The Friday Report


Try not to drool…

We’re coming off a high from finding C’s PERFECT wedding dress last weekend, and it’s got us in full-on wedding mode. Today we’ve got a list of the best wedding ideas that have caught our attention lately. Enjoy!

Shoes for the glam bride and the casual bride. We’ll take both, thanks.

First off, we love the idea of the uniform Pinterest board cover photos from Gem Jackson. And the girl has some majorly awesome wedding pins worth coveting.

Martha Stewart Weddings will always be our favorite source of inspiration. Check out these great favor ideas.

A perfect idea for entertaining the younger crowd at your wedding.

They say hindsight is 20/20, so take post-wedding advice from recent brides.

Favorite Instagrammer:  @MollyJacques (major calligraphy swooning ahead)

Best Sale: Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly Sale

Favorite Food Blog: Table for Two

Need to know: How to beat airlines at the excessive fee game.

Best Useless Information: Fluffy Bunny. I WANT.


Stuffed Acorn Squash: A Healthy and Hearty November Meal

stuffed acorn squash

It’s finally November, meaning its time to start planning your holiday meals. I spent my Sunday this week pouring over baking magazines and drooling over the recipes I plan on making for Thanksgiving (stay tuned for some jaw dropping recipes this season 🙂 ) In the meantime, I thought I’d work on creating a fall friendly meal, that is healthy, but still hearty. I found a version of this recipe on Pinterest and decided to give it my own spin. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 oz)
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 Tbs Fresh Rosemary (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Sage (Finely Chopped)
  • 3 Tbs Kosher Salt
  • 2 Tbs Fresh ground Pepper
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs agave syrup
  • water

Shredded Chicken:

Place the chicken breast in your slow cooker and pour 2 Tbs of olive oil over top. Add 2 Tbs kosher salt, 1 Tbs freshly ground pepper, 2 Tbs Fresh Rosemary, 1 Tbs Fresh Sage, 1 tsp ground nutmeg and 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Rub the spices and olive oil onto all parts of the chicken breast. Peel the white onion and add to the chicken mixture. Add water to the slow cooker, completely submerging the chicken and onion. Turn the slow cooker on low and let the chicken cook for about 6 hours. Once the chicken is fully cooked, use a fork to shred the chicken. Take onion out of chicken and chop into smaller pieces, removing the top portion. Use tongs  to pull chicken out of the liquid. Set the chicken and onion aside.

stuffed acorn squash

Acorn Squash:

Preheat oven to 350. Cut squash in half and scoop out center. pour 1 Tbs of olive oil over each half of the squash (2 Tbs total). Sprinkle 2 Tbs of kosher salt, 1 Tbs of fresh ground pepper, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp nutmeg over the squash halves. Rub salt, pepper, spices and olive oil evenly over squash. Bake squash halves in a 9″x13″ pan for 30 minutes.

Cinnamon Pecans:

Melt 1 Tbs of butter in a sauté pan. Add 1/4 cup pecans and 1 tsp cinnamon. mix cinnamon and pecans with melted butter and sauté until pecans are lightly toasted. Remove from heat.

stuffed acorn squash

Add chicken and onion to the center of each squash half. Sprinkle 1/8 cup of cinnamon pecans over each half. Drizzle agave syrup over each half and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!


Getting Creative with Save the Dates

Her at The Vows of Friendship, W and I are working to customize our weddings and seek creative ways to accomplish things, but we are finding it so hard to be original. Between Pinterest and so many amazing sources (*cough*cough* Style Me Pretty, Snippet and Ink, 100 Layer Cake, Green Wedding Shoes, etc.), it feels like almost everything has been done. This especially feels like the case with our Save the Dates. W and I are both taking our engagement photos within the next month or so and are both so excited to share them with you! I am currently working on a top secret project for our Save the Dates, so stay tuned for the final result! In the meantime, here are some of our favorite inspiration images for Save the Dates and just why VOF loves them:

This Kraft Paper Save the Date is wonderfully simple, yet feels romantic at the same time. We love the handmade elements and personal touches. Would I be crazy to try to make 300 hundred of these?



How could this Illustrated Save the Date not make you smile? This couple did a lovely job branding their wedding and incorporating fun, personal elements that add character and set them apart. 



This Sweet Typographical Save the Date just makes me swoon. As self-proclaimed design nerds, how could we not fall in love with these beauties? We’re envisioning, a watercolor invite with handwritten calligraphy. Sigh!


This Scroll Style Save the Date has a royal, elegant feel. We love that they kept it simple and elegant, using calligraphy and velum. Just tie with a thin gold ribbon for extra pizazz and it could be perfect!


Do you have any great ideas for Save the Dates? Let us know! We love hearing from you.


Engagement 101


Newly engaged? Congrats! But what comes next? Getting engaged is exciting…but also slightly overwhelming. After the first few hours of bliss with your honey, the reality of the long road of wedding planning ahead starts to set in. The VOF girls are here to guide you through the first few weeks of your engagement with the hope that you can minimize stress and make more time for enjoying the fun that comes along with being newly engaged.

