This past weekend, I hit up the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn with my bridesmaid Jessica. First comment right off the bat? Did not expect it to be so big! We got to the fair around 3pm and stayed until 6 and didn’t get close to seeing everything!

I had heard about the fair on on Brooklyn Bride and was pretty excited to check it out. I used to live a few blocks away from McCarren Park in Brooklyn, where the fair was held, and I’m pretty sure nothing that cool happened while I lived there! But beyond the obvious pursuit (the never ending pursuit) of more cute jewelry, I was excited to see some home made goodies that I could potentially use for the wedding. There were a lot of different kinds of booths; stationary, clothing, hair accessories, jewelry, etc. Of course, I didn’t buy anything (though Jessica did!), but I did collect a couple of cards of sites that I’m thinking about checking out again for wedding stuff.

My favorite booth was probably The Weekend Store. They make these really cool cufflinks out of old typewriter keys. Paul’s father wrote all of his books (about 100!) on Smith Carona typewriters. He passed away recently and I thought it’d be a really nice touch to include. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of showing them to Paul! I was thinking they could be a really neat groomsmen gift as well. But unfortunately, they a little pricier than I’d like, $54 for a set, but I’m going to keep my eye on them. Maybe they’ll have a sale before or after the holidays and I can pick some up. I just hope I can clarify that they have to be Smith Carona keys!

While on the subject of typewriters, we’ve also talked about  using a typewriter as our guest book. There are a ton around, at least two or three just in our house! It depends on the set up though. Don’t want to hear the clack! clack! of typewriters while the best man is giving a toast!

Another booth I grabbed a card from was Sesame Letterpress. They had coasters that they were selling for a $1 each. Now, obviously, I’m not going to buy another person’s custom coasters, but I was considering getting some made for the cocktail hour. I’ve put a lot of thought into the ceremony, the reception, the invites, but the cocktail hour hasn’t even crossed my mind. This could be a nice touch. Depends on prices though.

I also tried on a few headbands with felt and beading from Heart Felt, which were pretty, but I think a little too big for me. It was nice to get an idea though.

There were a few things that were totally not wedding related that I didn’t buy, but really wish I had. One was from Mr. Poncho, which was selling these iPod holders with a thing on the outside to wrap your headphones around. So creative and totally useful, considering usually I just throw my iPod, coverless, into my bag and have to untangle my headphones every time. I also really want a bag from Tinyhearts Design. I’ve been looking for a sturdy, but stylish messenger bag for a long time. I want something that I can use for school, but not feel embarrassed by at the office and I think the Brigette School Bag really fits the bill. But again at $90, it’s a lot. And I would hope that I could just meet up with the seller somewhere in Brooklyn instead of paying $10 shipping to have the bag make the trip down the G line, essentially! (I chatted with the seller at the fair and apparently she lives a few blocks down from my old apartment.)

And, of course, I saw a ton of jewelry I really liked, but can’t afford. I can’t really think about jewelry for the wedding yet anyway, because I don’t have my dress. But I’ve been trying to introduce more jewelry into my daily wardrobe. Mostly earrings and an occasional necklace. I’m so bad about actually pulling the trigger and buying anything though. There was plenty of beautiful things at the craft fair though. If I had unlimited funds, I would be a very happy camper right now.

Anyway, the Renegade Craft Fair is going to be in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago later this summer, so if you live in any of those cities, I definitely recommend you check it out. Just bring some water and budget a lot of time, because there is a lot to see!

Website Roundup

April 9, 2010

I think one of the first things I did when I got engaged (okay, I’ll admit it, I was looking before I got engaged), was looking at as many wedding websites as possible. And there are tons of wedding websites. But some are better than others and some are better for certain things. Here’s a couple I’ve spent time on so far:

WeddingWire.com – I started with Wedding Wire, because my sister-in-law hosted her wedding website here. WW probably has the best planning tools available to brides.

The guest list tool is comprehensive, with options to collect addresses, track RSVPs, gifts and meal choices, and create separate invite lists for other events like the bachelorette party and bridal shower. Even cooler is the seating chart option. WW allows you to set up your reception room, by adding tables of varying sizes and shapes, all customizable, and take guests from your list and drag them to each table. After you’ve seated someone, their seating assignment is automatically stored in your guest list. Awesome, right?

The budget tracker will take your total budget and break it down according to industry norms (50% to reception food, venue, etc., 10% to attire and so forth) and will allow you to redistribute funds based on your needs, track deposits and more.

And the checklist is fairly comprehensive. It definitely includes things that aren’t relevant for everyone (we’re not all going to hire a wedding planner), but that too is customizable. You can add appointments and reminders and check off tasks as they’re completed.

I also used WW to make my own wedding website. Again, the tools are really easy to use and there are a lot of options of things to add.

The other features on the site are pretty decent. I appreciate the reviews of vendors, but the vendor list is fairly limited and many of the recommendations end up being too far away.  There are lots of pictures to scroll through, but they aren’t labeled well enough to find anything easily. It’s mostly for browsing. The forums are fun though and a broad spectrum of ladies participate, which definitely helps for generating ideas and getting feedback.

TheKnot.com – If you’ve been to a wedding since the Internet came to life, you’ve heard of the The Knot. The thing I’ve appreciated about The Knot is the wealth of advice in regards to planning steps, etiquette and anything else you may not know about planning a wedding. I’ve probably gone through 99% of the articles over there and I do think it’s fairly comprehensive.

The Knot also has a much more extensive list of vendors than Wedding Wire, but does not have reviews, which I found frustrating. I also wish they would map the vendors as well. I had a very specific area I wanted to host my wedding in and I had to weed my way through a lot of different places that were broadly in the Hudson Valley, but not on the side of the river I’d hoped for.

I don’t know much about the planning tools, because I had already settled on WW, but I do know there’s no seating chart option, which was the coolest and biggest reason I went with WW.

If you’re looking to browse photos, The Knot is a good place to start. The photos are much easier to sort through and are better organized by color and type. It’s definitely a good place to go for ideas.

ProjectWedding.com – While there is a lot of information and articles on Project Wedding, I’ve mostly been using it for the DIY ideas. Under Ideas -> DIY Wedding there are tons of great step-by-step directions on how to make your own fancy invitations, budget centerpieces and how to use unexpected things to create fancy looking accoutrements for your special day.

StyleMePretty.com – Style Me Pretty is, according to the site, the “ultimate wedding blog” and it’s really hard to argue. The site features gorgeous photos of wedding from around the country and is a great place to find ideas for your own. They also have the occasional contest. I recently didn’t win six really cute clutches for my bridesmaids and I. I’ll keep checking back in hopes of winning in the future. Odds are slim though. The last contest generated over 500 comment entries!

Brooklyn Bride Online – As a Brooklyn gal myself, I started checking out this blog to get local ideas, but like Style Me Pretty, Brooklyn Bride Online posts beautiful photos of real weddings and engagement shoots. Great for getting ideas. The writer, Vané Broussard, also posts photos and interviews with area vendors that you probably won’t find on the bigger sites. The best part of the blog though is the blogroll. I’ve found tons of other great blog sites through Brooklyn Bride Online.

I think those are the top sites I’ve been clicking on so far. I know there are a ton out there, but I haven’t really spent the time to go in depth. On Wednesday night, I hit up the New York Magazine Bridal Show (which was fabulous and I’ll post more about later) and learned about a couple of new sites that I want to check out.

What sites are you clicking on for wedding news?