Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bridal Party Swag: The Bridesmaids!

Up next, the bridesmaids' gifts!  I seriously, seriously had to stop myself from buying bridesmaids gifts on a regular basis.  It is a small miracle that I stopped here.  It seemed I was constantly running into amazing bargains for off-season goodies.  But thankfully I did stop eventually, because nothing else would have fit into the gift bags!  So here's what the girls got:

(1) their big gift: monogrammed white cashmere scarves from Land's End.  My only regret is that I didn't get one for me!

[caption id="attachment_1802" align="aligncenter" width="280" caption="Ok, I admit this isn't the exact scarf but you get the idea. Click image for source."]Ok, I admit this isn't the exact scarf but you get the idea.  Click image for source.[/caption]

(2) Christmas candles from Crabtree and Evelyn. (sorry, no photo for this one...)

(3) Amber bath oil and bath salts from the Body Shop. (I'm a bad blogger and didn't get a photo of this one either)

(4) Flip flops that went with their bridesmaids dresses, in chocolate, for the reception (hey, cute shoes are generally painful shoes, so I made sure there was a plan B!)

[caption id="attachment_1801" align="aligncenter" width="223" caption="Old navy flip flops- affordable, basic, perfect."]Old navy flip flops- affordable, basic, perfect.[/caption]

(5) "Bridesmaids Survival Kits" which were a combination of (a) handmade cosmetic bags in Amy Butler fabrics which I had custom made by Woodly Creations; (b) gingerbread lip gloss from Philosophy; (c) tiny "love" sewing kits, bandaids for feet, tylenol, safety pins, and shout wipes.  I was a girl scout after all- gotta "be prepared"!

[caption id="attachment_1800" align="aligncenter" width="222" caption="As an added bonus, these matched the gowns so well that many of the maids used them as clutches on the wedding day!"]This might be my favorite gift of them all[/caption]

(6) Vintage handkerchiefs, wrapped with a poem on the back about friendship (I'm a cheeseball, I know, but apparently my ladies are too because they loved them).

[caption id="attachment_1799" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="You can find great vintage hankies on ebay!"]You can find great vintage hankies on ebay![/caption]

(7) Little scrapbook-thank you notes, which contain photos of me and each bridesmaid through the years, and have a little note from me at the end.  These were such a hit, and there are so many cost effective ways one could re-create this project.  I highly recommend it!

[caption id="attachment_1798" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="I loved how each scrapbook was different!"]I loved how each scrapbook was different![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1797" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The finished gift!"]The finished gift![/caption]

And of course, a Christmas ornament. To top it off, I tied pretty bows on the gift bags- and followed Beyonce's advice, since I like them, and put a ring on it!  (I had to buy a package of faux rings at the craft store for the ring bearer's pillow, and I had some extras so I used them to bling things up).  To my surprise, these also turned out to be a hit- everyone was wearing them!

[caption id="attachment_1803" align="aligncenter" width="222" caption="ba-ling!"]ba-ling![/caption]

I hope they liked them as much as I enjoyed making them!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bridal Party Swag: The Groomsmen

Like most couples, J. and I wanted to give our bridal party members a little something to say "thank you" for being a part of our day.  And though I had created some cute Christmas ornaments for everyone, I couldn't just stop there.  But the problem for us was that so many of our guy-friends are already married, and also our groomsmen are not all the same age (I have a 16 year old brother) so the traditional beer mugs or T shirts didn't really fit- or had been done already.  So J. and I shopped around and found some other goodies for everyone.  Ultimately, we decided to give everyone a few fun things- things we thought everyone would like- instead of just one big gift.  And personally, I think they came out great.  Here's the goods:

(1) Monogrammed silver cufflinks from Groom Stand to wear with their tuxes (J. once received these at a wedding and loved them, so we decided to gift them too).  The guys really loved them!

[caption id="attachment_1792" align="aligncenter" width="250" caption="I love the art deco font on these."]I love the art deco font on these.[/caption]

(2) Shaving supplies from The Art of Shaving (This was hands down, the thing everyone was most excited about- to my pleasant surprise!  These little kits retail for $25, and inside is a $25 gift card for the store where the guys can go buy more!)