1. Tell Everybody

This may sound easy, but it will consist of telling and re-telling and telling again the story of your engagement, complete with every minute detail. Depending on the size of your family or social circle, this can potentially be exhausting. But who exactly should be called first? We recommend calling parents, siblings, and close friends first (in that order), but personal circumstances can call for different priorities. Only you know who deserves that first phone call. If you’re lucky, all of your closest friends and family could be involved in the proposal, like this amazing engagement story.

Beyond your closest relationships, we suggest calling extended family, other friends, close coworkers, etc. Only then is it appropriate to post the big news on social media. To avoid offending someone you might have forgotten, put off posting the engagement to Facebook for a few hours after you finish your phone calls, just in case you realize you forgot to give Aunt Jane a ring.  (It’s also important to consider those who don’t have access to social media!)

Finally, you may want to let your hometown media know about your engagement, so check into the policies of your local paper to see if they require you know your wedding date/location or only print within a certain number of days of your wedding. You’ll most likely want to wait until you can include engagement photos anyway, so no need to jump the gun on this one!

2. Nail down a budget

Here comes the awkward part: money. You need to figure out who exactly will be contributing what. If you foresee either set of parents helping pay for the big day, you need to sit down and have an honest conversation of what type of budget you’re looking at. If you’ll be funding the wedding yourselves as a couple, look at your projected budget for the upcoming year (or months in some cases) and estimate how much you can realistically set aside.

It’s important to get a good idea at this point of what you’re expected to pay for. If your parents are willing to fund the wedding, but expect you to pay for the honeymoon or bridal party gifts, try to nail down a number for what you and your future hubby can afford to keep from going overboard. No one wants to start a marriage in debt from their wedding, so keep in mind that some of the most beautiful and sentimental weddings have the smallest of budgets. This is not the time to play Keeping up with the Jones’, it’s a time to celebrate the start of a new chapter of your life as husband and wife.

3. Develop a guest list

Developing your guest list can go hand-in-hand with estimating your budget. Almost every cost in your wedding will be determined by the number of guests attending. Start big and think of anyone and everyone you might possibly want to invite. Next, divide that list into three categories: a ‘must invite’ list, a ‘really want to’ invite list, and a ‘will invite if possible’ list. In the meantime, ask both sets of parents to provide you with a list of people they’d like to invite, especially if either set is paying for part of the wedding. Let them know that you’ll do your best to accommodate their lists, as is realistic with your budget.

After creating your list, you should determine how many guests you can realistically afford to invite (obviously this number may change based on vendor prices, but a good place to start is $100 per head). From there, try to come up with a number of the invitees who you think will actually attend. For some couples, you can expect an 80% attendance rate, especially when the bride and groom are from the same area. Many times, as with C & myself, half your guest list will be asked to travel a very long distance; in these cases, you’ll probably want to reduce your attendance rate somewhere around 2/3.

You may need to revisit your budget and guest list many times during the planning process, but it’s good to find a solid starting place before contacting venues and vendors, so you can have an idea of what size event you’ll be hosting.

4. Decide whether or not to use a Wedding Planner or Coordinator

I know it can sometimes seem crazy to shell out a portion of your precious budget to have someone help you plan your wedding when you have plenty of time to do it yourself, but you might be surprised. In many cases, hiring a wedding planner can actually save you money by helping you make the most of your budget. Hiring a wedding planner will not only provide access to the absolute best vendors in your region, but it will also provide peace of mind that your day will run smoothly. A wedding planner will likely cost between 10-20% of your total wedding budget.

If you’re a Type A, planner type of gal, a Day-of coordinator may be a better fit for you. With prices ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, you can still retain that peace of mind without giving up control. Find out more about Day-of Coordinators in this article. Ultimately, every bride will need something different, but don’t write off a wedding planner from the get go!

5. Select a Venue

Finally (well, not finally, you have a long road ahead girl), you’ll want to start looking for a venue that both accommodates your guest list and your budget. Finding the perfect venue depends on many different factors. Some require you to use their preferred vendors, others have early curfews, while popular venues may book up early and quickly. One factor you’ll want to keep in mind is the number of people on your guest list. A restaurant reception might have the right vibe, but will the restaurant be able to hold all 300 of your family and friends? Meanwhile, that beautiful loft space may catch your eye, but your 50 person guest list could leave the venue feeling too open or empty.  There are lots of factors to consider, so sit down with your fiance and decide what is most important to you as a couple. This will help you narrow down venue choices and find a date that is available and works for you and your families. If you already have a date in mind, this may narrow down your options even further.

When looking at prices, make sure to check what amenities each venue provides. A backyard wedding may seem like a cheaper option, but you’ll need to factor in table, chair and linen rentals. If you and your future hubby are from different places, try looking into venues at both locations if you don’t have your heart set on one or the other. You’ll be surprised by the vast difference in venue prices across different regions of the country.

Jan 2013 Cruise 106

M and me just hours after getting engaged. Obviously, I had not yet mastered the non-awkward ring pose yet…

M and I were out of the country when we got engaged, so I used the lack of cell and internet service as an excuse to really enjoy the bliss of being newly engaged before any planning stress set in. Being able to spend several days together without any distractions was irreplaceable (and almost like a pre-weddingmoon, people should really make that a thing). For C, she already knew exactly where she wanted to get married, so step 5 above was a breeze. Obviously the process will vary slightly depending on your situation, but loosely following this guide should make for smooth sailing during your engagement.