Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bouquet Toss?

I like the bouquet toss, truthfully, I do. But I know a lot of people don't. And we won't have that many single ladies at our wedding. So I think I'll poll them closer to the time and see if they want me to do it.
But remember the Friends episode where Monica contemplates marrying Pete and Rachel suggests the theme of the wedding is "Look How Much Money we Have?" And then suggests how much fun it would be to catch the money bouquet?

I can't decide whether throwing a bouquet that looks like this would be somehow insulting, or more fun than a traditional bouquet toss.
Another idea is to create a bouquet made of candy. Which sounds delicious and less insulting. But might break and make a mess.
Thoughts? Are you tossing?

Friday, October 30, 2009

More name issues

I have a friend who once said that there was no way in hell he would marry a woman who wouldn't take his last name. He was actually ready to break up with any woman who wanted to keep her own name.
Another friend, when I was talking about keeping my last name, said, about his fiance, "don't get me wrong, I love her, but if she doesn't take my name, the wedding is off." Later, he mentioned that she was getting resistant to the idea closer to the wedding day, but he still wanted and expected her to take his name.
I don't understand this. I can't help feeling like it's ultimately some kind of power game about whether the guy can "win", and conversely, if he loses, is he less of a man? I get the wanting to be a family thing. I get the wanting your kids to have your last name thing. But if it's that important to have a common name, he can change his. It has been my experience that most men don't consider this. I know a few couples who have taken each others last names as second middle names. I have a cousin who created a new last name with his wife. I have still yet to meet a couple in which the man has changed his name, or hyphenated, to his wife's.
I asked my dad once, a long time ago, why he didn't change his last name. He said that he was fine with my mother not changing hers, but he wanted to keep his for the same reasons she wanted to keep hers (mostly identity and professionalism.) I thought that this was valid.
I know that name changing is a personal choice, and I know it can be a hot-button issue between a lot of couples. For me, not changing my name is non-negotiable. I can't imagine what kind of impasse we would be if Mark was one of those guys who required me to change my name. (Don't say that if a guy loves you enough, he'll understand, because I've definitely read enough forums where this issue denegrates into a screaming match every time to feel that there are men out there for whom this issue is a dealbreaker.)
I feel bad, and a little sexist, and I know I can't really understand how they feel, but I can't help judging my guy friends who simply expect, as a matter of course, their fiance's to take their names. Mostly, I think it's rude, and I think that telling your fiance that you would leave her for not taking your name, even in jest, is a bit of a sneaky and underhanded power play, because some women do have second thoughts about changing their names, and it's just mean if they have the "I'll leave you if you don't" hanging over them. Name changing is a big deal to a lot of people, and to even more people, it is a massive undertaking.
A friend of mine said that his advice to any guy who expects his fiance to change her name is that the guy goes to the MVA with her. Because otherwise, you have no appreciation for what she is going through, and it becomes very imbalanced and extremely burdensome on her. I thought that, at the very least, this was a fair compromise.
Am I harshing unfairly on my male friends and colleagues? Have you seen this too, and does it also make your feminist bone twitch in a funny way? Do men feel like letting their spouse keep their name is in some way emasculating?

Charity Friday: Heifer International

Last week, a catalog for Heifer International came in the mail. I paged through it and realized they are about a lot more than just cows. You can give goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, or chicks! You can give honeybees or llamas, water buffaloes, and trees. I wrote about a couple awhile ago that put goats on their Alternative Gift Registry, which is cool - but Heifer International actually lets you register with them!
I will admit though, this paragraph made me feel a little guilty:
The big difference with a Heifer Gift Registry is that instead of choosing a new microwave or fancy dishes, you help select gifts that will help families around the world become self-reliant and be able to provide for themselves, their families and their community.
I think there are ways to encourage people to register for charitable gifts without implying that they are selfish...but maybe I'm just being overly sensitive because I generally feel guilty for wanting to register for nice things. Nevertheless, this is a great way to help families in the developing world, and a nice way to allow people to give something definitive as a wedding gift - somehow it's more than "just" a donation. It's also a gift that keeps on giving, since the animals reproduce and are given to other members of the community.

Have you thought about doing a charity registry of any kind?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Poll

So we are in the process of redesigning the blog slightly, and we thought with the redesign, we would ask what kind of content you would like to see more or less of here on the blog. So click over and vote!

If there is anything you would like to see more of that isn't in the poll, please comment and let us know what you'd like to see. You can also say what you would like to see less of, but there is no need to be mean about it. (i.e. "I'd like to see less of your obnoxious man-hating, baby-killing, anti-family feminist ranting." is just mean.)

Lessons from a Hyphenate

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a bar prep rep and he asked me if I was married and I said, "engaged - getting married next year." He looked at me, confused. "How do you already have two last names?" I explained, as usual, that my last names are my parent's last names.
Recently, I feel as if I have been doing a lot more explaining. I have also been doing a lot more spelling and more repeating of my last name. I testified in front of the city council on Tuesday and when I got up there and said my name, the chair of the committee said "wait, WHAT?" It was a little embarassing. And while often I cut the confusion by just using one name, when I'm dealing with anything legal or official, I use both.
At my cousin's fiance's shower a little while ago, we got into a long chat about hyphenated last names, with those of us who already have a hyphenated last name firmly on one side. (The "don't do it" side.) Another cousin, who has two last names, but no hyphen, doesn't have the same problems that we hyphenates do. My sister and I were griping about the fact that some computer systems still don't accept hyphens, and that when you fly, if your credit card doesn't match the name the computer has in the system, you can't check in at a kiosk. (I actually don't have this problem as much because my credit cards only have my first and middle initials and then my full last name, with no hyphen.)
A few days later, I placed an online order - and the field for name refused to accept my hyphen for my shipping address. I grumbled, deleted the hyphen, and placed my order - yeah, it's no big deal - but it gets annoying the 200th time you have to do it. Spelling both names for people and not knowing what name you are filed under? It's complicated. When I talk to people who are choosing to hyphenate, I look at them with amazement. And, not gonna lie, I feel sorry for them. They may be lucky - and they may go through life without complications, or feeling thrilled when they spell out their new hyphenated last name. But I would hate to realize how much of a hassle it is after going through all the trouble to change it. I think there are some things you should know before you hyphenate, and I think you should hear them from somebody who has had a hyphenated last name for more than 20 years, not somebody who is still giddy with the newness of his or her hyphenated last name (no offense intended, these things just build over time). I don't expect anyone to take this particularly seriously, but I can assure you that it is easy to blow off the PITA that is the hyphenated last name until you have one. Hyphenating really is the right choice for some people, but for a lot of people, they don't realize what they're getting into.

