Monday, September 14, 2009

La Isla Bonita

Last year, we went to Europe. The process of booking the trip involved six million hours of internet research, hemming, hawing (whatever that is), stalking kayak.com and totally sweating airfare. This was because we had a budget.

This time, I am ashamed/liberated to say, we don't really have much of a budget, because we don't really have any money! Friends of my parents generously contributed a shocking amount of money to our honeymoon, and we figure we'll pay the rest with the money we get at the wedding. I know this doesn't sound particularly responsible, but hey - I ain't a role model, it is what it is. (I should say, however, that I do have enough savings that I can cover the trip if I have to. No matter what, we're not letting this trip languish on our credit cards.)

I mentioned before that we were debating between a bunch of different ideas, among them Miami Beach and Belize. In the last few weeks, we decided on Belize. Nay, we didn't "decide," we got super excited about Belize!

My friendor DOC went to Belize on her honeymoon and loved it.

However, she also told me a sort of alarming story about her first scuba diving trip, which happened on the honeymoon: at the point when she got to "then I looked up and saw how far above us the boat was" I decided I was probably never going to go scuba diving.

When she got to the part about a hand-signal communication breakdown with her new husband, resulting in a near panic attack, I decided I was never going scuba diving.

Anyhow, Belize is a big scuba destination, especially because of the incredible, beautiful barrier reef off the coast of the country.


But I understand there is lots to do in Belize outside of scuba. Thank, god! Yeck.

After a ton (but not six million hours) of internet research, mostly on Tripadvisor.com, we decided to choose between two resorts in Belize: Matachica near San Pedro in Amergris Caye


And Victoria House, which is also on Ambergris Caye.


You may remember that I have a serious thing for swimming pools, especially infinity pools. Especially infinity pools on the beach! So you won't be surprised to learn that we chose Victoria House.

The pool wasn't the deciding factor though. Like a true former grad student/executive assistant extraordinaire, I gathered a ton of information (the grad student in me) and made a chart (the exec assistant in me) comparing Matachica and Victoria House. I put everything in there, from "free bottle of chilled champagne," to "unlimited use of kayaks." I compared which season we would be in while at each hotel, as our honeymoon will be on the cusp of high season and it varies by resort. Finally, I compared prices.

Ultimately, the differences in amenities were not significant, but the price difference was. Victoria House is beautiful, offers just about the same kind and amount of stuff as Mata Chica, but the price was a lot less.

Here is what we get at the Victoria House:

  • We're staying in a "Plantation Room" which has a private entrance and patio, a view of the gardens, the pool and the beach. Each bed has a canopy and the rooms have central A/C.
  • welcome cocktail
  • bottle of champagne
  • breakfast, lunch and dinner in their restaurant(s)
  • his n hers massages
  • snorkel trip
  • unlimited use of kayaks
  • dinner served on the beach or next to the pool
  • all taxes and gratuities included
  • they take care of reserving the puddle-jumper that gets you from Belize City to Ambergris Caye
Sounds goooooood, huh?

I called up today and asked for the price of the 5-night package. The operator quoted me about $2,800.00 for five nights, for two people. However, when I called back, I was told that for five nights we get a sixth free! We do have to pay for our food on the sixth day, but that's cool. So for about $3,000, give or take, we're spending six nights in La Isla Bonita!




Saturday, September 12, 2009

a color scheme emerges from... the groom's suit!

G. and I went to Macy's over Labor Day, to hit the sales and check out mens' suits. I had never been suit shopping before, and my eyes glazed over the instant we got to the 6th floor. I still don't exactly understand how you pick out a suit when they all look the exact same! Nevertheless, G. found one he liked in his size straightaway!

These were our criteria:

1.) G. likes a slim cut. He is tall and has long legs, so he looks awesome in a slim cut suit. He had been looking at DKNY suits such as this one to the left, but they didn't have it in his size.












2.) We want it to be black. That part wasn't hard, other than a sea of black suits can be kind of numbing.

3.) Has to be on sale. Ordinarily, that would be so obvious for us that I needn't even be a stated rule, but G. started to get a jonesing for a certain Hugo Boss suit. In case you didn't know, Hugo Boss never goes on sale!


















4.) Lastly, I really wanted a three-piece-suit for him. After spending a lot of time on the J Crew wedding site, I myself had a jones: and that was for a h-o-t slim cut three piece.










Ultimately, the DKNY suits were not in his size. He did find a lovely Tallia "orange" three-piece suit. No, it's not orange, but it does have a super-snappy gold paisley lining, which is echoed on the back of the vest.

(Sadly, my camera has died, so I had to take this terrible cell phone picture. Forgive me, but at least it shows the paisley.)

Then we went downstairs and picked ties for G., my bridesdude, and the two groomsmen. G. wanted "classic" grey ties, but I said: "boring!" and he allowed me to convince him to get yellow ties that pick up the colors in the paisley.

Now, with these suddenly coordinated groomsmen, and the surprising apperance of yellow as a unifying color, I am realizing we might have something of a color scheme after all! I am going to ask the bridesmaids to wear yellow-gold jewelry, and I may incorporate some yellow flowers into my babys breath bouquet.

It's funny how these things come about, because yellow is not a favorite color of either mine or G.'s. But I loved that he chose such a spicey look for his suit, and I really wanted to play on that with the ties. So, yellow it is?

Do your color decsions -- or any decisions -- come in a completely roundabout way?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

addressing the envelopes



OK, so it's actually a lot more complicated than (not my) boyfriend to the left would have you believe!

We are getting close to really taking action with our invitations. Enough planning, plotting, discussing and designing, we're ready to print these mothers!

While we're cooking with that, I want our calligrapher to get started on the envelopes. We decided to hire Fran Heider at Little Flower Calligraphy, who I discovered from Mrs. Swan! We're even using the same font as Mrs. Swan, "social butterfly."

I have to get our addresses all ready for Fran, and a whole host of questions have come up, most of which, from my perspective, require a good balance of etiquette, patience and feminism*.

What? Oh, yes. See, one little nagging issue is the "Mr. & Mrs. His-first-name His-last-name." I plan to take Garth's last name, but that's it! I am still Julia. I'll just be Julia His-last-name. I'm me! I am not becoming Garth.

The reason why this bothers me is that when names are phrased in that manner, it suggests:

Individual Man with His Own Identity + Wife.




Uh-uh! I will be more than "wife," and all the wives I know are more than "wife."








However, I am putting these feelings aside for the most part. For folks who are my parents age, I am going easily with "Mr. & Mrs." Heck, my mom prefers that, and she is a wicked feminist.

It turns out, most of our married friends do not share the same last name. I did some checking, and discovered that you address married people with two last names in this manner:

Mr. Donald Draper & Ms. Betty Friedan

Though I suppose you would call her "Elizabeth," not "Betty," and lose the ampersand. If you want to be really correct, you write:

Mr. Donald Draper
Ms. Elizabeth Friedan

Also correct is to list the names in alphabetical order, as above.

In our case, we're listing couples in the order that we most like each member of the couple:

Mr. Bradley Pitt & Ms. Angelina Jolie

Just kidding. We're listing them in the order of who we were friends with first. I have a girlfriend whose boyfriend's last name falls before hers in the alphabet, but I have never even met him. I am certainly not putting his name first.

