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Alternative Shower Gift Ideas

28 June 2012

Everyone knows what a registry is for, right? Well, at least 50-60% of most wedding guests do. But no matter what bride you talk to it is almost guaranteed that you will get something not on your registry. I know! Bummer, right? Well here is guide for you guests out there that want to purchase something for a wedding that is not exactly conventional.

Zoo Membership
Memberships to local activities such as art museums, zoos, and gyms are a great way to either introduce a couple to a new city or just give them some pre-planned dates. A membership at the Nashville Zoo, for instance, is around $100 for a two people which is the average price for a wedding gift.

Personalized Recipe Box
Weddings conjure up monogrammed everything! Why not be for something more practical such as a personalized recipe box from Williams Sonoma. I actually purchased this for a friend of mine and collected family recipes from all of her shower guests. Awesome to pass down to future generations!

Living Social Adventures
One last possibility is an experiences such as a Living Social Adventure. You could purchase an adventure such as a trip to Atlanta for a BBQ and Moonshine tasting if your bride and groom were in the Atlanta area. Be sure to pay attention to the dates for such an adventure to allow for the bride and groom to redeem after the honeymoon. Make sure it spans a 3-6 month window after the wedding! You could equally purchase something to do in their town of residence such as a night getaway at a boutique hotel or even just a midnight ghost tour gift certificate.

Wednesday: Day of Prayerful Devotion

27 June 2012

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. – Proverbs 2:6

What is Wisdom? I like to think of it as the wrinkles that we as humans earn as we age. For instance in the photo above. This woman is so beautiful. Kind of a great reason not to get Botox or plastic surgery! Is it knowing the right thing to say at the right time? Don’t we all strive for that? Is it the perfect answer to a question? Is it the difference between right and wrong? Can it only be possessed by those who are our elders?
Where do we get Wisdom? According to Proverbs we get wisdom from the Lord. For from his mouth come wisdom and understanding. Repeat that again. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. And again in James 1:5 it says that “if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
But why? Why would the Lord bestow this gift upon us? By definition: it is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement. Naturally as our loving Father, the Lord wants us to be able to make good decisions. And perhaps when we don’t have the experience to make a decision due to lack of experience He is instructing us to turn to him. And he will provide.
Life is often a series of decisions. I’ve had made many life changing decisions such as where I attended high school, college or graduate school. Should I stay in graduate school? Can I solve a problem in a relationship with a friend? Should I quit that organization? Should I leave that church? What do I believe? Am I compromising who I am? Reflecting on these choices, I remember them being incredibly stressful but by giving them over to God and allowing Him to lead me to the right answers definitely softens the process. So pray for God’s wisdom in your life.

Keep it Stylin' Tuesdays!

26 June 2012

For my first post of this new series I couldn't help but draw inspiration from a store that I stepped foot in for the first time on Friday, Forever 21. I know, don't laugh. I've always been a clean cut, "All-American" Old Navy and Kohl's shopper but I must express how impressed I was with the clothing and variety at what could potentially be my new favorite store.

Here are a few pieces I've picked out for the featured style of the day, retro dresses! And I'm not talking about the 90's you Millennial generation!

The Sky Lantern Send Off

25 June 2012


Whimsical and unique. Releasing sky lanterns as a send off in lieu of the traditional bubbles or bird seed has become increasingly popular. Thanks to movies like Disney's "Tangled" not only are they fun things to light on fire but they also can provide a truly unique photo opportunity. But in my recent experience there are a few facts one should consider if you are entertaining the idea of releasing lanterns.

1. The release happens at the end of the reception. Think about what it means to combine drunk guests with objects on fire.

2. They often take a few minutes to inflate with gas so to achieve beautiful shots of the bride and groom among the paper lanterns, guests will have to hold on to the lit lanterns, follow the photographer's directions and release in synchrony.

3. Consider your location. Are you in a wooded area that could potentially catch on fire? In the middle of a golf course? Also, you have to perform this event at night so do you have the event space for that long if you have a summer event?

4. Always remember, planner or not, to bring the long BIC lighters so that no one gets burned.

5. Wedding insurance is a fantastic investment.

A Button Shower for Kate R.: Decor

24 June 2012

As I mentioned the previous post, I recently planned a button-themed shower for my dear friend Kate R. and her fiance Ryan. It was set in a school fellowship hall/multipurpose space which gave us on the "planning committee" a lot of freedom when it came to color of the decor. Kate's wedding colors are yellow, red and white and so from that we decided on a palate of yellow, gray and white for their shower. This yellow and grey trend has been occurring quite frequently over the last two years or so probably because it is easily styled. 