So should you hyphenate? Take this test!
1.) How many letters in your new last name? If it's two short last names (3-5 letters each). Go for it - your name will probably always fit on a form. Bonus points if your first name is super short.
2.) Are your names are easy to pronounce or super common? Go for it. It will still be a pain to explain the hypen, but you won't have to spell your name.
3.) Max of two syllables each? Go for it!
4.) Think twice if either name is more than 2 syllables, or more than 6 letters long. It can still work. But proceed with caution to Step 5.
5.) Say your new hyphenated last name. Then spell it. Then spell it again. If you have anybody in your life who is hard of hearing, spell your new hyphenated last name to them, and repeat every letter that they ask you to repeat. Have them write it down, to make sure they are hearing you, and then see what letters are a problem. For me, it's "d" and "b" which sound similar, and "f" which a lot of people confuse with "s". Also, "n" sounds like "m" apparently.
6.) Learn (or make up) phonetic alphabet signs for all of the letters of your new last name. Focus especially on those letters you identified in (5). Say the whole name, with those words, several times. "S as in sailor; M as in Mike, U as in Ursula, R as in Rose, F as in Frank, F as in Frank - hyphen - D as in David, A as in Apple, V as in Victor, I as in India, D as in David, S as in Sailor, O as in Octopus, N as in November.". You will probably find yourself only needing to use the phonetic alphabet for those letters you identified in exercise (5). But it's handy to have them all at your fingertips, for Step 7.
7.) Call a friend on a bad phone connection while you are riding your local public transit. Say your new last name and listen to them repeat it back to you. Then spell it for them. Loudly. Twice. Don't go too fast, or she's gonna ask you to slow down. See how many dirty looks you get from the folks around you. Gauge how uncomfortable you feel.
8.) This brings us to our final question - are you annoyed yet? Are you exhausted from the sheer act of spelling your last name? Or does the romanticism of sharing your spouse's last name win out over the annoyance? If you are annoyed, figure something else out, as a hyphenated last name is not for you. If you are not annoyed, congratulations! Welcome to the world of extremely complicated last names!

A few final tips:
1) Never ever ever have an email address with your full hyphenated last name. My school's policy is to assign every student's email as firstname.lastname@school.edu. This is fine for my friend Anna.Smith. It is not fine for me. My email address is 23 letters long. It is insane. I don't use it. Go with first name and last initials, or first initial/name and one last name, if you can.
2) If your credit card company will let you, get a card with a single first initial and middle initial and no hyphen. It will help eliminate the problems at airports and with shipping and billing when you place online orders.
3) Be prepared to solve other people's problems. Instead of telling the people at the MVA that it's not your problem that they can't fit your name, suggest to them that they use your middle initial instead of your full middle name. (It may seem commonsense, but trust me, it is not.) If someplace can't find you in their system, suggest that they check under your second last name, without waiting for them to realize it. If you are making a reservation for a restaurant, or an appointment for a haircut or something else that doesn't require your full name, use only one last name.
4.) Don't get hysterical. If you are reading this and thinking "yeah, I'll hyphenate but I'll mostly just use my new last name", be aware that the choice of which last name you go by will often not be up to you. A professor I worked for simply started to refer to me as Ellie Momslast, dropping Dadslast entirely, without asking. I could have thrown a fit, but it would have made me look uptight and like I enjoyed inconveniencing people. It simply wasn't worth the fight. It is okay to correct somebody - if you are planning to use one name professionally and one socially, it is okay to tell a boss that "Professionally I go by Cheryl Smurf". But it may not hold. I asked a few professors first year to only use one last name, and they all still used both. Some people will ask you what you want to be called. Some people will not. Some people will insist on calling you by your entire last name, but they will be somewhat resentful about it. I got introduced at a function, by a professor, as "Ellie GodherlastnameissoricidulousIdon'tknowit." Um. Embarassing. I could pick a fight. But you have to have a sense of humor about it, because it's your name, and if you don't, you'll burn out and find yourself resenting your spouse. Which brings me to my last point.
5.) Don't resent your spouse. I could resent my parents for my last name, but I don't. I understand why they did this, and I understand it was the best choice for them. You may find yourself getting resentful later in life after the millionth time you have to spell your last name for somebody. You may find that you have to check in at the airport kiosk and your spouse skips right through. You may find that you resent him/her because they are not going through what you are going through. But the end of the day, you made this choice. (Unless they are pressuring you to hyphenate. In which case, I say, fair's fair and you both have to do it.)

Did you decide whether a hyphen was for you? What are you doing otherwise?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Frivolous Thing You Need To Own

I could write about a lot of the frivolous things you should, or could, buy for your wedding. Or for your kitchen. (Vidalia chop wizard. It's awesome.) But this is one of those things that only sounds frivolous.
Our engagement party in early October brought to us a number of people who seemed hell-bent on ignoring the "your presence but no presents" line on the invite. Sunday morning, having very little better to do since everything we'd had to get done had gotten done over 3 insanely busy days, I sat down and wrote all of our thank-you notes. It totally sucked.
Then I went to address them and I wanted it to look nice. I figured "why not?" and pulled out my narrow-nibbed calligraphy pen. I couldn't get it to work. Next to it, in my pen box (yes, I have a pen box. you're totally jealous, aren't you?) was an old fountain pen from high school. I love fountain pens, and I stopped using them in high school because I broke two of my favorites carrying them to class, and then I stopped handwriting at home. I put fresh ink in it and began writing addresses.
Suddenly, writing out those addresses wasn't such a chore. It stopped feeling like work and started feeling like...art.
We found a few additional gifts when we unpacked the remaining boxes that had come home with us, and I immediately, happily, wrote notes for those with my pen. Then I wrote out our return addresses on 15 envelopes. Just to play with my pen. (Which I have had for about 10 years now, but haven't used in at least 5.)
So I present to you the next frivolous thing you need to own: the fountain pen. Mine is a schoolchild's fountain pen from Germany, where people still use fountain pens, but you can get some of their higher end pens online. I did find this website in my travels, which promises inexpensive fountain pens and free shipping if you spend over $15. You could get one for you and your SO so you can have fun writing thank-you notes together. (Also because you shouldn't share fountain pens - the inkflow adjusts to your writing style.)
Have you found any other tips to make writing thank-you notes more painless?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Are you Veiling?

Since I'm a short haired bride, I've decided to wear a veil. Okay, that's not true. Because I'm a short haired bride, I feel like my head needs a little fanciness. And it just so happens that I look fierce in a veil.
I tried on a veil last Thursday at the Betsy Robinson event. Then I tried on a few more. (My bridesmaids were lost on their way to the shop and the veils were near the free cake.) Then I found "the One". It was the perfect length - slightly longer than fingertip, and it had beading on the edge (which was unfinished). It was a very low-volume veil, which is perfect because I don't have a lot of hair that the veil has to go over at the top.
Did I mention it was a mere $250? Only twice my shoe budget, plus my entire accessories budget.
So the next day, I finally got on the whole making-my-veil thing, or at least the beginning. (I foresee it being a long process, and even if it's not, there's no harm in getting a jump on things.) It took me a surprisingly long time to figure out what "veil combs" are called (wire hair combs) so I could buy the simple wire ones that don't have rhinestones (all I could find on ebay.) I ordered two 2-inch and two 3-inch combs, so I could experiment with making a veil and a fantastic hair comb as well. I ordered them from Veillubridal.com, and I ordered them on Friday. They arrived yesterday. I love prompt customer service. They also had very reasonable prices and extremely reasonable shipping. Those of you who do not look ridiculous in birdcage veils will be happy to know they also sell birdcage netting, which can be hard to find in regular fabric shops.
Once I figure out the volume and length that I want my veil to be, my plan is to decide how to decorate it. I really liked the sparkley beading on the edging, but I've heard that gluing things on sometimes shows up poorly in photography. Does anyone have any experience with this?
Are you wearing a veil? Did you also fall in love with one that was insanely expensive?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Short Hair Trial!