[caption id="attachment_1791" align="aligncenter" width="251" caption="We went the fragrance-free route, just in case anyone has sensitive skin."]We went the fragrance-free route, just in case anyone has sensitive skin.[/caption]

(3) A good book (this isn't the exact book, but it's close enough)

[caption id="attachment_1790" align="aligncenter" width="123" caption="Perfect for hotel room reading."]Perfect for hotel room reading.[/caption]

(4) And socks for those tuxes.  Of course for the socks, I had to get some DIY action in, so I took basic black socks (check your dollar store for inexpensive ones) and put belly-bands on them.  I also added labels that say "In Case Anyone Gets Cold Feet..." which is not an original idea, but it did turn out cute!  Now, the groomsmen were maybe less excited about these than me, but they did wear them!

[caption id="attachment_1787" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The stars of the show- special socks."]The stars of the show- special socks.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1788" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Detail shot!"]Detail shot![/caption]

Everything was wrapped in gold paper with green ribbon, and placed in white gift bags purchased at Paper Mart in bulk.  To dress up the bags and help us keep them straight, I wrote each person's name on their bag using rub-on transfer letters in gold.  And some green tissue completed the look.

[caption id="attachment_1789" align="aligncenter" width="294" caption="The whole gift!"]The whole gift![/caption]

What would you give your groomsmen?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bridal Party Swag: Christmas Ornaments!

How on earth can one have a Christmas wedding without Christmas ornaments?  Not possible, I tell you.  So early in the planning process, I started the research to figure out how I'd make some for our bridal party gifts.  Initially I thought I would purchase and decorate plain ornaments but in April, they were somewhat difficult to find.  But you know what isn't hard to find?  Christmas clearance at Crate and Barrel, and CB2Pottery Barn also had some cute sale ornaments, but CB2 definitely had the most affordable options- the only concern was making sure I purchased something with a vintage enough vibe.

So when I stumbled upon these blown glass cuties at CB2 for $.50 apiece, I immediately snapped up 30 of them.  And to my surprise, the arrived individually packaged in perfect square boxes!  So I got to work getting them gift-ready.  I ordered green paint pens and coordinating ribbon from JoAnne , and then I wrote our names and the dates on each piece, adding a heart later after deciding it needed a heart.  It was not as easy as it looks to use paint pens on ornaments... but the great thing about paint pens is that you can use a wet paper towel to wipe off paint and then re-do it if you have to.  And so 5 nights and two cramped hands later, we had these!

[caption id="attachment_1782" align="aligncenter" width="242" caption="I love how cute the scrolled decoration is!"]I love how cute the scrolled decoration is![/caption]

While the ornaments had originally come wrapped in plastic, I decided to re-wrap them in coordinating green tissue, and then I placed them back in their boxes.  But that wasn't good enough for me.  Oh no, it was April and I was not yet oversaturated with "wedding" so I kept going.  I wrapped the boxes in gold paper (from the Christmas Tree shop, where I bought 10 rolls for $1.99 apiece!) and used green ribbon (purchased on clearance from Michael's for $1 per roll), and sealed the ribbon using a white embossed sticker with our monogram.

[caption id="attachment_1783" align="aligncenter" width="279" caption="Ta-Da!"]Ta-Da![/caption]

So the total cost for this project, even with shipping costs and gift wrap, came in at about $30 for 30 ornaments.  Which was perfect, since we still wanted to give other goodies to our bridal party.  Stay tuned to see what they got!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

I Said "Yes" To A Dress; But "No" To Many More

 I'd like to take a minute to revisit my dress hunt.  For most brides, the dress is one of the biggest - if not THE biggest- decision when planning their wedding, and I was no exception.  I know full well that the day isn't really about the dress- it is about connection and love and family.  But it is a little bit about the dress.  Its this chance you have to feel like a princess- and let's face it, the older you get, the less likely you are to feel "princess" and more likely you are to feel "dowager."  I wanted princess, gosh darn it!  And I asbsolutely was not going to compromise on this point.

Even though I ultimately LOVED my Platinum for Priscilla gown, I also loved some other gowns along the way (not as much, but enough to merit some lovin').  And I think its worth a trip down memory lane to look at some dress porn!  I tried all these on, by the way (and then some).   