After determining the theme and the colors we then set up to design the layout of the shower. I came up with this simple schematic after gaining a better idea of how the space looks. 

Draft Layout
Final Product

With our guest number in mind we set up 6 tables (3 with white table cloths and 3 with yellow). On the white tables we chose centerpieces of gray and yellow tissue paper poms. On the yellow tables, we chose ball jars with buttons in the bottom containing a variety of white flowers. 

One of my favorite additions, especially to keep our cost low, we ended up inviting the friends and family to make desserts to contribute to our dessert bar. I used a sheet that I purchased from Target ($14.99) to cover the 6 foot table and we made several thrift store serving dishes. I'll be sharing the tutorial for that soon.

Dessert Bar

Problems with Wedding Vendors

22 June 2012

Pothole by Joshua Davis Photography "Flickr" cc
Once the wedding is over, the nightmare of wedding stuff should be over too right? Wrong! Mr. Collier and I had such an easy experience with wedding planning thanks to our awesome vendors, for the most part. We recently hit a snag post-wedding with our videographer and his team. And sometimes it happens to the best of us brides and grooms where we pay our deposits and balance but the product never ends up in our hands in a timely manner. So what are we supposed to do?

Well, for Mr. Collier and I we started with patience. We were promised a teaser video (1.5 min in length), a highlight video (3.5 min in length), the full ceremony and reception highlights. The turn around time for the teaser videos, based upon the track record of posts from other clients of our videographer was ~2 weeks after the wedding. Our popped up just about on time and was what we expected. But then all communications and posting stopped.

After waiting, five months after our wedding we had to initiate communication with our vendor:

May 1st

Hi Videographers,
  I must express my sincere disappointment in our whole exchange. As associates and friends in Christ I find the communication regarding our business transaction to be inexcusable. I realize that we are in a strange situation in that we met each other as friends and then contracted your work through your business but I never anticipated being strung along this far. Not only have we had to contact you regarding the status of our videos on multiple occasions but it has been nearly four months since our wedding and there isn't anything to show for it beyond the preview. To me, that demonstrates a poorly operated business. I realize that your life is turning upside down with the arrival of your son and there can be other life situations that I am not aware of but if you had contracted us fully knowing this was down the road, I wish would you have mentioned something about it. And perhaps this is something that you can work on for future clients. I am not asking for a refund but I am asking for honesty, open communication and sometime in the future the work that was promised to us. 
Mrs. Collier 
After 24 hours we received this response:
Hey Mrs. Collier! 

I completely understand the frustration, and unfortunately this is not just an issue that is affecting you, we actually have 9 different weddings affected right now. We had someone hack into our servers and screw all kinds of stuff up, we have been spending all our time restoring these back to original. We did not lose any footage, we just had to go to our backup sources and replace a bunch of stuff. We have also had the site, e-mail, and phone system go down because of this as well. Please don't take this as a "We are friends so we can get away with it" because that is not it at all. We love you and Mr. Collier, and if anything I want your stuff out the door worse than anyones, it has just been a rough few weeks with this issue we had. We really think we have fixed all the issues (except the website) and that means I can get back into editing. So You will have some videos very soon! I can't say exactly because we do have so much, but our goal as a company to have all 9 weddings out within 2 weeks. (Which obviously includes yours). I do want to apologize for not being in communication during this time, we understand that we have been lacking, and we are very sorry.

Hope you have a great day!!
If you haven't checked the calendar lately, it is now June 22nd. Despite the outward appearance of good communication and timely turn around, not all vendors are what they seem. But I'm in the awkward position. First, I don't want to rush them so they botch the videos of our wedding day. Our present for one another was this video package. Second, I don't want to be rude and ruin any businesses' reputation but, Nashville brides need to know the truth of our experience. 

Restoring Faith in Humanity

21 June 2012

I stumbled upon a BuzzFeed post the other day and it truly touched my heart. These pictures alone demonstrate the truth of human love for one another. Below are just a few of my favorites but you can see the rest of them here.

Elite Cleaners in Minneapolis helped over 2,000 unemployed workers that couldn't afford dry cleaning. Owner Don Chapman estimated that it cost his company $32,000 dollars.

17-year-old Meghan Vogel was in last place in the 3,200-meter run when she caught up to competitor Arden McMath, whose body was giving out. Instead of running past her to avoid the last-place finish, Vogel put McMath's arm around her shoulders, carried her 30 meters, and then pushed her over the finish line before crossing it.

This note that was handed to a waiter along with a $20 bill by an elderly lady in his restaurant.