So on Thursday I went to this event. I tried on an amazing wedding dress, even though I have one, and I will now forget about it because it costs more than our photography budget. They also had other vendors there - and they were all super nice, but two were particularly fantastic.
The first was Elegant Hair by Giselle. I was waiting for my bridesmaids to show up, and so I was chatting with the hair and makeup people and I was originally afraid to strike up a conversation because I knew they would be out of my budget. But then I just sucked it up and said, "I'm not growing my hair out. What can I do with it?" The woman, who I assumed was Giselle, was super nice and supportive. Her website has a whole section of short hair dos. This is my favorite.
I don't have a "before" picture because I brushed my hair this morning while it was wet and went to school. I looked like crap. Giselle sat me down in her chair, grabbed a comb and started playing with my hair. This is what she did in about ten minutes, with no hairspray or product or electronics:
(I've been up since 5am. I look pretty good, considering.)
This was three hours before, because I couldn't take a picture until I got home. She suggested hot rollering generally for more volume, and we talked about curling the back or pinning it back more. I love what she did with the sides - she just twisted and pinned and it looked super cute. She even let me try on shiny hair combs with it (and then I went and played with veils). She also let me just walk out with my hair all done up like this and I felt really pretty all night. That, my friends, is talent. I'm not sure if I can make room in the budget for her, and I'm not sure that I don't want to use my regular stylist, but I love that she helped me feel like I can look totally great with my hair the length it is, and I loved that she was totally supportive of me not growing out my hair.
(Side View)
The makeup person was from Studio-Make-Up and she let me try airbrush makeup. It was amazing light and fast and didn't feel caked on at all. She also put on some luminzer and other stuff, and a little bit of blush. It was pretty cool. I'm not sure I would have given airbrushing a chance, but I appreciated being able to try it for free. It's stayed on pretty well and looked pretty natural. I checked their rates later and they were actually much lower than I was expecting, although I'm not sold on needing to pay somebody to do my makeup.
All in all, the event was totally worth it for this and delicious butternut squash quiche that they served. It was a lot less high pressure than a bridal showcase - and I highly recommend an event like this to anyone who is trying to find a hair stylist or makeup person (they actually had two of each there). Don't be afraid to talk to people just because your budget is small - often they will still offer you advice. And if you're looking for a great hair stylist or makeup artist, check these guys out!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In the Print

Petite Chablis mentioned recently that she wishes more people did printed bridesmaids dresses. Usually I would say as long as the print wasn't too bright and there weren't that many bridesmaids, it looks totally great. But I would have told you that a flashy, bright print would be too much. Then I saw this on Once Wed:
First of all, those dresses are fantastic. Secondly, its a big, bold, bright print, on a lotta girls. And it looks great. Lesson learned.

Friday, October 23, 2009

We women do nutty things for beauty.

Nothing strikes me as more ridiculous is wedding planning than women growing their hair out, complaining about it, then getting it done all fancy for their weddings, then chopping it off. But I also don't generally understand how anyone can stand to have long hair. Do you actually enjoy showering, blow-drying, straightening, and producting your hair? I was sitting in class the other day and a girl who is getting married the same day we are was complaining about how long her hair is and how it's driving her crazy and she can't cut it until the wedding. Being miserable and hating your hair for an entire year? My friends, that is not living.

I'm coming up on my one-year-shortaversary (or as Vidal Sassoon would say, my liberation) and I am going back to the chin length bob - mostly because I've had the same haircut for a year and I got bored. Oh right, and short hair is expensive. What's interesting is that the #1 comment I have gotten about my short hair over the last year is "I don't normally like short hair on girls but it looks really good on you." I think it's because I wore my hair pulled back 90% of the time before, and so it actually looks more feminine now that it is short and not scraped back into a tight ponytail. A lot of these same people though, have an expectation that I will grow my hair out for the wedding. The pressure can get pretty intense, not to mention the peer pressure of all my friends who are growing their hair out.

The thing is though, I've been through this rigamarole before. I have bobbed and regrown my hair at least five times in the last ten years, mostly because I would start to feel like I should have long hair. I tried to grow my hair out for my sister's wedding, and the hairstylist was only able to pull it back into an incredibly pathetic ponytail/curly mess. I hate how it looks in most of the pictures (not that it matters, because it's not my wedding and my sister looks gorgeous). I would have been much happier if I had just sat down in her chair and said "screw it, give me a chin length bob with bangs." So when I cut my hair the last time, I decided that I wasn't going back below shoulder length ever again. For me, it simply isn't worth it. Even for great wedding pictures (and why would I want pictures that don't look like me?)

It would be nice to have those gorgeous long flowing curls that some girls have. It would be nice to have a fantastic updo like I had when I went to prom. But all the other days in between - all the work of long hair. All the expectations about how it should look. Not being able to get out of the shower and brush it and let it air dry and look okay. It clogging the shower drain. So not worth it. I'm not a long hair person, when it really comes down to it. If the wedding is truly about us being who we are, at the end of the day, I am a girl with short hair and Mark is a guy that loves me for it.

Charity Idea: House of Ruth Maryland

Since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, in addition to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought I would mention House of Ruth of Maryland. I used to intern here, and it is a great organization. This charity idea follows the same vein as Bethesda House - a great way to clear out your apartment of items that you plan to register for. Sometimes they cannot accept used items, but it is possible that women moving out of the shelter might be interested in having those items so they can start a new life, so give them a call and ask.
This is also a really great place to take those gifts that are duplicates or are something you already own, so you don't really want them, but you really don't want to just give something brand new away to Goodwill and the person didn't give you a gift receipt. (If it's a close friend, don't donate their gift. If they are like me, they will nose around and ask if you found their gift useful. But usually your close friends won't get you something you already have or can't return.)
Go here to check out their current in-kind donations wish list - common items include twin bedsheets, bath towels and washcloths, plastic storage containers, bed pillows, household items such as plates, glassware, flatware, pots & pans, and toasters, and paper plates, etc. (maybe that you bought for a welcome picnic or day-after brunch and didn't use). Additionally, left over shower favors or prizes like lotions and toiletries, or those extra makeup products or brushes that you bought for your hair and makeup trials could all find a good home here.
If you are interested in giving a financial contribution, donate here. You could then include the usual donations cards at people places explaining where their donation went. It would also be a great thing to donate to in lieu of bridal shower favors. Shower favors are a little useless anyway, and as a frequent shower guest, I think I would appreciate it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

If you've got it, flaunt it.