I also found out that if one member of the couple is a doctor, you list that person's name first, even if (gasp!) it is the woman:

Dr. Jill Biden & The Hon. Joseph Biden

Ok, kidding again -- a senator would probably come first. But I couldn't think of another famous couple where the wife was a doctor and the husband was not. Hopefully, you get the point.

Other points:

The if a child is invited, and lives at home, the name goes on the next line after the parents' (this was an issue for me because I am inviting my 19 year-old cousin, who for all intents and purposes lives at home).

What to do about middle initials? I have generally read that you either use the middle name or leave it out together. No initials.

What tricky envelope addressing issues have come up for you?

*At the risk of calling out an entire paper company, I would avoid consulting Crane's for etiquette advice. They are in the dark ages, man. If a husband and wife are both doctors, they still have the woman using her "social title," which is "Mrs." To hell with that!





Friday, September 4, 2009

giant freaking feather

One of the things I am most excited about is my reception look. I'm not changing my dress -- I love my dress too much to take it off after the ceremony. However, I am going to take of my veil and change into a feather headband!

What I am looking for is variously called a fascinator or headpiece, and often comes on a clip, comb or headband.

These are my criteria:

1.) I will be wearing my hair straight and down, so I prefer a headband over a comb. A very sturdy clip would be okay for the perfect feathers, but I really think a headband would stand up to partying much better.

2.) I want it to be big.
Ok, maybe not Carrie Bradshaw big. Maybe not the-whole-bird-on-my-head big (especially because I am looking at ostrich feathers!). But big. Big enough that people are like, "Holy crap, look at that awesome feather headband!" But not so big I look like I am in costume.

3.) Since we don't have much of a color scheme outside of our polar bear stamp/ Met Building walls green, I think I want it to be white.

4.) I want it to be under $100. A lot less, if possible!

I have been looking on Etsy for awhile, and saved these as favorites.

This is the first one I found, $24 on a "small but sturdy clip." Ok. I like it, but it reminds me of a sea creature. Also, do the feathers look cheap to you? They remind me a bit of craft feathers from Michael's.

















This one is $45 and not totally white, but I think light blue is fine. It comes in a clip which is ok. I like the size and level of drama, but I wish it were fluffier, less flat.








This one is also blue, also a clip, and costs $30. And it comes with mystery free earrings! I like the variation in size and texture of the feathers.















This one is a bit more dramatic than I was aiming for, but oh, I love! Maybe I could pull it off! Isn't it delightful? I think I would feel just on top of the world in this. But I wonder if it isn't too much. But then, as soon as I say that, I think: "Too much? Pah! BE BOLD!"

$35 (yes!) on a headband (double yes!).













I love the texture on this one, too. I wish the seller had put it on a model so I could get a sense of how big it is and how it lays on the head. This one is $45 and a comb (boo).














I think this one is cute; more understated. It is more expensive, $78, and a headband. I like it.










What do you think about a giant freaking feather? Does anyone know of other places to buy such an item? Most importantly, which one do you like?

money, I need more of you! (things to buy on the internet to make your wedding pretty)

My old friend Martha Stewart is kind enough to send me emails on occassion, because she would really like to help make my wedding look nice. Recently, she alerted me to some totally awesome online retailers who sell decorations for your wedding on the semi-cheap but totally drool-worthy.

Have you ever been to a store with six million brightly colored tee-shirts or sweaters all lined up together in every color of the rainbow? That kind of product display gets me every time. It makes me want. Then I can never pick a color, because it is all the sweaters or tee-shirts that I desire, not just one. And I want to wear them all at once.
Anyhow, Luna Bazaar's website is kind of like that. They have six million things on their homepage that look so wonderful all together that I start feverishly grasping for my purse while unable to unlock my eyes from the computer screen.

A sampling:




This is just a taste of what Luna Bazaar can do for you! What should I get? What are you getting? OMG!





Thursday, September 3, 2009

something awesome

I'll most likely have somethings old, new, borrowed and blue on my wedding day, but right now I want to tell you about my something awesome.

You may remember that I have an non-traditional engagement ring: it doesn't have a solitaire setting, and the small diamonds wrap all the way around to make a branch-like shape. I love my modest ring. It is beautiful and perfectly reflects who and where were are in life, right now. However, I did not choose a modest ring because I am not into diamonds. Au contraire, baby! The more and the better jewelry, the awesomer, I say!

I was super psyched when my parents came up to visit me in May, and my mom brought her jewelry box (excuse me, she brought her travel jewelry box -- shouldn't we all have such a thing?). She explained to me that she had "found" a few diamonds, and would like to have a necklace made for me for my wedding day, which would consist of two diamonds from earrings she no longer wears, and three diamonds from my grandmother's engagement ring. Yes, please! I was so excited, and so touched.

Well.

If I thought I was excited then, it was nothing compared to when I saw my folks last week, and they whipped out a green velvet box at breakfast. The necklace was breathtaking. It hangs as a pendant on a lovely (and sturdy) gold chain. The large diamond from the engagement ring is set below the three smaller diamonds which are in an off-kilter setting that reminds me of twinkling stars. Also, as my mom pointed out, they refer subtly to my engagement ring.

You can bet your boots that I was wearing diamonds at that particular pancake breakfast!

On December 12th, I will be doubling up the diamond necklace, wearing it with an heirloom set of pearls, which were adjusted by my parents' jeweler to hang just so above the diamonds.

(I hate that I can't show you a picture of the necklace yet. Every time I turn my camera on lately, it has been making frantic beeping sounds while blinking all its lights. Hopefully, I'll get that fixed soon!)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

invitation countdown & what's really important

We're getting down to the wire with our invitations. As I mentioned, we're letterpressing them ourselves. We had lots of time to do it until... we didn't! Where the hell did the summer go?

Last night, G. and I sat down and created a schedule for getting this done. We counted backwards from the day we want to send them, giving ourselves a month between the RSVP deadline and the actual wedding day. (Our RSVP deadline just do happens to be my dad's 65th birthday, as well as the day of a huge pre-wedding dinner my folks' friends are throwing!).

Our schedule includes such exciting items as "finalize invitation wording" and "sort out postage." Yes, we're in the thick of it here. I realized that the wording is not so easy as I thought it would be. I don't want just the regular stuff, but I don't want to spend the rest of my life thinking up the perfect blend of sass and romance (though I do wish I had the perfect blend of sass and romance on the tip of my tongue!).

Last night, I looked back through Weddingbee threads on RSVP card wording. I would like something a little different than accepts with pleasure and declines with regrets, so I was scouting ideas. I also was sniffing around for how to head-off any potential issues with univited "+1" guests.

I didn't solve that problem, but I do think I decided how I want the RSVP portion of the RSVP card to go:

__ Yes, please!
__ No, thank you.
__ No, thank you, but I'll send a big gift anyway!

Hopefully, I haven't made the mistake of inviting any humorless guests; I wouldn't want any remarks about my big gift joke.

Do you have any jokes incorporated into your invitations? Or anywhere in your wedding?

my "vision"

I have a vision, several motifs, and no theme. Our wedding is going to be a bit of a rag-tag collection of different ideas, and none of them fit together. I am aware of this, and it is fine with me.

You may remember our venue, the Metropolitan Building has a very Parisian, shabby-chic feel to it.
You may think that "Parisian, shabby-chic" would lead a girl expertly to a cohesive vision worthy of Style Me Pretty. You can just imagine it, right? Lots of elegant, slightly distressed detailing, maybe some lace or linen. Sigh. It practically designs itself, this space. Online I read a description of the Met Building that called it an "Anthropologie photo shoot waiting to happen."