I had no real set of criteria for my dress other than a vintage feel- mostly just things I knew I didn't want.  No pickups or pillowy poufs, no sleeves, nothing to summery.  The one exception to my lack of criteria was that I wanted a train- a fabulous, glorious train!  I had a general idea too of what I wanted to spend, but the truth is that I had plenty of money in savings, and I was willing to spent whatever it took to get that princess feeling for this one day.   Yep, I was a stereotypical east coast bride and I'm not ashamed.

So I went high end.  This is not budget friendly stuff, my friends.  But even if you're not going to spend loads of money, I highly recommend you go try some of these fancy dresses on, because there are plenty of lower-end designers who copy these looks so you can always find a good substitute if you like a dress.  And in the higher-end salons, you get treated so well, its a lovely experience.   (PS all images link to their source).

[caption id="attachment_1745" align="aligncenter" width="202" caption="I honestly thought this Jenny Yoo might be the one when I saw it! I've seen nothing like it before or after.  But it might have been too simple for me. "]I honestly thought this might be the one when I saw it!  I've seen nothing like it before or after.  [/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1742" align="aligncenter" width="202" caption="This Junko Yoshioka was so utterly glam. On me, it looked like I was peeing fabric (sorry! true!), but it's sure cute on the model!"]I adored this Priscilla dress, but it didn't look quite right on me... Oh well!

 Classic Priscilla of Boston.  However, short me + extreme mermaid skirt = sad.

This Junko Yoshioka was so utterly glam.  On me, not so much, but still.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1740" align="aligncenter" width="202" caption="This Amsale dress is so Jackie-O, I just loved it!  But I was nervous that the assymetry was too trendy."]This Amsale dress is so Jackie-O, I just love it![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1739" align="aligncenter" width="202" caption="Amsale had so many simple, elegant dresses, and I loved the brooch detailing on this dress!  But I found even more brooch goodness in the dress I ultimately chose."]Amsale has some great, simple elegance happening on their runways![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1737" align="aligncenter" width="195" caption="Classic Monique Lhuillier- romance, whimsy, just lovely. I could have had fun with that sash too!  But this dress has been done so many times, and I wanted something different."]Classic Monique Lhuillier- romance, whimsy, just lovely.  I could have had fun with that sash too![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1734" align="aligncenter" width="202" caption="Rivini art deco magic- but just a little predictable for me?"]Rivini art deco magic- but just a little predictable for me?[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1735" align="aligncenter" width="202" caption="But just stop and appreciate the pleating and detail in the train.  And that back.  Swoon!"]But just LOOK at the train.  Swoon![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1733" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="I fell in love with Rivini because they do some seriously gorgeous trains.  This dress could have been the one too!"]Rivini does some seriously gorgeous trains.  Just LOOK at those covered buttons![/caption]




Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Edited Holiday pic

Wow, time really does fly!  I can't believe it is Christmas- our first Christmas together!  This is our first official family Christmas card, made using an engagement photo taken by the lovely Jessica Morrisy, which was then designed into this amazing card by Erin of Lucky Me!  (And PS, sorry to all involved for the necessary but unattractive redaction!)  J. and I are lucky indeed.  To have found each other, to have such an abundance of good in our lives, and to have so many wonderful people to celebrate it all with. 

I wish you the best of the season and all the joy that goes with it!  Merry Christmas! See you again Monday!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Planning Timeline Template

wedding cartoonOne thing I hear from vendors and fellow wedding enthusiasts, again and again, is that I'm an organized bride.  I suppose its true, I do tend to get a bit neurotic with my lists and spreadsheets.  I'm a lawyer, so staying organized is part of what helps me do my job- it has always come easy for me.  Given that we planned our wedding with an eight-month timeline, and most people I know usually have 18 months to two years, I feel extra good about how J. and I planned it all.  And one of the best tools I had in the process was my timeline.

I absolutely abhorred the timelines I found on various wedding websites, like the Knot (sorry Knot, I love you for other things!)  They have good tools, especially if you don't want to make your own lists.  But frankly, using their timeline made me feel insecure about our wedding.  Sometimes those websites suggest that you do certain things on a different schedule than might be appropriate for you.  And of course, they always suggest things like "have an engagement party" or "start getting your facials 6 months out," neither of which applied to us.  Why should I feel guilty or embarrassed if I decide not to start my facials, um, ever?  Or if I choose my bridesmaids dresses before the date they claim I should?  Nope, that wasn't going to work for me.