Wednesday: Day of Prayerful Devotion

20 June 2012

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Praise the Lord! To start off this series of prayerful Wednesday blog posts, I skimmed through some NIV daily bible verse websites. This verse from 1st Corinthians was the first one to catch my eye likely because I've been mediating a lot on health and wellness. 

God commissions us to treat our bodies as His temple. How would you prepare your home if you knew that God was visiting? You and I would clean for weeks making sure that everything is in its proper place. The meal would be meticulously planned with utmost care and detail. So too should we care for our bodies for as the verse above states that our bodies are a temple for God's Holy Spirit to dwell within us. 

How can we accomplish this? Well first, we can start examining what we put in our bodies. God's plan for us and our Christian walk is all about discipline. There are countless examples of God teaching us discipline. In Proverbs verse 12 God tells us that "whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid." Further, 2 Timothy 1:7 states "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline." This self-discipline extends to how we treat our bodies. Remember the mother-phrase "junk in, junk out?" Well the best way for us to honor God through how we treat our bodies is to eat right and get some exercise. Incorporation of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, nuts and whole grains into our diets in modest proportions can make a world of difference in how our bodies operate. Pair a healthy diet with at least 30 minutes of exercise daily and then we're in business! Don't forget to attend to our minds. Through sleep, meditation and a vacation here and there can help us stay refreshed too. 

The second part of this verse is the most compelling. "You are not your own; you were bought with a price." How does that make you feel? It makes me want to take care of myself that much more. My soul is just borrowing this shell of a body and through Jesus' death I can one day be reunited with the Lord in heaven. Therefore, I should make the most of my time here on earth by glorifying God with all that I have. Including my body. 

A Very Button Shower for Kate R.: Inspiration Board

19 June 2012

Last month I planned an awesome wedding shower for my dear friend Kate R. and her fiance Ryan. Before I even began purchasing the myriad of crafty-dos, I took a moment to channel the essence of Kate R. See, I've known her for approximately 8 years and we've spent years crafting together. Honestly, a match made in heaven. After meditating on it for some time it finally came to me! Buttons!

With the help of my co-wedding party members and of course Pinterest, we threw an awesome shower for these two crazy kids! I can't wait to share the rest of the pictures with you all!

 Our Inspiration Board

Getting old...

07 June 2012

"Old and Wrinkled"

After our time spent with the youth, I began realizing how old we are getting. Granted we are that much older than the teens (less than a decade) but after playing in their relay races, I hurt in places that I haven't hurt in years. My abdominal and inner thigh muscles twinge and ache in certain positions such as well I get up from a chair or from a laying position. What does this mean?

I think this means that I am out of shape! What adult can't say that? I'm not talking to you marathon or iron man athletes or frankly any athletes in general. I'm speaking to the general public. The ones who wake up at or before 6:00 a.m. for work and have to run to the store after a 9-10 hour day because the refrigerator is bare. The ones whose home is such as mess (like a tornado had just come through) that they don't host friendly gatherings like they once did. The ones who eat out one or two meals a day because it is convenient.

I never thought that I would be one of those people, but it turns out that I am. Out of shape, over-committed and messy. My priority of work and extracurricular activities has certainly taken over my time. So, where can I go from here? Well, I am going to start being more active whether that means I take a 20 minute walk at lunch or that I make time for the gym like when I am out of town this weekend. Tonight, for instance, Mr. Collier and I are playing church volleyball. He's gone for the last few weeks but due to other commitments I have never made it. So, here we go. One foot in front of the other.  

Youth Olympics, my key to summer

05 June 2012

Happy Girls Under a Rainbow 2008

I've recently participated in a bible study at our church that discussed the role and development of spiritual leaders. One of the themes that has endured is the idea that a successful leader not only mentors followers but mentors other leaders. To this end, Mr. Collier and I begin tonight as team leaders for summer activities for our youth group at church. In the spirit of the Olympics activities will be planned for the next several weeks. Besides having a role in mentoring these high school and middle school students, Mr. Collier and I get the chance to celebrate the true nature of summer.

What do I mean by the true nature of summer? I am referring to the putt-putt and laser tag nights and running around in a field with friends. The hamburger and hot dog dinners because it tasted great not because it was what we could afford or was on sale. Remember those days? The moments that fulfilled childhood boredom. The classic summer activities that now as adults are slipping away. Well, this opportunity seems like the perfect way to harness and cherish summer. 

A New Direction.

04 June 2012

We are shifting directions here from a focus on weddings to more of "what's happening" with life blog. I am going to write about my world and experiences. I'm getting down to the nitty gritty of what it means to be Mrs. Collier. I am five months into my marriage and am trying to balance being a wife, a graduate student and an independent woman.