Alright, there is nothing I don't love about this picture. Firstly, I'm in love with the dress. I love the material, and I want to own it as my heat-wave wedding dress backup and possibly for a rehearsal dinner. (Although maybe with a sweetheart neckline.)
Secondly, she's totally pulling off an adorable short haircut. And finally, Natalie is rocking the injury. Which I am familiar with, especially lately.
I mentioned yesterday that I broke my finger recently. Mark and I play on a dodgeball team, and I played all last year without injury, which is odd, since I am pretty accident prone (which is why my main sport, hockey, involves a lot of padding). In our first game, I got hit by a ball and my right pinkie was broken. It's been almost 4 weeks, and after the initial swelling and pain has gone away, I haven't noticed much improvement. Typing is manageable but typo-laden, handwriting is nearly impossible, and dodgeball and a number of other sports are out of the question. I even had to drop out of my triathlon. :(
I have a couple black-tie or business events coming up, and I got a little worried because nothing goes with splint. However, after seeing this, I feel like I can totally rock it as long as I own it. (Seriously, people, I must have that dress! Any help finding anything remotely similar would be greatly appreciated.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

free wedding event!

Is anyone else going to the Betsy Robinson's event tomorrow? I'm going with my bridesmaids to check out some of the Watters line (I love Watters dresses.)
Robinson's is where my sister got her dress and also where I first went to do dress recon. The salespeople are really good about letting you go through all their dresses, and they organize them by price. They have a wide selection, don't limit how many you can try on, let you prance around the entire shop in their dresses, and they don't tell people to quit playing with their veils.
Most of their gowns are at a slightly higher price point than a place like the Columbia Bridal Boutique (which also I highly recommend to anybody, esp. somebody who is looking for David's Bridal prices but...how to say this diplomatically...would also like a gown that isn't scratchy and synthetic, and sales people that are attentive and polite. They also have a nice selection of plus-sized dresses. Oh, and they let you take pictures.)
Anyway, if you're going, let me know, maybe I'll see you there!

Please Recycle

I love having wedding buddies. They are such a great resource when I need some inspiration, and it's really nice to be able to share ideas I can't use with other people who are more suited to them or have greater need. (For example, it is unlikely to be 90 on our wedding day, but a friend is getting married in June so I get to share inspiration for welcome drinks and program fans with her.)
And sometimes, you just steal stuff. Yes, I am an idea-poacher. My cousins sent out their invitations and on the back was a handstamped "please recycle". I loved it. Mostly because the stamp alone gives me permission to recycle the invite when I'm done with it. But also because it would remind other guests that might just throw it away to recycle it. I've decided that I need a "please recycle" stamp in my life, generally, for the back of cards and the backs of our invites and probably, lets get real here, for my clerkship applications. (I kid. Ish.)
So this stamp, from Etsy Seller Blossom Stamps would be perfect:
My only issue with it is that it is a little big. She does do custom stamps though, so I might request something that is smaller.
Do you steal ideas? And should I feel guilty about poaching this one?

DIY STDs: Supplies

I had the idea for our Save the Dates months ago. (BTW, Funky Beehive just closed and I'm so sad!) Mark and I talked about doing postcards, magnets, etc., but we were both stuck on the coasters. It was just so us. Which is funny and ironic, because I'd never even owned coasters until I got to college, and it took 2 years of training by roommate and bridesmaid S. to get me to the point where I ask "do you have a coaster?" when I'm at somebody's house. Since Mark collects beer mats, and we own at least 4 full sets of coasters in addition to the beer mats, coasters were suitable.
They are also recyclable. Please, somebody, tell me how to recycle one of the 5 save-the-date magnets on my fridge. They are the soft magnetic material, so they don't hold anything up, and 4 of these weddings have passed. Yet I'm keeping them because I don't think they can be recycled. I didn't go on a quest for recycled chipboard coasters, because well, it didn't occur to me. It was just one of those things where I plugged away finding the supplies and then ordered them and then thought, "hey, I wonder if these are made with recycled paper" pretty far in retrospect. But, since they are paper, my hope is that our guests will recycle them or continue to use them after the wedding. The backs are blank so they can even flip them over and put their own design on them if they really want.

So once we decided to go ahead with the coasters, we had to order supplies. The most important issue? What order to order in. Because we were ordering everything online, I didn't want to order a bunch of stamps and then find out that we had gotten stamps that were the wrong size and the ink was the wrong color, etc. and that nothing would fit on our coasters.

We decided the best place to start was our custom stamp. I designed our stamp in Inkscape using fonts from DaFont.com (Allura Script and Organic Elements) and put the image out on Etsy Alchemy. I went to the gym, and by the time I came home, we had gotten at least 3-4 bids on our request. I picked the cheapest one that had good equipment (laser engraving) and positive reviews, and accepted the bid from MidTownTees. Cindy was great to work with and sent our stamp out right away - we got it about a week later. The cost was $12 plus about $3 in shipping, so $15. Totally worth it:
Once we got the stamp, we trekked up to my sister's house (a whole 9 blocks) to check out her Stampin' Up catalog. (The quality of Stampin' Up stamps is much better than most stamps I've bought at craft stores.) We realized the first two sets we were thinking about were not the right size to go with our custom stamp, so we finally found this one. The best part? Since it had two large background stamps, we could send out our sets of coasters as a pair with different backgrounds. I was really hoping if we had to order a big expensive set, it would at least be a useful greeting set or a thank-you set that we can use a lot. It's a sympathy card set, which I certainly hope I don't have to use a lot, but I suspect will end up coming in handy. We ordered through a friend of a friend who is a demonstrator, so the set was about $26 plus shipping (but since I was ordering other items anyway, I've decided to not count the shipping.)

I ordered the coasters off of EBay after a quick check at the guest list told us how many sets we would need. We bought 2 sets of 85 for $11.50. We got combined shipping, so the total for shipping was about $6.50, bringing the total up to about $18. They were pretty nice coasters for 14 cents apiece.
Then there was a problem. We knew we wanted to use dye ink because it dries super-fast. We were not going to emboss 150 coasters. Just not gonna happen. But most dye inks are waterbased, meaning if condensation leaked onto the coaster (the thing coasters are meant to protect your table from), the ink would run and it wouldn't be pretty. Stampin up inks were waterbased, so we started looking for others. I found the perfect shade of green for the tree from Memories, and found a navy from StazOn, but there was nothing for the second background. I bought a purple but it was too dark. We finally found that the right ink was Distress ink - it was the perfect lightness. (We also decided to use the flower stamp twice, instead of just once in the background, because of the design.)
If you are doing coasters of your own, I highly recommend combining the Distress Ink and the StazOn. (Don't be fooled by the packaging on the Distress Ink - it's just a regular inkpad which come in faded-looking colors, perfect for backgrounds. Ideally we would have used distress ink for both coasters, but we were done spending money at this time.) I used 50% or 40% off coupons at Michaels for the ink and we would up spending about $16 on 4 different ink pads (we only used 3.)
We also needed to put the STDs together in a way. I broke my finger three weeks ago (more on that later) and so tying bows was absolutely out of the question, and there was no way we could get them tight enough to actually hold these together anyway. I thought about a bellyband, but it would have covered our names. So finally I remembered that during a scrapbooking phase, I had bought some vellum, which I trimmed and fastened with glue dots. And voila:
The total adds up to about $75 (not counting the vellum or glue dots, since I already owned them). Yes, our Save The Dates would have been massively cheaper if we had just done an email save-the-date. But we wanted to do more than an email, and we decided it was worth the money to do something we really wanted to do, and not just what other people were doing.