The thing is, none of my disparate elements really fit so neatly with what the Met Building has already given us, and I'm fine with that. Essentially, we just wanted to stick with things we like, and not worry about whether they all fit together. Themes and matching make me feel nervous and confined. I would prefer to have the elements of this wedding a little strange and disparate, but also be able to have the things we like, even if they don't match.

One of the early motifs that emerged began with our STD stamps: the only postcard stamps available on USPS.com were the polar bears. We liked them, and had no other choice!
I did notice, however, that some of the pale green tones in the polar bear stamp match the pale green walls at the Met Building.

Oh, ho ho! Maybe I do like a little matchy-matchy! From there, we used "sno-cone" colored paper from Frenchpaper.com for our STDs.
See what I mean? There is a vision and a method, but I wouldn't say I could name it, or that it's as easily identifiable and consistent as Miss Cowboy Boot's perfectly gorgeous peach and dusty rose Santa Fe wedding. Miss Cowboy Boot's vision is so palpable that I see things all the time where think "Oh, that would be perfect for Miss CB!"

I on the other hand, don't really understand inspiration boards and am not focused enough to use one or make one. (Do you use them or make them? Or both?)

This leads me to our invitations, which feature two polar bears, one of whom is wearing a tophat!

So we have polar bears on the stamps, polar bears on the invitations ... but will you see polar bears anywhere else? No!

...But you will see Sherlock Holmes. One of the things about our wedding that causes my mother's lips to press together are our escort cards, which will be Sherlock Holmes-themed. We're going to have each table named after a Sherlock Holmes story (The Adventure of the Speckled Band, anyone?). We'll have plain, tented escort cards with each guest's name, and the name of one of the cases inside. On the table, we'll have a Holmes silhouette:

Followed by the name of the case. Who wants to be at The Adventure of the Six Napoleons? Surely everyone will!

However, aside from the table names and escort cards, there's not going to be any other Holmes stuff at the wedding. My mom is not into the Holmes idea, I can tell, but is kindly indulging me. We picked this because G. has loved Sherlock Holmes since he was a kid, and knows all of the stories. More importantly, we spent the spring of '08 renting the Jeremy Brett version from Netflix. This was a difficult period for us, plagued by work and graduate school trauma, and Sherlock Holmes was one thing we always looked forward to, and I daresay got us through.

As far as my mom is concerned -- which is pretty far, considering she is creative director of all the flowers and the rest of the decor -- the wedding will have a strong "winter wonderland/Christmas" vibe. We're going to have cut paper snowflakes sprinkled on the tables, red Amaryllis placed on tabletops, and mini Christmas trees. And a lot of wreaths.

As you can see, a lot of these projects have yet to be completed, but they are swimming in my head. I've decided that even though my polar bear-detective-Christmas-snowflake-Parisian-shabby chic wedding doesn't all fit together, I don't care. It has all the stuff that we like, and that is the most important thing.

Do you have a vision? Do you have a theme? Are you all over the place, like me? Do tell!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Never Tear Us Apart

G. and I decided fairly easily on our first-dance song, which is Never Tear Us Apart by INXS. We made the decision by having me start to think about it long before we were engaged, developing a list, narrowing it down by myself, and finally delivering two options to him after we started planning the wedding. (The other song I considered was "No One" by Alicia Keys.)

We used the following criteria for selecting this particular song:
1) It is totally awesome, and has been so since 1987 when it came out.
2) It is part of the soundtrack of the very romantic movie Donnie Darko, which we both love.
3) It is has a hilarious and totally 80s saxophone solo in the middle. (I dream of performing "air saxophone" during our dance at the wedding!)

At any rate, despite the fact that the song was also played at Michael Hutchence's funeral in 1997, we thought it was a very romantic song, and let's admit it: a crowd pleaser. Everyone our age at the wedding is going to know and love this.

G. and I are not exactly shy, but we're not attention-seekers either. We won't be doing a surprise dance to "Baby Got Back" or anything of that nature. On the other hand, we want to avoid looking like our wedding is a 7th grade mixer, with three and a half minutes of us swaying back and forth.

Therefore, we asked my parents, who have done ballroom dancing for fifteen years, to choreograph a little something for us. Last week, we saw visited them for vacation, and we all had some wine and INXS in the living room. My parents worked out a ballroom medley for us, which mostly consists of a rumba box-step, with a dramatic tango lunge thrown in.

But the best part -- and the only thing that will prevent me from doing an air-sax solo -- is that my folks also included a Dirty Dancing move! I am sure that all women between the ages of 25 and 40 attending my wedding will immediately recognize Baby's fabulous head-roll during the sax solo! (She does it right in the beginning of the "Time of My Life" dance.)

Also like Baby -- when Johnny Castle runs his fingers along her armpit -- I had the giggles when we were practicing. G. was a good student, and neither of us had much trouble learning it, but I was a little embarrassed to do some corny stuff that my parents suggested, like lay my head on his chest during the tango lunge.

Also embarrassing: when my parents were suggesting some dirty tango moves that I was too prudish to seriously attempt in their company.

Hopefully my giggles and hesitancy will evaporate on the big day.

As shy as I am about it, I am exciting to have a choreographed dance that will hopefully be romantic and hold folks' attention. Even more so, I know my parents are super excited to be able to share their experience with us and really be able to contribute to this part of the wedding. Now all we have to do is practice.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

This must cause Cancer. But.....

I have a particular product that I need everyone to know about, but I hesitate to write this post. Well, I did hesitate, and then I was like "eh, whatever" and forged boldly ahead.

What is this product? Neulash is, according to their website, "active eyelash technology," which is beauty marketing speak for "OMG totally awesome eyelash stuff that makes those mothers grow!"

Why did I pause? Because it comes in a tube the size of a mascara, and it costs like $150. I say "like $150," because although their extensive FAQ section discusses the use of Neulash among those of the male gender, lactating mothers and concerned contacts-wearers, it does not actually -- so far as I can deduce -- discuss how much it costs.

I know, because my friend Melissa scored a tube for free, used it for three months before her wedding, witnessed a miracle, and passed it along to me. She reported to me that it costs $150. And, of course, I would never condone sharing eye makeup except in instances of serious bridal vanity desperation.

Melissa's eyelashes were mesmerizing. I mean, I she could have blinked near me and brushed my hair at the same time. She could have dusted lampshades with these things, it was amazing! I am not shilling for Neulash, as everything about it does seem a little creepy to me, but I am simply here to let you know that if you
a) have $150 to blow on seriously gorgeous eyelashes
or
b) have a friend in the beauty biz
you need to score some of this stuff.

I have been using Neulash for about four weeks, and started to notice a difference a few days ago. I plan to keep using it til my wedding, and pray I don't get pink eye. Of course, you can also get extensions, and spend a lot less money, but how fun to see your own lashes grow day by day before your very eyes!

These are before and after photos from the website, which are not even as impressive as Melissa's.

What crazy beauty stuff have you tried under the influence of bride brain?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Yes, I AM buying this light-up garland!

I get overwhelmed by too many choices, and I sometimes have trouble getting focused. I love Michael's, but when I go there I don't know how to take all the wonderful things there and direct them into a great project for me.