So I found a perfect compromise.  I looked at the tasks from various sites and used those lists to make my own timeline.  I even organized my tasks by month.  This helped me stay focused, and avoid feeling overwhelmed, because I knew everything would get done at the right time.  It looked like a lot at first, but once I sorted tasks by month, I felt much better.  I allowed the timeline to be dynamic, so it could evolve with the planning.  And it always made me feel extra-good when I finished a task early!

Because this timeline has served me so well and been shared already with friend-brides, I thought I would post it here for all to use.  Feel free to take what you want and leave what you don't- after all, you should be able to do that for any element of your wedding!  Oh, and, I saved this as a google document so that I could access it from anywhere--I recommend that too.

My Wedding Planning Timeline

By April 30

- Select a venue and date

- Have engagement photos scheduled

- Determine who is in the bridal party

- Finalize budget

By May 30

- Book photographer

- Book band

- Book church

- Hire a day-of coordinator if necessary

- Get our families to give us guest lists

- Register

- Book hotel blocks, suites for getting ready, and room for wedding night

- Choose bridesmaids dresses

- Get save the dates made

- Finalize website

By June 30

- Book florist

- Send save the dates

- Select and order invitations, make inserts with directions and hotel info

- White dress must be ordered at this point

- Determine dress accessories

- Meet with florist again for mock ups

- Book hair trial and day-of

- Order flower girl dress

- Confirm who in bridal party wants their hair done

By July 30

- Select groom's, groomsmen's, and ring bearer's attire

- Find rehearsal dinner venue

- Order and assemble favors

By August 30

- Dance lesson with Dad

- Purchase dress undergarments

- Plan honeymoon basics

- Make aisle runner

- Make signage for card holder

- Prep invitations

- Book school bus

By September 30

- Determine cake

- Choose wedding rings

- First dress fitting

- Complete prep of invitations and have one weighed for postage

- Box up items for church and reception, with photos and descriptions for set-up of relevant items

- Call bridesmaids store and see if can get dresses early

By October 30

- Bachelorette and Bachelor party and showersEdit Post ‹ The One! — WordPress

- Thank you cards for same

- Hair and makeup trial

- Assemble water bottles for OOT bags

- Give bridesmaids their dresses; ask them to keep extra fabric from alterations

- Mail invitations the week of 10/10

- Confirm B. made ring bearer pillow

- Pick up wedding rings

- Design RD invitations

- Early October, submit NYT announcement

- Order NYC visitors guides

- Make base for cake topper and buy 8 yards of ribbon for cake

- Confirm menu

- Order photo for guest book and purchase mat and frame from Michael's

- Create "must play" and "do not play" lists for band (due October 17)

- Confirm songs for dances

By November 30

- Remind men to order tuxedos

- Arrange for snacks for bridal party in suites the day of the wedding

- Buy halloween candy on sale for OOT bags, and put into cello bags

- Make RD invites

- Make framed instructions for guest book and wish book

- Make escort cards and menus for RD

- Choose and ask readers to read

- Buy elderflower soda for toasts

- Finalize "day of the wedding timelines" for bridal party

- Print the menus

- Table numbers

- OOT welcome letters for bags, with crossword puzzles, need printed and assembled

- Unity candle

- Confirm ceremony music

- Assemble favors and box for reception

- Send main vendors all the key information

- Make sure bout's are ready to go

- Wedding license

- Finalize invites for breakfast, for OOT bags

- Programs (must clear with church in advance) need to be printed and assembled

Early December

- Confirm number of rooms booked at hotels, for OOT bags

- Take rings for sizing/inscription

- Put together OOT bags and welcome letters, and box up for Hilton

- Assemble bridal party gifts

- RSVP should be in, so we should determine seating chart

Week of wedding

- Make escort cards with Mom

- Confirm cake topper is packed

- OOT bags need to be delivered to hotels

- Send bridal party schedule and logistics

- J. should get his pre-wedding haircut and manicure; I'm getting mani/pedi

- We need to hit the bank for a bunch of $50's and $20's for tips, and organize for day-of-coordinator