This is a perfect example of how DIY can be cheaper, not cheap. Most coasters I found online were either not what we wanted, or were like, $1 or more apiece, and I really wanted to send two. (Mark was only really okay with sending two once we came up with two different designs. Before that he didn't see the point.) We also have been able to re-purpose some of the stamps already.
I love this tree. Expect to see it a lot. I'm thinking programs, menus...what else can I (er. we) use it for?
What DIY projects have you done? Was the supposedly simple task of gathering the supplies as complicated for you as it was for us?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

DIT STDs: Construction

We made (most of) our STDs the week before our engagement party so we could distribute them at our party and avoid paying a ton of postage. Here's how they turned out:

Ellie will be putting up a post about the supplies and how we got them; here I'm going to write about the actual creation, since I wound up doing most of it.

Since I tend to be a little nuts about things matching sometimes, I wanted to create a setup that would let us make all the coasters identical (to a reasonable degree of tolerance). In the manufacturing world, you use something called a jig to do this, so that's what I built.

Jig: n. 1. A tool for holding parts of an assembly during the manufacturing process. 2. Any device so arranged that it will expedite a hand or a machine operation.

Combining these two definitions, we're holding parts of an assembly in order to expedite the manufacturing operation. The basic approach is to hold the coasters in a known position, and then line the stamp up at the correct position to get a consistent product. First I laid down flat pieces of wood (made of paint stirrers, free from your local hardware store - they're just the right height to stand over the coasters) in an L to position the coasters and glued them in place.


The stamping blocks I made out of some taller wood, making sure I cut the pieces wide enough that they could overlap the coasters if needed. I positioned them tentatively and held them in place, stamped a coaster, and adjusted the position of the blocks until the stamp was properly aligned; then I marked the position with a pencil, dabbed a thin layer of wood glue on the blocks, and put them back in place and allowed the glue to set.

I made two jigs. The first was used for the pink flower stamps, which we stamped twice 180deg from one another. The second was used to stamp the letters over the top after the background was dry. We hadn't stuck the green tree stamp to its handle yet, so we were able to adjust the positioning of the stamp on the handle in order to use the lettering jig for the tree as well.

With the jigs made, production was easy. Slide a coaster in, ink up the stamp, hold the coaster against the lower blocks, align the stamp with the upper blocks, and press. For the flowers, rotate the coaster and repeat this step before proceeding.

Once all the coasters have background, repeat the process for the letters. 50 coasters in 30 minutes (plus another 50 for the jig-making). This wasn't our full complement of STDs - just enough to supply everybody at the party - but we made a significant dent, and sometime in the next two months we'll take 15 mins or so to knock out the rest. It was nice to get into a DIY project that wasn't stressful and which turned out so well!

P.S. an extra advantage of the jig is that if you do a poor job of inking the stamp, you can re-ink and match the alignment somewhat easily. Not that I made any errors where that was necessary...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Love.

I think I'm a little in love with this wedding, the wedding in general and the flowers in particular.
I see calla lillies, hypericum berries, hydrangea, dhalias, orchids? and what are those purple swirly things? Plus, I love that the whole thing seems to be wrapped in some kind of rope/twine. That is just fantastic. It's like, the perfect late September/early October bouquet!
Could I try to make something this complicated? And are orchids local to Maryland at all? (Sidenote: just checked Blooms by the Box and holy crap, orchids are expensive. Backing away from the orchids...)

Burrr!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's been cold this last week! Unfortunately, Maryland weather generally is just...unpredictable. It could be up to 90 or down to 30 (those are the records, but it hit 40 degrees last week!) If we're facing a cold snap like this in a year, I'm not sure what to do - sure, we can rent heaters for the tent and dance a lot to warm up. But what about when we're all shivering in the woods during the ceremony? Our guests can snuggle up in some wraps (and we'll certainly encourage them to dress warmly, if necessary), and Mark gets to wear a coat, but me? Eeek!
So I've started thinking about this. What can I get that won't ruin my look to deal with unpredictable weather?
First of all, my toes are always cold. Also white boots would totally be reusable if I was cooler and could pull them off with jeans and a cute ski parka. (I can't. So I'm pretty sure I'll be incorporating them into a Halloween costume.)
Or maybe the classic Ugg Boot. Although Mark hates uggs. And I'd never wear these again. And they're twice the price of the Tims. (Oh, and as somebody points out, I would be that girl who wore uggs to her wedding.) And then of course there is my need for a nice bolero. This one is totally adorable, and comes in sizes! Disadvantage: Short sleeves. But, I'm totally capable of making my own longer sleeved version if I want.
Or if it's gonna be really cold, I might get this one, at least for the reception. I might get it anyway, now, since it's only $24 and pretty cute. I know I'll totally warm up during the reception what will all the boogying, but I don't want to speed through the ceremony and only be able to think about being cold! We have been talking about a 4:30 wedding, but now I'm contemplating 3:30 because it might be warmer! (Mark, being the guy who's ALWAYS warm enough, does not get to have a say here.)
If it's hot out, I'll throw on a short dress for the reception and wear some sandals. Fortunately, with Zappos overnight shipping, I could get me some boots right away the week before the ceremony after looking at the weather forecast. Or, I could order them now, never wear them, store them for a year, and keep the receipt thanks to Zappos free 365-day returns.
Do you have a contingency plan for extreme highs and lows?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I thought buying handmade was good?

I was reading the Stinkerpants Designs blog this morning and she had a fascinating post that she wrote awhile ago about Etsy. I then read this article about the myth of the Etsy businessswoman. (Note: the same fantasy can be said to be had by the many many homemakers who write blogs and generate small revenue off of them.)

When law school gets really hard, I fantasize about chucking it all and becoming an artist (completely ignoring the fact that I am bad. at. art.), and as somebody who likes handmade products and supporting small businesses, I think this whole discussion is really interesting.
And then there is this paragraph, which made me feel a little guilty:
"Have you heard of Etsy’s custom section, Alchemy? Basically, a customer can name a price for a custom-created item, or ask sellers to give a price at which they’re willing to create the item. Usually, people are requesting something like a custom necklace for $10. A custom necklace for ten dollars. And you know what? They’re getting their custom necklaces made for $10. This is not cool, people."

For our Save-the-Dates, we needed a stamp. I was dissatisfied with all of the internet design companies and I wanted to work with somebody that I could well, work with. Somebody that would notice any typos that I made. Somebody I could talk to directly. And preferably, somebody who was not employing children in an unsafe factory. I was unsure enough about the custom-stamp making process that we thought Etsy was the way to go - and I didn't like any of the custom stamp-makers I found when I did a broad search. So I drafted up an Alchemy request and posted it, with the design, saying we were looking for somebody to make us a stamp. I put in that we would pay up to $20, which was the going rate for a custom stamp of the right dimensions at most companies. I got bids for $18, $20, and $12.