I signed up for the Michael's email list yesterday, and got a 50% off coupon. (Have y'all signed up? Do it now!) I took it to Michael's and figured this might help me get some focus. I thought that I wouldn't look at stuff that was super cheap, because who cares about something being 50% off if it's already cheap? (So, no tiny packages of stickers or Swarovski crystals.) So, I was thinking: pricey craft tools, anything Martha, stuff like that. (Sorry, Martha, but you're always the upscale choice at any big-box store.)

Anyhow, I went through the Wedding section, which today was full of crappy tiaras and invitation-making kits. Then I came across it: the Wilton White Rose Bridal Garland. Admittedly, the
packaging is a little cheesy, but I feel like this 6-foot light up, battery operated garland has huge decorating potential at my wedding.

A few thoughts:
1.) Wound
around the cupcake stands
2.) Wound around the centerpiece at the head table
3.) Hung across the wide doorway I'll walk through on my way down the aisle

So many options! G. called while I was at Michael's, and I was like, "White rose bridal garland! White rose bridal garland!"

And he was like, "Oh. Really? Are we really... having that?" in a strained voice. Sometimes he just doesn't see my vision. And he often doesn't know when I am kidding. Not kidding, Mr. G.! NOT. KIDDING.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Making cuts

I already know that this is the kind of post that will get folks heated in the comments. However, I would like to discuss what has been happening with one of my guests over the past couple of days, culminating today in my more or less dis-inviting her from the wedding. (This dis-invitation is somewhat along the lines of movies where the employee says, "I QUIT!" and the boss says, "No, you're fired!" Kind of like that, only without comic relief.)

I'll give it to you straight: I have been sweating bullets over the guest list for the past couple of months. I've been given a lot of grief from various family members, and I have created grief for myself. I got it to a place where we could all be content, and we went about sending out the save-the-dates.

Our M.O. for guests was the following:
1) spouses of guests invited, of course
2) serious S.O.s invited (fiances, or living together)

Most of the single people coming to the wedding are either not traveling to come to it, or they know lots of people who will be attending. No single people on the guest list were invited knowing no other guests.

A former co-worker who is about my parents' age signed our wedding website guest book last week, and said that she was going to bring her sister-in-law as her guest.

I wrote her back and gently explained that due to financial constraints, we were asking people to attend as would be addressed on the envelope (i.e., all "plus-ones" would receive an invitation, but no one was to bring a random guest). I said I had really struggled with the guest list, and was left only with this option. I reminded her that she would know four other people at the wedding, and thanked her for her understanding. I really did try to be cheerful in my reply, transparent in my reasoning, and firm in my resolve.

I won't give you the nitty gritty of every back and forth, but this unleashed a torrent of emails from this guest, challenging me on every level for my decision. Irritatingly, she also assured me that she was not taking "this snub personally," although she clearly was, and kept signing her emails "warmly." The long and short of it was that she wanted to bring her sister-in-law as a buddy mainly for the trip, which was long for her.

Well, as much as I would like to pay my caterer $150 for her to have a subway buddy, I can't afford that.

The last email she sent me was on Friday, wherein she began, "After all we have been through together...." and concluded by letting me know in an exceptionally passive-aggressive way how disappointed she was in me.

I thought about my reply for two days so that I wouldn't write back in the heat of the moment. This afternoon, I wrote the following:

With all that we have been through, I invited you to my wedding.
I explained to you the reasons for how the guest list has been developed, and it is what it is, I regret that it's not to your liking.
The card you received was not the invitation, those have yet to be sent. It was just a save-the-date.
I don't know what else to say except that I have a million things on my plate right now, the guest list is incredibly complicated, and I don't want to to be asked again to justify our decisions. I was hoping to be able to share this with you, I'm sorry we couldn't work it out.
I then emailed the whole exchange to my mom, who quickly called me at work to try to talk me off the ledge. I appreciated that; my mom was exceptionally calm, reasonable, and understanding. She really chose her words to me carefully.

Ultimately, I know there are a lot of people out there who will avoid conflict at any cost. I am a person who will avoid feeling bullied at any cost, and I was feeling bullied here, big time. This is a sensitive subject for me, because I just went through a painful experience with graduate school where I also felt bullied, and I just feel fierce right now (and I don't mean that in the Tyra way.)

I am not giving you the entire story because I know all the he-said-she-said can be difficult to follow and not interesting to anyone outside those involved.

I realize that I was tough, that many people will think I should have just relented. I realize I am setting myself up for judgment here, and that's fine. Maybe I did the right thing, maybe I did the wrong thing, but it is done.

The reason I share this story is that besides all the kooky "bride brain" and floral meltdowns we may have, there are ugly parts of wedding planning, too. I bet a lot of you have had ugliness (hopefully, many of you haven't). For those of you who have, even if your story is much different than mine, I wanted to share this with you. I just wanted to say, here is the crappy thing that happened here. Here are the grey areas, the bad behavior, the misccommunication. For what it's worth.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I think I made a mistake

I picked up my dress from Jenny Yoo yesterday. They don't do alterations, so I had to go to an outside tailor. A friend of mine who works in fashion recommended Joseph Ting at Dynasty Custom Tailors, which is just a few blocks from Jenny Yoo. Joseph and Dynasty were also recommended by New York magazine's wedding guide, a source that I trust because it caters to rich people, and rich people don't play when it comes to their wedding stuff.

Anyhow, even though my wedding is not til December, I was excited to pick up my dress, and I didn't want to schlep it all the way home on the subway, and then back to Joseph again on the subway at some later date. I said, "let's do it now!"

I put the dress on and loved it even more than I did before. It seemed a little big though, which I was psyched about since I lost 5 pounds. But then I remembered that I want to lose 5 more, and the wedding isn't for four months, and Joseph isn't going to require multiple fittings. I was thinking that after this, that would be it. I would take it home and store it in my in-laws' closet until December.

Now I am thinking: do I have to stay the exact weight I am for the next four months so the dress fits? It is strapless, so I really can't fool around and risk it falling off. The sample I tried in the store really fit quite well, so these alterations are not an elaborate multi-fitting process. Joseph is just shortening it, and nipping it in around the torso for a snugger fit, and that's that.

I'm a little nervous. My wonderful friend Amy, who came with me, says, "Don't worry about it, if we need to go back in November, we go back in November. No big deal."

So I guess I just won't worry. Joseph will still be there (and he works fast; this is supposed to be done in a week) and I can go back if I have to. I just feel like I planned badly, and I hate that! Usually, I am a good planner. Rats!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Who knew Martha could help us save money?

I just logged onto my Gmail account to find my daily tip from Martha. Today's is surprisingly helpful! I usually don't think of Martha when it comes to saving money, but today she has 50 tips for staying on budget (actually, it seems she has two sets -- this is the other one). I am a budget bride (of course, aren't most of us?) but some of these were new to me. She suggests, for example, hiring a wedding planner to save money because they are not shy about haggling. I never would have thought of that! Ah, Martha, saving us -- from overspending and bad taste -- at every turn.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

drying my tears with the pages of a book

Last week I cried nearly every time I thought about the wedding. It started with a fairly benign if slightly pushy email from the best man, which G. forwarded to me. It continued with a discussion between me and my supremely supportive MOH regarding bridesmaids' shoes. The reason I didn't cry these two times is because I was at work, and I have a no crying at work policy, which has only been broken once when I was a waittress and someone stole $80 off a table of mine, which I then had to pay myself.