- John needs to pick up his tux (and others'); Sarah pick up dress

- Check weather and buy umbrellas if necessary

- Drop off ribbon at bakery

- Drop materials at florist

- Bring reception items to reception location (table numbers, candles, menus, escort cards, favors, cake topper, guest book stuff, decorations, signs, toasting flutes, cake cutter, bathroom baskets, etc)

- Set aside programs for church, aisle runner, reserved seating signs, and unity candle


image source

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our Winter Wonderland Wedding: Getting Ready Pro Pics

sj-3501I'm still sifting through all the amazing candid shots taken by family and friends so I can give my loyal and wonderful readers real recaps, but until then, get thee to Jessica Morrisy's blog and check out the getting ready highlights!  Our photographer rocks my world, and this is why.  Why are you still reading this?  Go!

(image by Jessica Morrisy)

A Mad Men Breakfast (Without Booze & Cigs)

We're baaaaack!  Oh.  Mah.  Lord!  So much to share!  But while I gather photos and process all the good stuff that happened, I'm going to start by recapping some of the other wedding details I couldn't  blog about in advance or didn't have time to blog about yet!  So today, I'll kick things off with the breakfast invitation we ended up using.  As you probably already noticed, I'm a huge fan of Vista Print, mostly because their prices are so ridiculously good, and so I turned there first when trying to design an invitation.  I looked at the actual cards and invitations, but because they were a hair pricier than I preferred, I decided to try to think outside the box.  I looked at menus and postcards, but ultimately found rack cards which are supposed to be for advertising, but had a great verticle shape that could easily be turned into an invitation!

So next, I began thinking about how to design the actual invite.  I originally had considered victorian postcards, but then I had an "ah-ha" moment.  I love the show Mad Men.  Everyone else I know does too.  So why not try to go with a vintage breakfast advertisement-theme?  So I ran some google searches and found this

[caption id="attachment_1685" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Circa 1954, from A&P"]Circa 1954, from A&PP[/caption]

Hello Perfection!  Others I liked included this (Sanka ad), this (sheets ad) and this (mildy disturbing and yet somehow hilarious Chase and Sandborn ad):

[caption id="attachment_1686" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Sanka, circa 1960"]Sanka, circa 1960[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1687" align="aligncenter" width="231" caption="Pacific Sheets, from the same era"]Pacific Sheets, from the same era[/caption]


Well, it WAS the age of repression, I think?
Well, it WAS the age of repression, I think?
Ultimately, however, the first ad won out, so I did a little photoshopping and viola!  Our breakfast invite was born!

[caption id="attachment_1689" align="aligncenter" width="138" caption="Thank you Photoshop and Vista Print!"]Thank you Photoshop and Vista Print![/caption]

 Would you incorporate Mad Men inspiration into your wedding?

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm a Mrs! And I'm Not Home!

 Well, I'm not around today because J. and I headed upstate to an a-MAZ-ing lodge at Crystal Springs resort.  Just for one night, a sort of mini-moon, but you can rest assured it's gorgeous and cozy.  J. took me there for Valentine's day last year, and it was so wonderful we decided to go back for one night!   We reserved a one-bedroom suite there with a huge TV for movie watching, and both indoor and outdoor (on the balcony!) fireplaces.   We also have fancy dinner reservations, and a couple's massage booked.  Which is why I'm not sticking around to tell you about it.  

Peace out!  :)

[caption id="attachment_1669" align="aligncenter" width="273" caption="the lodge lobby"]the lodge lobby[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1670" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="the relaxation room at Reflections Spa, fancy pants"]the relaxation room at Reflections Spa- yep, it really is that nice[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1671" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Restaurant Latour"]Restaurant Latour[/caption]

(images link to their source)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Here We Go!

[caption id="attachment_1587" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="December 19, 2009"]December 19, 2009[/caption]

Well, this is it.  My last post as an unmarried woman.  I am rarely a woman of few words, but today words just don't do justice, so rather than make a feeble attempt I'm just going to bask in the glow of all the goodness.  And on that note, I will leave you with a portion of one of my favorite poems (which just so happens to be in our program too!)  J., I can't wait to see you at the end of that aisle...



here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
ee cummings

image by Jessica Morrisy

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rehearsal Day!

sarahandjohnWell friends, this is it!  The second-biggest big day, Rehearsal Day!  At 6pm tonight, we're going to practice for our ceremony, and then its off to The Cornerstone for our big rehearsal dinner with all 22 members of the bridal party, and their significant others.  And, of course, our parents will be there (sibs are actually all in the bridal party, so they're coming too).  We are so fortunate and so thankful to have so many of those who are near and dear to us, to celebrate with.  I know its going to be an incredible day.