We went with the $12 bidder. We had already made the design (although the artist did re-create the design for us) and although it did occur to me that the bid was low, I checked out the seller's shop and realized that their main business wasn't rubber stamps - they responded to other custom alchemy requests like mine, but were actually a t-shirt business. Additionally, the price she was charging wasn't lower than the going rate on the internet, and we weren't paying for something unique and handcrafted - it was a stamp that she made on a laser engraving machine - but thinking about it now, it probably took at least an hour to communicate with me about the stamp and then to put it together. Am I really comfortable with the fact that, factoring in labor, not only did somebody barely make a profit off of us, we let her underbid the other Alchemy bidders like that? Sure, maybe stamps aren't her gig - they're just something she does on the side to make a little extra cash - but they are somebody else's gig, and she is undercutting them and making it harder for that person to make a living. And lets be real - its not easy for people to make a living as craftspeople anyway. But lets be really real here - most crafters have day jobs or somebody that pays the bills. So why are we responsible for making sure they make a living wage? And if you want to make a living off of your art, aren't you responsible for selling your products in a way that makes you the most money, which may mean discontinuing an etsy shop?

I'm not really sure what the answer is here. But I probably will continue to shop on Etsy, albeit with an eye towards paying a fair price for goods instead of searching for the cheapest deal or asking for too little when I post an alchemy request.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Charity Friday: Accessories with Heart

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Etsy seller The Piper & The Pea is donating 50% of the proceeds of several beautiful pairs of earrings to organizations that help rural women suffering from DV. These are communities in which resources are especially scarce, and as a DV advocate, the situations they are in are particularly problematic and pose unique challenges.
I think that these earrings would be beautiful wedding day jewelry or great bridesmaids gifts, or fun to wear generally.
Anyone know of any other places that are donating a percentage of their profits to help women (and men) who are victims of domestic violence? Please share in the comments!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Make your own bouquet.


There are a lot of tutorials out there on how to make your own bouquet. This is not one of them. And I did not read any of them before I attempted this little experiment. I didn't buy the proper supplies from my local craft store. I did not use floral shears, floral tape, or floral wires. I did not use ribbon. If I had, this project might have been a little easier. I was fairly confident that I could make my own bouquet, and I wasn't trying to make a full on draft-bouquet, just making sure that I could find flowers I liked during this time of year at the farmers market and grocery store. I picked up some celosia (brain flowers) at the farmers market over the weekend; and tonight I picked up some hypercurium berries; and some generic white flowers. The white flowers and hypericum berries aren't local, and I'm not sure if they can be locally grown/sourced. I love the hypericum berries and how they look against the fuzzy cranberry celosia. I think the white flowers are too puffy and wide - I think I'd like to swap them out for smaller, colorful flowers. Perhaps orange mini-gerbera daisies or mums or roses. I could also swap out the brain flowers for dark red carnations if I can't find the brain flowers.

It took awhile to get the flowers to look like I wanted them to. Once I did, I frantically wrapped them with a rubberband and then some cloth and ribbon so they would stay like I wanted. I'm sure this is something that would be easier with tape, but I don't intend to store floral tape for a year.
One thing I'm fairly sure of is that I might want to order the flowers, at least for my bouquet, so that if I can't find the right color at the grocery store or wherever, I won't freak out and cry in the floral aisle. I could probably order them from Costco. I kinda dig these green spider mums. I might also talk to some of the local florists to source local flowers for bouquets.
Or I could delegate this project to my FMIL who is really good at gardening and flowers and colors and stuff and just trust her to pick something pretty. That might be a little too open ended. Another option is to buy one of those nice looking pre-arranged bouquets they had at the grocery store and wrap it in ribbon - at least I know those will look good together.
Also it helps that I've now concluded that a bouquet is a throughly useless thing to have and therefore don't really care about having one. (So why bother trying? Um. Good question. I feel like I have to?)
What do you think? Are you making your own bouquet?

Engagement Shoots: Why you should do one.

I talked before about why to do an e-shoot, and also why I was on the fence about it.
Now that we have our pictures back, I'm really really glad we did it. Why?
I don't photograph well.
I look really awkward in a lot of our pictures. And it turns out...my neck is really weird! In any My neck is kinda scrawny and the veins look funny when it turns. It also makes me strain my smile and my eyes tend to wander. Mark looks great here. I find my facial expression totally creepy.
So now I know, that for wedding pictures, no turned neck pictures. No stretched neck pictures. No forced smile pictures. And I'm going to practice learning to smile with my eyes.
I also carry myself uncomfortably. In this picture, I feel like I'm just dead weight:
It's more visible when you see the full res. picture - and it's too bad, because it's a great shot except for the fact that I look like I've fainted away in Mark's arms.
I also need to relax more when the camera is on us, and figure out where the best place to look is, and how to look at that place. Do you think there is some kind of crash course or do I just need to start watching ANTM?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

SomeEcards launches an invite site!

If you spend as much time on www.someecards.com as I do, you are gonna be as psyched as I am about this!
If you're gonna send online invites to your wedding, you might as well be completely irreverent about it.
If you're inviting people to a bachelor party but you want to make it clear there will be no strippers and nothing else gross, this one will set your guys up for disappointment so they won't be bummed at the party!
Maybe I'll use this bad boy for a law school graduation party. And if they do eventually add capabilities to let you turn any e-card on the site into an invite, this one is going out to my friends from law school for a night of post-bar celebration.
I hope they add bridal shower invites soon. Maybe something like "I'd like to extend to you the honor of coming to my bridal shower and wrapping a complete stranger in toilet paper while my grandmother makes awkward sex jokes about my wedding night." Any other ideas?

A few favorites

Mark and I each sorted through our engagement pictures and picked our favorite shots (taken by Janice Genger of Gengersnaps!).
This is his:
(Note the shoes. This was hour 3 in the park and I'm still smiling. I think I'm wearing tevas to the wedding.)
This is mine:
He picked his because it was just us, being ourselves and having fun. I picked mine because it's just too cool. This one was my runner up, because it's just us, being ourselves and having fun:
It was pretty hard to pick favorites though - Janice did a really great job catching us in the moment, goofing off:
(Mark, bragging that his horse went higher than mine.)
And I can't complain about the posed shots either!
More to come!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ooooh.

BM L. and I went shopping on Sunday morning at the farmer's market. I was hoping to find some nice local in-season flowers.
I was really disappointed. There was a lousy selection and not a lot of variety or great colors. We did find some neat flowers that I'll be attempting to self-bouquet and posting about later. I've also been totally intimidated by the idea of boutonnières (can't even spell it) and thinking that making them is totally terrifying and we'll just have to suck it up and pay for them or skip them altogether.
Then this morning, I saw this.
It's rosemary, sage, lavender, thyme, and oregano (I think.) These are all things we saw at the farmer's market on Sunday! They look super easy (bunch and tie. done. pretty much what you do when you shove spices in a turkey.) Plus, I can shove the leftovers in a turkey and it will be delicious. Also, the tutorial uses blueberries but we could fall them up (and tie them into our colors...) with some cranberries instead. I like that they are manly, simple, and not-prom-ish.

