jeff's mum. I finally got around to dropping off the recipe for her and she called us on Saturday saying that she had made the cake and could we stop by to check it out? Uhhh, YEAH!

our Grasshopper Cake with our handmade cake topper

The delicious innards
Okay, so the cake testing went down really well. This cake is unbelievably delicious. Seriously awesome. Chocolate cake, mint chocolate ganache and creme de menthe buttercream frosting. Awesome. Oh, and ridiculously sweet. Love it.

While tasting it, we talked about the logistics of cutting it up to serve people. It's a small cake (8 inch round cake tins are used) and we're looking at 80 people. It does help that I'm making pies to go along with this as well.

All around the cake taste test went great. I think most of Jeff's family has now tasted this cake and they all overwhelmingly approve. Oh, and I was informed that the cake recipe I chose is the reason why my MIL went to the liquor store for the first time in her life. Haha! (That was the only place she could find creme de she has a large bottle of it in her pantry.)

Were you just as happy with your cake taste testing as we were? How long did you have to wait to enjoy your wedding cake after the taste test? I've got 84 more days until I can have that again!