Anyhow.

Finally, on Sunday, I did cry, and that was because I was having a nice day at home alone with G. and I had the time and space. I heard once, I think on Oprah, that people tend to cry when they feel safe. Interesting!

I realized that I am having some very mixed feelings about the wedding, which could be identified as below:

1.) I am pretty Type B, meaning I don't care if stuff is perfect, I just want it to be good.
2.) Although most brides are obsessed with details, there are a lot of details about which I really don't give a fig, such as bridesmaids' shoes.
3.) I have difficulty comprimising, if I am not the person who suggested comprimise.
4.) I hate being told that I have to do something, or made to feel like I don't have a choice.
5.) Even though I am Type B, I do worry about the pressure to have a totally awesome wedding that is creative and original and totally expresses exactly what G. and I are about.
6.) I worry about spending too much money.
7.) I worry about feeling/acting/appearing greedy.

I think this may have been bridal meltdown #1. Of how many, we'll see.

I went straight to my local bookstore that I love, McNally Jackson Books. I bought two books that I hope would bring me back from the edge, and so far so good.

The first is Altared (edited by Colleen Curran) has a very satisfying picture of a bride in a fabulous dress tearing her hair out. The book is a collection of essays about the tumult of wedding planning, and are decidedly not of the fairy-tale wedding variety. They are honest and touching and made me feel better. I especially liked Amy Sohn's and Dani Shapiro's essays.

I also bought Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides (Ariel Meadow Stallings). I haven't started it yet, but I read the Offbeat Bride blog and although I am not a goth or Ren-Fair bride, I appreciate the blog's committment to freedom and indepence and feeling like you can get away from the Knot if you want.

Having finished Altared, I am already feeling a lot better. I can't wait to start the Offbeat Bride book. I also feel a lot better being honest that I don't give a rat's ass about bridesmaids' shoes! It's the dirty truth.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Make Me Up

I saw this article in the Times last week about Laura Luke, the Youtube makeup tutorial phenomenon. I had never heard of her before, but spent some time today watching a Twilight-inspired (yes!) makeup tutorial. Her accent is cute, her work is good, and she saved a little time at the end to show off her dogs. I can relate to that!
I am still going back and forth on whether I am going to hire someone to do my makeup. My friend M. had her photographer friendor also do her makeup (talk about multi-tasking!), and the photographer/makeup artist had learned everything she knows on Youtube! I am thinking maybe I can study up for the next four months and do some totally awesome, perhaps Twilight-inspired makeup for my wedding day. I really like the idea of doing it myself rather than hiring someone, if I can do a good job.

As a sidenote, my same friend M. works in women's media and gets tons of free stuff. I had dinner with her (+ another friend and the friendor photographer/makeup artist) the other night, and she brought us each a tube of lipstick. I felt like it was some kind of bizarre Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants moment, because each of us chose one that looked fantastic on us. I myself got Estee Lauder's #67 Plum Amethyst, and I have to say: I think I found my wedding lipstick! Thanks, M.!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Walls Guestbook

I have to hijack a post from Brooklyn Bride for you:



The "Walls" Guestbook!

I went to two weddings this summer that had totally awesome guest-photography guest books. One involved a rented Polaroid camera, and the other a photobooth. As much as I loved that stuff, now I feel like I have to think of my own thing for the guest book (or, rather, let the blogs think of it for me). So I saw the wall book on Brooklyn Bride today and thought, ah-ha!

I love the graffiti element of it. I have been interested in graffiti since being introduced to it by a high school boyfriend. (He even professed his love for me in Krylon on my parents' basement wall!) In graduate school for art history, I tried to write a paper about graffiti, treating it as a serious movement. I say "try" because my conservative professors were decidedly not down. But that is a story for another time.

Anyhow, I think this is totally great, and it's only $16 by the way, which I was very happy to learn. Anyone else out there have some good guest book idea? Part of me still really wants to do the Polaroid thing, but I feel like that would be weird.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I could definitely have worse problems than worrying about where to go on our...

...honeymoon!

I have been really unfocused with the planning, lately. Our friends P. & S. got back from their honeymoon in Aruba recently, and hearing about their superfun times got me all fired up about the honeymoon.

(A recap of the conversation about their honeymoon:
G: So now that you're done with the wedding, what did you guys talk about on the honeymoon?
P: We didn't talk.
S: We didn't talk! We sat on the beach and I read all 8 True Blood books!)

We have not been able to figure out what we're doing with the honeymoon. We can't really afford it (and don't want to do a honeymoon registry), but we do expect to receive money at the wedding. I also have some savings that I could put toward it. But we don't have a budget, we don't know how long we want to go for, or where to go!

Here are some things we do (think) we know:
1) we want warm weather
2) we want to veg, big time
3) we would prefer to go to a place where English is the main language
4) we are getting more an more into the all-inclusive

What does all this add up to? Lazy!

Back in 2000, I went to South Beach and saw the wonder that is the Delano Hotel infinity pool. I vowed that although it is very expensive, I would go back one day and stay there. So one idea we had was to spend a night or two at the Delano, and then head to Key West for the rest of the vacation. That's our first idea.

Then, I thought, "Belize!" I love Mexico, and have been there several times, but never to the Yucatan. These days, I am a little nervous about traveling to Mexico because it is unstable, but Belize is right there! Also, because it was a British Colony, English is the main language. They have a beautiful barrier reef, awesome beaches and hotels, and is the inspiration for Madonna's "La Isla Bonita!" We have been looking at Laru Beya, Victoria House and Xanadu.

But then I was looking at Elegant Bride today, and saw an article about St. Lucia, and got all excited about that! Neither of us has been to the Carribbean more than once or twice, so it is not old-hat for us. (I know some people who have been to the Carribbean so much that it is nothing special.)

We also considered staying in the continental U.S. Friends of ours took a road trip around the Southwest for their honeymoon, and that sounded wonderful. Though it doesn't really fit with the "lazy" and "want to veg" priorities.

I just don't know how to get focused. I don't know how to set a budget or find great resorts. Well, I do know how to find resorts. My favorite: Tripadvior (I don't travel without it!). But I feel like I am being inefficient in my research.

How did you approach your honeymoon research?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

dramarama update!

I just learned that Jill & Kevin of the "JK Wedding Entrance Dance" have started a website, in which they are raising money to fight domestic violence.

The dance that they used for their ceremony entrance was by Chris Brown, who we all know beat up Rihanna the night of the Grammys. I have been following this story closely, and have very mixed feelings about the coverage it's gotten. I believe that the controversial picture of her battered face really brought home the serious and physical damage that this kind of battering causes. On the other hand, although I think the picture helped bring domestic violence out of the realm of the abstract for people who have not experienced it, I worry that it is a violation of Rihanna's privacy.
But we could argue about this all day.

What I was most upset by was the outpouring of support, not for Rihanna, but for Chris Brown! Overwhelmingly, (mostly male) celebrities let Brown off the hook with a "boys will be boys" excuse. I even heard many people repeat Brown's claim that Rihanna's island background caused her to be feisty, and that she was asking for it. Racist and sexist.

I have deleted Brown's songs from my iPod (I always liked Ne-Yo better anyhow) and have hoped that he will do some serious and penance for his actions.