I'm not sure if they "go" with the crazy flowers I bought yesterday, but they would "go" with simple carnation bouquets (cheap and last forever. We could make the bouquets a week in advance!)
(Okay, so this is carnations, iris and statis. We would probably go with some more "fall" ish colors, like dark burgundy, or go really wedding-y with white carnations and then some lavender.)
What are you doing for flowers or bouts? Are you, like me, a little intimidated by the idea of DIY boutonnières? And would a carnations, rosemary, cranberries, and lavender bouquet be weird, or just weird enough to be totally awesome?

In memoriam

I was pretty sad to see last week that Modern Bride is going to be closed down. Of all the bridal magazines I've picked up, it is the least terrible, has the most content (versus ads), and often runs fairly interesting articles. Plus, we found our venue as I leafed through the back of a bridal magazine, so I'm not anti-bridal magazine. (I am anti-buying-them-at-the-newsstand.*)
In memoriam of Modern Bride's sad and untimely demise, I will be doing a giveaway of wedding porn - a couple of pre-owned (within the last year) issues of Modern Bride, as well as a few other issues of other magazines and a copy of Eco-Chic weddings. Also the most recent edition of Brides magazine, which arrived just last Thursday (meaning it may not be on newsstands yet!)
To enter? Comment below with your name and the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen in a bridal magazine (the $2,000 dress for the bride on a budget, the $8 photo-frame favors, the bride that thought it was appropriate to treat her wedding like a costume party) OR you can comment with the coolest idea/advice/thing you've seen in a bridal magazine (idea for a mac & cheese station; advice to a bride that she should NOT encourage her bridesmaids to go to a tanning salon; feature article on brides starving themselves and why it's a bad thing.) If you've never read a bridal magazine, just hazard a guess as to what the ads::content ratio is.

*If you actually read this link, and you're wondering who Mr. M-A is, this blog was originally titled "A Mid-Atlantic Wedding" and I thought we might want to stay anonymous. Why did we change?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

National Coming Out Day

October 11th is National Coming Out Day. We here at Wedding for Two are strong supporters of equal rights for all - and we encourage you to be too! I realize that for a lot of people, gay marriage is against your religious or moral beliefs. Or you just think it's icky. And I will acknowledge that the founding fathers may have been Christian men who founded this country on Christian values. But they also owned people. So I'm not prepared to use them as any kind of marker for morality. They were pretty smart though. Unlike a lot of people who channel them, the founding fathers were willing to admit that Americans would change over time, and would want to make new laws and amend the constitution and some states would be different than other states. I know morality and social mores and sexual norms change over time, and the amazing thing about this country is that it is built on the idea that when the people are ready for a change, we can choose to change the laws.
I genuinely believe that gay marriage is here to stay. I firmly believe that we will see gay marriage legalized across the country, either state by state or as part of a national initiative. I believe we will see the end of don't-ask-don't-tell. I believe we will see gay spouses having medical decisionmaking power. I believe that people will come around on the issue of gay foster parenting and gay adoption. I believe that someday, I will be giving my gay hairstylist advice on wedding planning instead of talking to her about the importance of a cohabitation agreement. I believe that my gay colleagues will someday wear wedding bands as a symbol of their marriages, not a symbol of an institution they are denied access to. I believe that one day in the future, we will all walk to the city clerk's office to pick up our marriage license as equals. I believe this, I hope for it, and I fight for it. I fight for it by contributing money, time, and my vote to causes that support gay rights. Even if all you can give it is a little space on your blog, consider Stinkerpants badges.
If you do not believe in gay marriage, that is your business and I leave you to your beliefs, feelings and devices on the matter. But - if you do believe in gay marriage, speak up. Our voices are powerful, and if we, the community of people who are married or are going to be married, stand up and say that if marriages are based on love and not on gender, it will lend strength to all of our marriages. Consider putting a note in your program, making a donation to a gay rights organization, or mentioning your commitment to gay marriage during your ceremony.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Charity Registry: Susan G. Koman for the Cure

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so an appropriate chairity is Susan G. Koman for the Cure, a Breast Cancer charity.
There are a lot of issues that people have with Koman - one of the biggest being that the products that donate to Koman are products that some researchers say cause breast cancer. There is also their support of silicone breast implants and the fact that now, everything in stores comes in two colors - regular, and pink. I would like to support breast cancer research but I don't want to buy a pink stand mixer to do so. When you buy or register for pink products, remember to think before you pink. (For example, Cook for the Cure products? I'm pretty sure it's a scam to get your email address and other info.)
That being said, Komen is a very good organization to raise awareness, to join survivors together, to organize activists, and they are forward about the fact that only 8% of their money goes to research. They also are nicely set up to do a charity registry. There are several options for online donations. I think the best for a registry is to create your own page. This is a great option for anyone who has lost a loved one to breast cancer.
For favor donations, consider (usually free) vista print business cards (although check with your local Komen because some of them may be able to make them for you) or consider something manufactured like this. Or go the candy-in-a-cellophane-bag route. In October, M&Ms makes pink M&Ms - rebag them in cellophane, attach a piece of cardstock stapled across the top or to a twist tie when you bag it and ta-da! If you are as sick of pink as I am, and go with normal colored candy. Or you could give out pink ribbons for everybody to pin on their clothes. There's a lot of pink crap out there - go wild. (I'm sorry. I know breast cancer is a huge problem and I know survivors and people who have died from it, but I'm so sick of all the pink.)
You can also run your local Race for the Cure as your Wedding Day 5k or for a bachelorette party! (The Maryland race is next weekend in Hunt Valley.)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Poll

A number of you have commented recently about our relationship dynamic and that we plan this wedding together (or pretend to), so this week's poll is asking - who does the bulk of the planning in your relationship?
I've asked people to identify as "bride" or "groom" - and I realize these heteronormative terms may not suit everybody, but I couldn't think of a better way to "classify" people and I find the gendered nature of wedding planning to be interesting, plus I like knowing more about you, our readers. If you can think of a better way to ask, please share in the comments. If you have a funny or interesting story about the planning dynamic in your relationship, please share that as well!