And so off I go! 

Love me and the world is mine.  ~David Reed

image by Jessica Morrisy

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Soundtrack For Getting Ready

pink_ipod_nano_valentines_2008This may sound cheesy to some people, but hey, I love cheese.  Which is why I decided that as part of my wedding day preparations, I should put together an itunes mix of music that makes me feel really good.  Something to listen to while eating breakfast, driving to the hair salon, or waiting during photos.  I admit, these songs are basically all pop with pop-country mixed in.  Music snobs will think I am oh-so-lame.  But its my special f'ing day so I don't care what they say!

Here's the songs most likely to appear on my list (click the link to hear the song):

(1) That's Where It Is (Carrie Underwood)

Makes me feel warm and fuzzy, kind of like J.

(2) My Life Would Suck Without You (Kelly Clarkson)

Well, it would.  Matronly attire at the VMA's aside, Kelly Clarkson is definitely my favorite american idol. 

(3) One Step at a Time (Jordin Sparks)

Lil' sis B. says this song is for 10 year olds.  And me.  :)

(4) Forever (Chris Brown)

All I can think about is that wedding party who danced to this coming down the aisle.   And it makes me smile just thinking of it!

(5) Party in the USA (Miley Cyrus)

I'm embarrassed that I love this song so much I made it my cell phone ringer.  But it's true!

(6) You Belong With Me (Taylor Swift)

If you don't love Taylor Swift, you probably also don't love America.  Or apple pie.

(7) When Love Takes Over (David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland)

The most talented of Destiny's Children has it going on in this song.  LOVE her.


What do you think- got any other good suggestions for me?

 image source

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thanks Mr. Postman!

Last Friday I came home to the most wonderful surprise in my mail.  A package from my bridesmaid S.'s mother, who made our wedding boutonnieres.  I had initially considered making these myself after seeing so many great non-floral bout's on etsy, but when S. suggested her mother might be able to help out I jumped at the chance.  S's mother did the floral elements for S.'s sister's wedding, and they had been gorgeous, so I knew she'd do a much better job than I ever could.  And she really did deliver!

Just look at these delicate fabric roses which she handmade- and the amazing lace "leaves," not to mention the extra touch of bling.  I am in love!  And who knows if the groomsmen will actually keep these as a keepsake but it sure is nice to know it's an option.  J. and I will, of course, be keeping his.  This is just so personal and special, I am so excited about how they came out!!

[caption id="attachment_1772" align="aligncenter" width="223" caption="oooooh"]oooooh[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1773" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="ahhhhhh"]ahhhhhh[/caption]

Thanks S.'s mom!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pre-Wedding Bliss!

main_imageToday my mom is coming in for the big day!  Purportedly, the plan has been that she will help me with all the last minute details.   And I absolutely know she will.  But frankly, I'm a neurotic, obsessed organizational freak very good planner, and most of the "to do" list is already done.  So mostly I'm going to ask my mom to do things like make me breakfast.  And today we're going to do something New York does quite well- we're hitting the spa!

Now anyone who knows me at all knows full well that my favorite spa is Bliss.  Their marketing is adorable, but that isn't why I love them.  Nope, I heart their treatments- my favorites being the 75 minute "blissage" and the triple oxygen facial.  They have an amazing Bliss buffet in the relaxation room where you can eat cheese and brownie bites, and drink tea or cucumber water.  And the ladies who work there are magical.  They might actually be otherworldly, they are that good. 

As soon as la mama gets in, we're going to grab a bite to eat and then hit Bliss early so we can change and relax.  Mom is getting the "scrub n' color" (read: best faux self tanning treatment ever because they use a formula that won't look orange, and because they paint it on), and I'm getting a massage.  Whee!

image source: Bliss

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm so excited!

so_excitedAnd I just can't hide it! 

My last day of work is going too slowly, and I'm too excited to be very productive.   So instead of trying very hard, I'm just going to enjoy the feeling.   And then go tanning.  And blog about it.