For these reasons, I was thrilled that Jill and Kevin are working to use their 15 minutes of fame to help the cause of domestic violence. (Turns out Jill is studying domestic violence in her Ph.D. program!)

Major snaps to these guys. Seriously.

(Also, I can't help it: this is totally on a lighter note, but the website also has a picture of Jill & Kevin's wedding party, and I love Jill's BM dresses!)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

lift 'em up, push 'em together!

I got a call last week that my dress is in! Last week, I know, I know. I can't believe it's just sitting there. But I had two important things to do before I could go pick it up. First, I had to find a tailor, which I have done. Second, I had to get my undergarments.

I am a big fan of What Not to Wear, and it was there that I first heard of the wonders of getting professionally fitted for a bra. I really hate bra shopping, and I always feel like I am buying the wrong thing, so I was psyched to learn that there are ladies out there who are experts at making my ladies look good.

In New York City, there are a few places you can go. WNTW used Linda the Bra Lady, who I have heard terrific things about. Online research led me to Bra*Tenders, however. Bra*Tenders is located near Times Square and the Theater District, and it is the go-to place for theater people. (Miss Star, am I right?) They got great reviews on Yelp.com, as well as on the wedding blogs.

You have to make an appointment, and they take your credit card over the phone. If you miss your appointment without calling to cancel, they charge you. Yikes! But the appointment system, as well as their commitment to it, really makes the experience and service top-notch.

Bra*Tenders isn't a storefront, it is on the 6th floor of an office building with a totally amazing Art Deco interior. I was buzzed in, and because I was early, superfriendly Crystal offered me candy and a magazine, and the chance to go to the bathroom (a girl after my own heart!). When she was ready for me, we went together into a dressing room that was about the size of a small New York City bedroom (kidding, sort of...). I brought a picture of me in my wedding dress, in which I was feeling a little droopy, to say the least.

She had me take off my shirt, and I said, "I'd like to lift 'em up. I want a little something going on, but not too va-va-voom."

"Yes," she said, "and we'll push them together, because you're hanging to the side." And then she pushed them together.

OK, then!

We decided on my size. I have always bought 34B, but recently started experimenting with 32C. Turns out I am a 32C. Hey, that's why straps always fall off my shoulder! Already, Bra*Tenders was worth it. She determined my size by trying a 32C bra that was absolutely lovely and made me look goooooood. I glanced at the price tag. Oh, this is what a $120 bra does for you!

Because the sweetheart neckline and the back of the dress dip low, she said I would need a bustier longline bra. She brought it in, and then asked me if I would consider wearing Spanx. I was hoping to not wear Spanx, but I decided to put myself in the hands of the expert. "Well, we can try it, I guess...." I said.

Then she told me that the longline bra would cause all my stuff to smoosh out the bottom and make a gross muffin top at my hips. By all means then, bring on the Spanx!

Putting them on was unpleasant, because I hate the feeling of squeezing my thighs and behind into something tight. But once it was on, it was all good. The bustier was lovely and arranged everything just so. Crystal was right, everything was totally smooth across my hips. By this point, I was totally used to the Spanx and planning what outfits I would wear them with.

I was so excited by how great Crystal was making me look that I allowed her to upsell me. Usually I buy my bras from Calvin Klein at Macy's on sale. I told her this, and she didn't have any good Calvin Klein for me, but she had some other plain-looking but totally flattering nude colored bra for $44. I said, "I'll take it!"

I should note that I didn't feel any pressure whatsoever to buy. Crystal was really kind and made me feel good and comfortable. Bra*Tenders is the kind of place that really caters to women of all shapes and sizes, and helps you feel good about yourself. Work with what you got, I say! (This is also the idea behind WNTW, I might add.)

They had a lot of camisoles that were autographed by famous people, and I was glad to see one from Gloria Steinem that said something like, "Thanks for making a great space for women." I felt just the same way.

The bill was $200, for the spanx, longline, and regular bra. The consultation, which was at least 30-40 minutes, does not cost extra. I love good customer service, and I totally got it at Bra*Tenders.

Now I am superpsyched to do my dress fitting! I am also superpsyched that I am getting married in the winter, because although Crystal was wearing Spanx, I just don't know about that during the summer.

How did you go about buying under-the-dress-wear? Did you wing it on your own, do internet research or have a consultation at a store?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

It is Wednesday, so I am drinking water.

Here and there, Bees have posted about their bridal weight-loss strategies. From bridal boot camp, to cleanses, to Miss Lab's mind-blowing weight training how-to, there are all sorts of approaches a girl can take.

I would just like to weigh in (har har) myself: I don't really plan to diet for my wedding, for two reasons:

1) I am worried that if I lost a lot of weight for the wedding, when I gain it back, people will look at my pictures and be like, "Oh, you were so skinny. Then."
2) In 2004 I lost about 15 pounds through a combination of serious (and unhealthy) calorie restriction, getting a dog and walking a lot, not going out as much because I was all-consumed with grad school. I lost the weight in four months, and it did take about 2 years to gain it back, but gain it back I did. And the feeling was crappy.

I know why I lost weight, and I know that the calorie-restriction was not sustainable. I feel like if I were to diet for my wedding, I would probably choose a method that was not sustainable, and then feel like crap when the pounds creep back on.

However, I would like to take off a few before the wedding. And I would definitely like to at least not put on any more! Between turning 30 (serious metabolism shift) and co-habitating with someone who loves pizza and ice cream, I am at my highest weight ever right now. I'd like to get get back to what I consider my regular, ok, maintainable weight. Not my skinny weight.

So this is my strategy:

1) No more drinking on any night but Friday and Saturday. This is a tough one for me. And it also forces me to give some thought to my feelings about alcohol. Today, for instance, I had a day at work that I would describe as "banana splits," meaning it was totally bananas. I really wanted a glass of wine. But no! No drinking on weeknights is occasionally difficult, but something that I largely feel the benefits of, and not just calorically (is that a word?). I can definitely maintain this after the wedding.

2) I started a new fulltime job. In grad school, I worked in the morning and studied in the afternon. That means a lot of sitting around! Now, I work full time and chose to use the printer that is 20 feet away. I am up and about every few minutes and I think it is really good for me.

3) I am trying to be more mindful when I eat. G. and I both tend to wolf down our food. I am alarmed how often we eat our dinners in less than 10 minutes. Lately, I have been trying to cut smaller bites and eat slowly. This makes me feel more like a lady, too!

Believe it or not, these things have actually done well for me. I have lost about 5 lbs and am feeling good. Considering they're not huge steps, I think 5 lbs is quite respectable.

Is anyone out there making small changes that are probably better for you overall?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

dramarama

If one more person sends me this video ... I think I am going to scream!

It started on Facebook, people sent it to me, "Hey! Did you and G. ever think about this?;)"


Again and again and again. And then, in true fashion, my mom sent it to be about a week after the phenomenon hit the internet (or Good Morning America, where I also saw it). I don't want to sound cranky, I know people are well-intentioned and just making a joke. Hey, I like jokes! A lot!

But it makes me wonder: why is there this insidious competition happening among couples getting married, where it's as if your wedding is really the best wedding ever!!!! only if it is Youtube-worthy.

At our college, the theater majors were known as "dramaramas," which was not exactly a compliment. It had nothing to do with the theater, everyone liked that! It was that the actors at our school had a general tendency towards performance and attention-seeking all the time, not just on stage.