Poll

The poll closed today and apparently the wedding trend that most people are over is the candy buffet! Truthfully, I'm a little sad about that! It occurred to me, though, when thinking about our poll - it begs the question - are we sick of seeing these trends at weddings we read about or are we sick of going to weddings with them? I'm a little tired of reading about candy buffets - but I have not yet been to a single wedding with a candy buffet, and I would be super excited to get to enjoy one in person! On the other hand, I actually don't like cupcakes. (What? Sacrilege! How can I not love going to the fancy kitschy cupcake place and paying $3.50 for a tiny piece of cake? Answer: I don't like icing, and cupcakes have too much. Plus, they are messy!)
Anyway, since this blog is supposed to help people, lets brainstorm ways to keep candy buffets fresh.* One variation I'm kind of in love with right now?
Popcorn! (I'm a total popcorn junkie, so I think this is like, the best idea ever.)
Another idea - if you are doing a Halloween wedding (shout out to my friend M.J.), instead of a candy buffet, have candy bowl centerpieces (or fake pumpkins filled with candy!) on every table and pass out bags at people's places so they can trick-or-treat at other tables. This encourages people to interact with each other, and means people don't have to leave the dance floor or dinner table to go get their candy, or see the candy buffet at the end of the night on their way out.
You could also try making your candy buffet geographically specific, like with Mrs. Petunia's Atlantic City candy buffet:
or you could fill your buffet with candy from your hometown/country and your partner's. (I wrote about the possibility of an English candy buffet awhile ago...and how could a candy buffet of cadbury creme eggs, aero bars, twirl bars, flake bars, Terry's orange chocolate slices, plus everything Hershey's ever seem to go out of style?) San Franciscans get Ghiradelli and Jelly Belly - some people just have all the luck.
There are two things I'm really tired of seeing on candy buffets. First of all - let go of the color scheme! I would hate to just serve blue and green candy at our wedding - I hate most "green" flavors and the only blue candy out there is blue rock candy! There was a sample candy buffet at one catering event we went to and everything was blue - so it was mostly blue licorice candy and blue fake m&ms. Don't be afraid to have non-color-coordinating candy - just put them in an appropriately colored or opaque jar if you're that worried - but I'll let you in on a secret. Candy is so delicious that nobody cares what color it is!
The second thing I'm so f***ing sick of? The phrase "love is sweet". Sure, love is sweet, but so are puppies, small children, old people, and your next door neighbor who mows your lawn. Something about the phrase just seems like overkill at a wedding. Maybe it's just me. Is it just me? What else can people write on their little candy buffet bags or candy favor bags or their cupcake tags? Besides just "thanks". Lets brainstorm here!

* If you want to do a candy buffet, or have cupcakes, or bird cake toppers that is totally your business and if you like it, your guests will probably like it too, and who cares what anybody else thinks?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What Colors?

If you've decided that your wedding is not a prom, and it is not a teenage girl's bedroom, and it is not a custom Timbuktu Messenger and you do not want to pick 2-4 "colors", this is what you send people who tell you "but you have to have colors!" No, you don't. Also, I normally hate chair sashes - but these look awesome!

Dresses

I think the most common dress-buying advice people receive is "don't buy a dress too early". The second most common is "don't buy a dress that is too small for you."

I did both, and so far, I'm okay with it. I'm okay with it for a lot of reasons.
1.) I can easily alter the dress to put a corset back in, which I wanted anyway, so the fact that it's an inch too small for me is a non-issue.
2.) I still like my dress. I opened up the canvas bag I'm keeping it in at my parents house to check what the measurements are (aka had I lost enough weight over the summer to fit into it yet? answer: no) and I sighed with delight. It's just so pretty!
3.) I could be spending my weekends frequenting the bridal salons, attending RoTB sales, and going to the BABC events. Instead, I spend my weekends running, cooking, biking, watching TV, and doing my homework.
4.) I don't have to strip down in front of a pushy saleslady who tells me that I have to find the one ever again.
5.) I know what my dress budget is, because I already spent the money. I'm not trying to shave numbers off the dress budget, saying "oh, I'll only spend $200 instead of $1000." I'm not struggling because I fell in love with a dress that is $3000 when my budget is only $1000.
6.) It's done. It's just done. I don't have to scour magazines and websites to find the perfect dress, locate a salon that carries that line, go there, try it on, be disappointed by either the fit or the price, and I don't have to make a big decision over how much to spend.

I find it comforting to know that I could do these things, if I really decide I don't like my dress. (Or I let my secret and irrational fear that pick-up skirts are out of style rule my life.) I can spend six hours at a bridal salon trying on fluffy white cupcake dresses. I can spend hours paging through bridal magazines searching for "the one". I can even spend a lot of time perusing used wedding dress websites. But I don't have to. It is very, very freeing to know you already have your dress - and you bought it because you liked it; not because you ran out of time or because your mother loved it, or because the saleslady talked you into it. It's also very freeing to not worry about still finding a dress, and I think if I had tried my dress on at Filene's and not bought it, I would probably be sad I let it slip through my fingers. And I would be ridiculously sick of looking at pictures of dresses by now.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why I think I'm gonna need a DOC.

It's midterm season here in law school. Everyone, and everything is nuts. So...light posting this week - but after that, expect to see engagement pictures, hear all about our engagement party, see us try to scope out seasonally appropriate flowers and check out the way our venue looks at this time of year. But right now? I've got fourth amendment problems, people!
As we come down to the wire on our e-party - which, being for 75 people, is requiring almost as much work as our wedding - I've come to the conclusion that I think I may need a DOC/WOC. I say I, and I mean it. Mark can probably handle the stress, but I can't. I don't handle stress well generally, and I can see our wedding getting very overwhelming very quickly. I don't handle questions from people when I Don't. Want. To. Talk. About. The. Wedding. which is a point I imagine I'll get to. I don't like it when people think I'm bossy, and I generally try so hard to be nice and to please everyone that I get quickly overwhelmed by everything.
The problem is, there isn't really money in our budget for a DOC, and I don't know that I'm willing to trust control to somebody who is just starting out, the way I am with a photographer or DJ or bartender or venue. With a DOC, I want somebody that knows what they are doing. That can tell our newbie DJ to cut the crap and just let people dance. I want somebody that will remind me that we should get off the dance floor and cut the cake, but also that knows we don't want to run the evening strictly by the clock.
Where we do have money to pull from is our DJ budget, because I put extra padding in there - but I'm wondering - can we get a day-of-coordinator that would also run our iPod playlist and announce the toasts and the cake cutting? Does anybody know if they exist (in the Baltimore area), or are they imaginary, like unicorns and low-cost florists?

Monday, October 5, 2009

I did something naughty...

When I got home today, I was super excited to find an envelope with our e-pics in it on a CD. It melted away all my stress and discontent (midterms, parking ticket...and it's only Monday.)
I was in fact, so super excited, that I ripped open the envelope, turned on my computer, and hungrily looked at all of the pictures, giggling uncontrollably. They came out great! We look like us! We're having fun. It's fantastic.
Then I heard the key turn in the lock downstairs. And I realized something:

This is the kind of thing you are supposed to wait for your fiance to do!

Mark came into the office and I gave him my best "guilty & sorry face". I'm a terrible liar, so I couldn't pretend I hadn't looked at the pictures yet. I told him what happened and apologized and hoped I looked as ashamed as I felt. Mark looked dissapointed, and then he said, offended, "Am I going to be invited to your wedding?" Then I felt even worse, because he was right - for a minute there, I forgot that it is his wedding too! That he would be as excited as I was. In my excitement, I completely ignored his feelings. I felt terrible. This is the kind of thing that us feminist brides are supposed to shun! This is Bridezilla behavior! This is "the wedding is all about me!" thinking! This has it's origins in a "oh he won't care if I just take a little peek because he doesn't care about the wedding anyway" mentality.
So I'm now trying desperately to make up for it by being "good." Which means waiting for him to have some spare time to sort through the pictures and decide which ones we will show to people on the blog. Which is why you aren't going to see them yet.
Although since I'm already in trouble....
What was your unfeminist bridezilla moment in which you forgot the first two letters in "wedding" are "we"?