Saturday, February 27, 2010

Damn Paper Lanterns!

I had finally gotten the idea of paper lanterns out of my head, because of the hassle and our decision to reduce stress.  (Oh, alright. My decision. If Mark wants the damn lanterns, he can hang them.)  Then, then, I saw this. 
Our tent is a frame tent, so it wouldn't be the same effect.  So maybe I should just let it go.  Or I could buy like, 400 paper lanterns and a whole bunch of ribbon. 
So discuss: would these look better in plain white, with colored ribbons, or in colors with other colored ribbons?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Real Weddings: Chris and Shannon's vows

We've been thinking about the ceremony lately, and I've seen a few vow samples and posts, and I wanted to post my favorite vows ever.  Ever.  They are from our friends Chris and Shannon.  Chris is Mark's best man, and this wedding was a lot of fun.
This was one of the first weddings I went to as a "grownup" with an eye towards planning my own wedding.  I don't have any pictures of the ceremony itself, so I offer you this one of their first dance.  (The venue is Antrim and it's gorgeous and the risotto was amazing.)
These were their vows.  I love that they mirror each other, but are individualized, and that they were clearly written together.  Personally, I'm not wild about writing our vows separately - because why would I want to be surprised by what my husband is promising to me on our wedding day?  And why would I risk it being different from what I am promising him?  This struck me as a wonderful and different way to write your own vows, and since we're all about wonderful and different, I'll let Chris and Shannon take it away:

Shannon, we have been friends, adventurers, supporters, confidantes, dancers, chefs, Bostonians, crying shoulders, and much more.  But above all, you are my true love, and I promise to share my love and my life with you.
Shannon Lastname, I take you to be my wedded wife,
          to have and to hold from this day forward,
          for better, for worse,
          for richer, for poorer,
          in sickness and in health,
          to love and to cherish,
          so long as we both shall live.
          With my whole heart
          and with my complete devotion,
          I pledge my love to you.

Chris, we have been friends, treasure-hunters, allies, motivators, skydivers, beach-combers, risk-takers, helping hands, and much more.  But above all, you are my true love, and I promise to share my love and my life with you.
Christopher Lastname, I take you to be my wedded husband,
          to have and to hold from this day forward,
          for better, for worse,
          for richer, for poorer,
          in sickness and in health,
          to love and to cherish,
          so long as we both shall live.
          With my whole heart
          and with my complete devotion,
          I pledge my love to you.

Are you writing your own vows? If so, are you doing it together or separately?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Real Weddings: Mariko and Jeff's Invitations

Mariko, one of our early readers, contacted me last summer to let me know that she and her fiance were also getting married at Irvine!  I'm always excited to meet other brides from Irvine (by which I mean I know two and think you're both supercool) and swap ideas and ask about what hotel they are booking, where they are doing their rehearsal dinner, how they are doing their ceremony, etc.  Ever since we first talked, Mariko has been incredibly nice and extremely helpful and since they are planning for April, it's great because they're usually a few steps ahead of us and have already thought through the stuff we're worrying about.  Recently, she sent me a link to her photographer's blog (Jocelyn Mathewes of Studio Mathewes of APW fame) where Jocelyn had featured their wedding invitations. They are amazing.  What's even cooler?  Her mom, Kie, did all the paintings on their invites! For even more loving-community-weddingy-goodness, her mom's art teacher printed the invitations on her pigment ink printer, which produce better colors than an ordinary inkjet (and are quite expensive, already checked.)  But behold!:
Aren't they beautiful?  In addition to the artwork, which has that wonderful natural-illustrations quality, I love the tree stamp on the back of the envelope, it's so "come to our nature center wedding!"  I love the rounded corners (which Mariko and Jeff did themselves) and the green information card too (paper source "Moss" cardstock), next to the navy envelope (papersource in "Night")...not entirely because they're our colors too, but that has a lot to do with it.  I love that they are classy without being stuffy, and I think they do what an invitation should do* - set the tone for what I am sure will be a wonderful wedding!

*besides, of course making sure your guests show up at the right place at the right time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maryland Pride!

Mark sent me this article this morning, which alternately thrilled and horrified me.  I love the idea of our little conservative catholic state recognizing gay marriages performed in other states; but I am horrified at the idea of a referendum on the issue.  It is not up to the people of Maryland to decide what is best for other Marylanders.  The legislature generally listens to constituents, hears testimony from experts and laypeople alike, and redrafts legislation based on testimony.  On average, it takes three years to pass a bill.

Voters don't go through this process.  They don't know that studies show that children raised by gay parents are not any worse off than children raised by straight parents.  They don't know the horrifying state of Maryland estate taxes for gay couples.  They don't understand family law and gay adoption and what not being able to be married can do to a couple.  (I know these things; but I have spent 3 years in law school.)  Voters, on a whole, as we have seen, have a very hard time figuring out where their personal opinion ends and somebody else's legal rights begin. 

How do you feel about the referendum process when it comes to gay marriage?  Is it an important way to make sure we make the right decision as a state?  Or is it simply something that shouldn't be up for a vote?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Boutonniere - hard to spell, easy to pick.