Mmmmkay bye!


image source

Seating Logistics- Who Knew?

248590_1246551585960_500_280One of the very last things I'm doing for the wedding is making escort cards.  The reason I've waited for this: I wanted to wait until the last possible minute so that any late changes in our guest list would be included in our work.

Of course, all of the materials for the escort cards have been long ready.  I have had a general plan for tables for months.  But deciding who will sit at each table has been harder than I expected!  After all, where guests sit (and who with) often dictates how much fun they will have.  And as host and hostess, J. and I certainly want to encourage conversation, mingling, and also comfort for our guests!

So here's my anecdotal list of things I thought about when determining a seating plan; I will have to let you know how it works out!

- Spouses always sit together, but I often sat their kids separately (we have some teens attending) if I thought different groupings of people made sense.

- I tried very had to put even numbers at tables (under the theory that conversations happen in pairs) but if it didn't work out, this was one criterion I sometimes ignored.

- As the child of divorced parents, I had each parent host their own table.  Knowing they are comfortable will make me a more comfortable bride!

- Attendants were split up.  We're not doing a head table, and there are so many different worlds where my friends come from, so I sat them according to where I thought they would have fun and not necessarily together.

- I tried to make sure singles were never sat in a way that might make them feel uncomfortable.  This means no "singles table" and it also meant I did not sit singles with people who would be so "in your face" couple-ish that it would get old for the single person.

- I tried to be sure that everyone knew at least one other person at their table.  In a few instances where the guest will know nobody else at the wedding, my fallback was to seat them with gregarious, fun people who would be inclusive (I hope!)

- I also tried to distribute the really good conversationalists throughout the room.  In fact, I specifically identified my "social chameleon" friends before I even started.  I sat those folks last, since I had the most options for them.

- After doing my best, there were certain instances where I couldn't follow all my rules, and it wasn't quite perfect.  But it seemed I had done things in the best way... so I decided to cut myself some slack and move on.  All you can do is your best, right??

Do you have any good tips for seating wedding guests?

image source

Friday, December 11, 2009

Getting My Ladies Photo-Ready!

With ten bridesmaids, one of the things I've been thinking about is how they might look best in photos.  I've asked them to all choose different dresses from a list of eight potentials in the same fabrics and colors.  So they'll all look a bit different.  Plus, they've each been asked to do their hair however they like, get whatever shoes they like, wear whatever jewelery they like.  I actually want them to look different.  They're all gorgeous ladies with unique styles, so shoehorning them into matchy-matchy madness was absolutely not acceptable to me.  Can you imagine: ten ladies looking like green, wind-up toy soldiers?  Notsomuch.

I'm hoping that by giving them the space to find their own looks, the end result will be cohesive but interesting- and more importantly, will yield me a happy group of ten ladies (woe to the bride with ten unhappy peers on her hands)!  I'm thinking we should do some group photos a la Annie Liebowitz in Vanity Fair?  I LOVE those fashion spreads, where everyone is fascinating and lovely in their own right, and the group as a whole is also incredibly striking.  Knowing my ladies, we'll be less serious and more silly, but that actually sounds good to me too!

[caption id="attachment_1638" align="aligncenter" width="418" caption="click for image source"]click for image source[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1639" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="click for image source"]click for image source[/caption]

Are you loving the Annie Liebowitz as much as I am?  And PS, special props to Ruffled Blog for bringing this idea to my attention!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Warehouse in Our Guestroom

Dear Guest Room,

Thank you for putting up with the nonsense of the past 9 months.  You've been such a trooper. You used to be so lovely- so thoughtfully eclectic, an homage to my love of antiques and J's love of his man space.  And yet, we've used and abused you.  You've had to sit for countless hours while I made my craft messes on your bed.  You've suffered through hours of phone calls and conversations that could have been had elsewhere.   Instead of guests, you have housed towers of boxes, boxes, and more boxes.  You've had to look at bags of delicious candy and not been able to eat any.  You've had to look at wedding gifts that could have been put away, but hadn't yet been addressed.  That must have been annoying for you.  I'm sorry.