G. and I are not dramaramas. We are quiet, kind of shy. We feel uncomfortable with the idea of performing for our guests, or like they are secretly hoping we'll do something funny and awesome and get 11 million hits on Youtube.

We just want to get married. I don't want to overthink this, and I do think the video is funny. But doesn't it kind of seem like weddings are starting to become more of a performance or media event? It's exhausting!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

corsage alternative

Hello.

Here is what I need from you: my mom and I were discussing corsages. She was all, "I don't want one, but G.'s mother should definitely have one." I didn't really understand why she said that, but let it go. Several months later I told her that I wanted both mothers to wear a corsage. This is not because I am trying to be controlling or make everyone match (everyone in the wedding gets to choose whatever they want to wear) but because I like how corsages and boutonnieres make the immediate family and wedding party stand out. If people don't know my mom or G.'s mom, they can be like, "Oh, that lady with the corsage!" I think it is a nice honor.

It turns out my mom doesn't want a traditional corsage though, so I realized that at first she was just trying to get out of wearing one. I want her to wear one, but don't want to make her uncomfortable, so I am not sure what to do. I am pretty sure she doesn't want anything on her wrist (a little too homecoming queen).

I bet there is something awesome on Etsy, but I don't know what or how to look. (Searching on Etsy overwhelms me sometimes. I find I have to surf with my wallet across the room so I don't buy everything I click on.) Do you guys have any good ideas for mom corsage alternatives?

OMG so excited

People keep asking me if I am "excited" for our wedding. Until today, I wasn't exactly sure how to answer that. Last weekend, we went to the third of four weddings we'll be going to this year. The fourth will be our own! While we were anticipating and attending these other weddings, I really didn't feel like I wanted to talk about mine, because I didn't want to distract from the weddings that were actually happening. People would say things (all the time) like "you're next!" (nudge, nudge!) and I'd be like "yeah, but..." just wanting to concentrate on where we were that day. Not thinking ahead to us. Basically, I didn't want to be all about my wedding while we were celebrating someone else's.

Last night we saw our friends P. and S. (of the wedding with the bus debacle that should never be mentioned again, but surely will, again and again). They just returned from their honeymoon the other day. Now I feel like everyone's married, honeymooned, returned, and our friends are turning their attention to us. It is actually kind of exciting to talk about the wedding and not feel that I am detracting from another bride who's making 600 tissue paper puffballs for next week.

I also feel like it is becoming more real. It seems less and less like some abstract thing that's going to happen in the distant future. Today we took G.'s parents and sister to the Metropolitan Building to check it out, because they had not yet been. G.'s mom wanted us to get married in their family church, and has taken some time to warm up to the idea that we're doing our own thing, so to speak. We spent awhile looking at the space, talking about decorations, and asking Carlos (who really runs the show at the Met Building) all sorts of questions.

Luckily, G.'s mom has very similar taste to me and my mom, so I am happy to incorporate her suggestions. She is a big fan of Michaels, as am I. She has a snowflake-shaped hole punch, so we decided we'll make paper snowflakes to sprinkle on the tables. Awesome.

Then we took a trip to the Ravel Hotel, which is this new and super chic hotel in a quite improbable section of Long Island City. We took a look around there, and were super-psyched about the awesomeness of it, not to mention the (totally great-for-NYC) room rate they gave us.

Now that our friends' 2009 weddings have happened, and all parents have seen the Met Building and started thinking of ways to make it even more awesome, this really seems real.

When did things start to seem real for you? Or did they always?

PS - Thanks to Miss Sunbeam for posting her Etsy loves. Thanks to her, I am afraid I am going to be $300 in the hole for this gorgeous knitted shawl. I don't want to wear a winter coat over my wedding dress, but a girl does need a little something in December, right? (I plan to get dressed at the hotel and drive over to the ceremony.) I haven't decided whether I'll buy this or not, but damn, it's nice!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

style me...similar

I have some anxiety about individuality. When I was in high school, my sense of self was directly -- and militantly -- linked to the kind of clothes I wore, the kind of music I listened to, and the kind of people I hung out with. This is the case for lots of high school kids, I know. It is the essence of high school! And like most people, I discovered when I went to college and generally wised up that this approach is really limiting. I also realized that it is totally exhausting.

I felt all this pressure to express myself through my clothes and accessories, especially. If I were to categorize myself in a nutshell (which, let's face it, is also what high school's all about), I was one of those early 90s girls who wore combat boots, black eyeliner, dyed my hair red, was super into Courtney Love, Jane's Addiction and Nirvana. I hung around with people who threw around terrible words like "poser." God, it was tedious!

Ever since then, I have really resisted expressing myself through anything but my personality. I am not a particularly avant-garde dresser: I like to look cute, but I am not pushing the envelope. I shop at chain stores, cuz that's where the sales are.

And while most 31-year-olds have graduated high school, in some senses I have not, because I work in SoHo. For those of you outside of New York City, Soho is like high school all over again, except instead of cheerleaders you have models (everywhere!) you have dandy men, fashion people, media people, rich people, who are definitely thin, fabulous, original, avant-garde, exotic... and all checking each other out. Usually I don't give a fig what anyone thinks about how I look, but there are the occasional days (oh, about twice a week) when I have cobbled together my crappiest un-ironed Old Navy outfit from three years ago. And then I see some 16 year old in hot pants with a fabulous tan and just the right haircut and aviator glasses, and I think, "For the love of god, what a-hole invented this neighborhood? And why didn't I have those thighs when I was 16?!"

What does this have to do with weddings?

I have the same kind of anxiety about expressing myself through my wedding. I feel this push-and-pull between creating a wonderful event where we manage to both meaningfully celebrate our love and committment, share this intimacy somehow with 100 people (also in meaningful ways), create a fun event where people have a great time and say to me later "your wedding was so awesome!" And I have details, but not too many details, and things that are planned just enough to reflect my aesthetic (do I have an aesthetic?) but not over-planned, because I am not channeling the opulent bat mitzvahs of my youth.

And then I am like, how do I come up with the ideas to make it just so? And well, one thing I do is read a lot of Weddingbee. The bees are so diverse that I rarely feel like I am reading the same thing over and over again.

But on the other hand, when I read some other wedding blogs (and okay, occasionally on W'bee, not gone lie), I think, how can I have this at my wedding when I have seen this 6,000 other places? Even if it is something I like so much. I still think that.

I guess it comes back to the adage from Offbeat Bride that I already mentioned: your wedding is not a competition. I am not a competitive girl, nor a perfectionist, so I don't think I am really at risk of falling prey to wanting the best, most fabulous, memorable, full-of-firsts wedding. But I also don't one where everyone's all, "Oh, yeah. I saw that on the wedding blogs," or "So-and-so had that at her wedding. Two years ago."

How do you strike a balance? Should I just let go and, you know, que sera sera? Do you guys ever worry about this kind of stuff?

Sigh.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

invitation pre-planning

One DIY project we're doing that I am super excited about is our invitations. G. works as an editor at an independent poetry press in Brooklyn, and one of the great things about that experience is that he learned how to do letterpress.

The "paper" parts of our wedding are definitely his thing. He designed our STDs, with just a little input from me. We chose the paper and the ink colors together, and he took care of the rest. We went one Sunday to the press and letterpressed those babies ourselves. It took about five hours to make about 100 (we have lots of extras). That really brought home for me how much work is involved in letterpress. Oh -- that's why it's so expensive!

G. is in grad school (in addition to working full-time) so we really want to get these invitations done for the most part before labor day. He's not going to have much time to ruminate on projects once classes get cooking.

I am psyched about how psyched he is for this project. We both really had a good time making the STDs and it energized us for the invitations. For my part, it made me realize that we need to really think carefully about how much of the suite we want to letterpress, and what could be done on the ole inkjet. (A letterpress map to the wedding would look great, but.....)

I know that G. wants the suite to be a little weird, totally beautiful, and something that people will keep. (I know most brides want the invitation to be something people keep, but I am impressed that he, as the groom, does. To be honest, and I kind of hate to admit this, but the only wedding invitations we've ever kept are the ones we put in our scrapbook of romance. Isn't that terrible? Argh. Sorry.)

Anyhow, I can't wait to see what he comes up with. I am especially curious because he doesn't read wedding blogs and probably isn't as well-versed as I am about what's trendy in wedding invitation design. I think that he'll come up with something totally organically, which is awesome. Also, G. has a hell of an imagination so I expect they will be a little offbeat, too.

Of course, in a way we're two peas in a pod in that respect, because I have asked him repeatedly how we can work a beautiful image of a jellyfish into our design. Why? Why not!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Scrapbook Romance

"Romance" is a big word in our household. I remind G. pretty often that romance is very important. Also, I like to find romance in whatever we do. So if we're filling up the tank, we're having "gas romance." If we're going food shopping, we're having "Pathmark romance."

Usually I am the half of the couple who reminds us when we need romance. I think that it is possible that this concept is a hair more important to me than it is to him. Nevertheless, when G. comes through, he comes through. This past Valentine's Day was major romance with respect to his gift to me.

He gave me a scrapbook! Perhaps this doesn't immediately scream romance to you? The idea, he explained in his card, was that we would document our next year together. Scrapbook romance!

You may remember that we got engaged the day after Valentine's Day. This is definitely a "first day of the rest of your life" kind of day, so documenting the rest of the year after that seemed totally awesome to me. I became even more super excited about scrapbook romance, because it was combined now with engagement romance, which is probably in the top 3 of the best kinds there are.

I am new to scrapbooking. It is not a "thing" here in NYC the way it is in some other places. We have Michael's, but I have heard that in California, for instance, there are entire stores devoted to scrapbooking. I don't really know about this stuff so mine is pretty ham-handed compared to what's out there. That's ok, though.

This is the first page of the scrapbook, from the day we got engaged. There are the two receipts from the entry to the Met, where we got engaged. There is a receipt from the bagel breakfast we had that morning, so I can always remember that I pigged out on bagels with cream cheese and chocolate milk the morning before we got engaged. Then there is the tag you wear on your lapel when you pay for entry to the Met. I also threw in a weird picture that G. found inside a book at the Met book store. It doesn't have anything to do with us, I just thought it was weird and funny. Last are some puffy hearts that I bought on sale at Papyrus. Then I typed out the date in a cool font I found on dafont.com and presto! First foray into scrapbooking.

(G. likes totally normal fonts and nothing wacky at all, so we'll probably be doing our invitations in Times New Roman. Sigh. So seeing as the scrapbook belongs to me, I am trying out fonts all over the place.)
Here, I got a little more creative with layout. On the left side is some stuff from our 10 year college reunion, which was this past June. (G. and I went to the same small college, and graduated the same year, but we didn't know each other. We met six years after we graduated.)

On the right is a collage of stuff from our very good friends' wedding, which was a week ago. I included their invitation, our escort cards, G.'s groomsman speech (handwritten) and a polaroid that someone took of us at the brunch the next day.

I love scrapbook romance, and I love how creative this gift is. Message to dudes who read Weddingbee and are thinking of proposing (and I am sure there are lots of you): do this! Scrapbook romance. The best gift ever!

Did you get a great "extra" with your engagement?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wedding Blitz

G. and I just got back from our third wedding in four weeks. Man, weddings are exhausting, even if you're just a guest! This one was in VT, and largely outdoors, though there was a rain contingency plan. Luckily, there was no rain!

I am not sure that I learned very much from this wedding, as it was a rural, outdoor, summer wedding, and we're having an indoor, nighttime, urban wedding.

One thing I did learn, however, was to definitely play "Like a Prayer." The DJ was awesome, and the crowd went nuts!

Here are some details that I particularly loved:
1.) The bride wore a 1930s slip that she had converted into a dress, and it was absolutely exquisite!
2.) For the reception, she changed into a 1950s prom dress (lots of tulle!) that had a baby blue crinoline. Best of all, were her baby blue, patent leather Vivienne Westwood slingbacks that were named after her!
3) The bride and groom made a last minute change to their first dance selection: the original pick of a Beatles song was replaced by Jackson 5 "I'll Be There." Very timely, and I may have shed a tear. (I also love the Mariah Carey version.)
4.) The ceremony music was bluegrass. Loved it!
5.) The bride didn't decide a thing about her hair and makeup beforehand -- an irony that I love as her career is with women's magazines. She tried a few things before the ceremony, picked what she liked, and it was done. I really admire that relaxed approach. She looked relaxed! And lovely.
6.) She made excellent use of "friendors." The photographer was a friend from college. The photographer also doubled as the hair and makeup artist... having learned a few tricks of the trade from YouTube tutorials!

All in all, it was a lovely weekend. Are any of you in a wedding blitz this summer?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We've been living together for three years now, the jig is up!

I am borrowing my veil from my friend R. I am excited about this for two reasons!

First, although I am not really going to be consciously doing the "something old, new, borrowed, blue," business, I love having something borrowed. I love the idea that with the veil on my head, I'll have R. with me (though she'll be attending the wedding too, of course) and when I look at the pictures later, I'll be able to think "That Rosemary! What a doll she was to lend me her veil!"

Rosemary got married last November in Austin and had a fantastic wedding with a parade of guests who walked from the church to the reception, followed by a mariachi band. Anyhow, her wedding was more formal than mine, so she had a cathedral length veil that she wore for the ceremony. For the reception, she changed into a shorter veil, that I semi-captured in this photograph.

Sorry it's so dark. Anyhow, I like the veil because it's short and cheerful looking, and very sheer. I thought she looked lovely in it and I hope I will too.

The other reason I am excited is because it put the kibbash on an argument my mom and I were having. At first, I didn't want to wear a veil. Then she said it was really important to her, so I was like, fine, I am not picking this battle. So I agreed, and we started looking online.

THEN she said she wanted me to wear a veil with a blusher, and I put my foot down on that. Her argument was that it makes brides look so pretty. I totally agree, it does look pretty. But I'll look pretty anyway, I'm the bride!

My problem with it -- and I want to be very clear that this is only a problem for me and has nothing to do with the choices any of you make -- is kind of political. The blusher just reminds me of the dowry, of the times back when a bride was expected to be a virgin. I just feel that with a blusher I'll be like some present for my man to unwrap, and it just makes me really uncomfortable. I am wearing a white dress, just because I like my dress and it is white, and white wedding dresses are easier to find. (I did consider pink, which is what my mom wore. By the time I was done trying on though, I was too tired to investigate whether my dress came in pink, so white it is.) I just feel like the veil over the face goes to a place I don't want to go.

So borrowing R.'s veil is nice because it is hers, and I love her, but also because it shut down the argument with my mother about the veil over the face. Done and done!