But this weekend, guestroom, I promise things will change.  We'll take all those boxes somewhere else, and when we get back from the wedding, we really will put all those presents away.  Guest Room, I swear, you will once again be a Guest Room!  I know that typical abusive relationships usually involve a fair amount of flowers and apologies, but I am different than those brides, I swear!  I will restore you to your formal glory, and then hopefully, I will sell you to a high paying buyer!



[caption id="attachment_1634" align="aligncenter" width="185" caption="Oh Guest Room..."]Oh Guest Room...[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1635" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="... you are the best room a girl could have!"]... you are the best room a girl could have![/caption]

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


murielToday I had my last dress fitting.  And it went well!  But in order to fully share the experience, I must first channel my favorite wedding film of all time, Muriel's Wedding.  This movie's soundtrack is all Abba, and so I suggest you listen to this music as you read...

Ok.  So.  In the movie, Muriel is kind of a nerd, like me, and she has these "friends" who are significantly cooler than her but not very nice.  Kind of like these Spice Girls I went to high school with- you know the type.  And one of these friends gets married and is a super brat about it.  So at the brat's wedding, said brat finds out her new husband has been cheating on her with another brat bridesmaid.  And so she starts crying hysterically and screams in her Aussie accent, But I'm a BRIDE!  I'm suppposed to be EUPHOOOORIC!

Best.  Movie.  Line.  Ever.  So you know that as soon as I got engaged I started saying it all the time!  But the odd thing is, even though I was only kidding most of the time, there were a few moments where I really thought I was supposed to feel euphoric, such as when I found "the dress."

I did not have that moment for a long time.  I love my dress but when I found it I didn't faint or cry or have anything other than a genuine feeling that I liked it.  Which at the time, I was ok with.  I know lots of people who have told me they too did not get that feeling- because let's face it- its just an article of clothing.  It's not going to change my life.

But over time, it started to worry me.  What if I wasn't getting that "feeling" because chose the wrong dress?  Or, more importantly, what if I was displacing anxiety I have about something else on this dress issue?  What if I was ignoring something really important?  That nagging feeling eventually turned into full-court pressure, and later panic.  And I had a full on meltdown after my last fitting.  I may or may not have called my friend C. and cried that I was going to look mediocre on my wedding day.  I may or may not have been told by my mom that I was being completely irrational.  It may or may not have been because I had kind of stopped eating, and when I am very hungry I am super emotional. 

So after my little panic attack, I decided to slow the heck down and be nicer to myself.  I decided it was time to stop pressuring myself and start eating a little more.  A glass of wine here and there, some tanning bed time, and a little less time in the office.   And not only have I not gained any weight, I actually feel 1000% better.  And I'm again refocused on what is most important- not the dress, the dress is just a symbol (thanks for that reminder, mom!)- on the fact that I'm getting married and it is awesome!

And guess what else.  When I went to my fitting today, I had my MOMENT!  I totally felt that feeling you're supposed to feel.  Like it all is coming together and it is all exactly right.  AND I LOVE MY DRESS!!  I guess sometimes you have to let go and stop trying so hard to find a moment, so that the moment can find you!!

image source

Something Old: My Hair Flower

When my mother was married, she wore a very cute halo-styled hairpiece made from a lovely ivory silk tafetta.  It didn't quite work with my dress, but the color and fabric were spot on, and so I literally jumped for joy when she said I could take some flowers off of it to wear in my hair on my wedding day.  The perfect "something old"!

So here's what I started with...

[caption id="attachment_1631" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="My momma's hair piece."]My momma's hair piece.[/caption]

I decided that two hair flowers would be just right.  They were, fortunately, hot glued on and so they were easy to remove (and after, will be easy to put back).  At my hair trial, my stylist suggested I put them on a comb, so I did exactly that.  I had to cut some of the fabric from the back of each flower to take out some of the "poufiness" so that they would lay flatter against my head, and then I took ivory ribbon and sewed it to the bottom of the flowers to hide the raw fabric edges.  Then I stitched them onto a clear comb (purchased in a package of 12 at the craft store for $1.99).  The end result will be absolutely perfect with my veil and dress.  And in less than two weeks, I'll get to wear it!

[caption id="attachment_1630" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="My "something old"!"]My "something old"![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1628" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Detail of the sewing on the comb."]Detail of the sewing on the comb.[/caption]

Thanks Mom!