So flowers has now become "my job".  Mark doesn't really care, and we don't have time to meet with an excessive number of vendors.  I'm going to be the one looking at his bout, so as long as he has one, he's not that picky about what it looks like.  I'm guessing one of the rules is "no pink" but since that's one of the rules for the wedding generally, it's fine.
The guys boutonnieres were easy to pick.  My love affair with locally grown, seasonal hypericum. Simple, manly. Cheap.  Holds up well during raucous dancing.
Mark's reaction? "Sure, but can mine be fancier?"
Me: "Of COURSE yours can be fancier!  What would you like?"
Mark: "Flowers.  See, supra, checked out."
The florist I met with yesterday suggested a gerbera daisy.  Which I said yes to at the time, and then upon second thought, have decided against.  Gerberas are great.  But...they can be a little much.  I love the look of callas and hypericum, but they can be expensive (although it would be one calla, and maybe a few more for my bouquet) and I don't think they are local.
How about some green button mums?
I also love astrolomeria, which are sadly not local, but they are cheap.  And pretty!  They also come in a burgundy.
I think probably without the big leaves, and with green berries, this would look good.  But they are native to South America and I would love to find a local alternative.  Or a fair trade wholesaler/source!
Any suggestions for local flowers that are in season in October that would go well with hypericum berries?

Because we are more than brides....

One of my absolute favorite things about this blog is getting to write again, and those of you who comment or send me emails have been so kind and so supportive, so thank you for all your encouragement.  I'm not sure that without the experience of writing this blog, I would have had the confidence to apply for a position with Ms. JD, a women lawyers and law students blog, as a "writer in residence."  In an effort to find new and different ways to write, and a wider audience, and a chance to write about more than weddings, I proposed a column on women, sports, and the law.  If you are interested, you can read the column description here, and my first column went up yesterday.  I'll be reposting the columns monthly, because some of you have expressed interest in reading them, and I also know that some of you are fellow law students/lawyers/athletes and might be interested.  If you aren't interested, go ahead and ignore and we'll be back to the regularly scheduled pretty shortly.

And for funsies, in the comments, share what you do in your non-wedding-planning time to remind yourself that you are more than a bride (or groom)!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why I'm a HUGE hypocrite.

So remember all my "I don't need a bouquet" and "I'm gonna DIY the flowers" and "I'm gonna make fabric flowers?" tripe?  Well...I'm contacting florists for rates. I'm meeting with one today. 
Long story short, during a test run, I stabbed myself with floral wire and turned to Mark and said, "I do not want to feel this way on my wedding day."

Oh, wait, you don't come to the blog for the short story.  You come here for the long story in all it's anguishy goodness.
Over the summer, we booked Irvine and cut our flower budget to $500.  I know how much flowers cost, so I knew this meant DIYing flowers.  However, I also thought about it and decided a bouquet was totally unnecessary, because I wouldn't really be holding it except in a few pictures. 
Then I started to have second thoughts about my dress.  One of my big issues with my dress is its basque waist.  I'm just not wild about it.  Then I was looking at a friend's pictures, and realized her dress had a basque waist, but in the pictures, she's holding her bouquet at waist level.  Problem. Solved.
Once I decided that my bouquet would be in photographs, I realized I didn't want it to a craft project.  Which is how my fabric flowers are coming out.  (I will finish them to use as a tosser, don't worry.)  I was also having second thoughts about the fabric flowers because I wasn't happy with the way they were coming out and they weren't really jibing with the vision that I had.
I realize they look okay, but they aren't really what I had in mind.
So then, I went to Cross Street and picked up some Asters, some roses, and some hypericum.  And a gerbera daisy.  Cuz I love gerberas.  Well, it looked terrible.  It took forever to strip all the leaves off, even with florists scissors, I couldn't get the length of the stems right, etc.
Finally I attempted to just use the asters and the hypericum, which looked pretty good, especially if I had bought two colors of asters.  But what I was realizing was that I don't really want to do the work.  Especially not on our wedding weekend, in which I would like for the priority for where we spend our time to be with our guests and not with my floral sheers.
My best attempt. Probably okay for a bridesmaids bouquet, I wanted more fullness and wished I had just bought a second thing of asters instead of roses.

Then I attempted to make a boutonniere, stabbed myself in the finger, and began to bleed.  Then I began researching florists.  I also put up an ad on Bride$hare to see if there was anybody who would like to trade days with me, and emailed a couple of friends getting married. One florist got back to me to let me know that she doesn't do Sunday weddings.  The other set up with a meeting for this afternoon. 

This, my friends, is what we in the Sane Wedding Biz call, "throwing money at the problem."  Sure, you could call it hypocrisy, but I just call it what it is.  We're all guilty of it, and this is why Mark and I left a lot of room in our budget for unexpected hiccups and give-ups and hypocrisy.  We're lucky that we are able to do this, and I don't think I would have a problem DIYing bouquets other than my decision to emphasize mine in the photographs.  I felt guilty as I paged through the weddingbee gallery, finding great DIY bouquets and thinking "why would I spend money on this when other brides make it look so cheap and easy?"  But I just have to remind myself that it is not worth it to me to stress over this. 

What problems are you throwing money at?

Friday, February 19, 2010

DIY Hair Flower Take II

So I started working with ribbon for the fabric flowers because it's already hemmed.  I also started experimenting with wired ribbon, because it's really easy to work with.  Plus the flowers have a slightly more open shape.  This morning I made a hair flower using 2 colors of wired ribbon (one 1 1/2 inch wide; one 1 inch wide) each about 6-8 inches in length. 
With the wired ribbon, just push the ribbon over the wire so you can hold on to the wire, and scrunch the ribbon down along the wire.  Then twirl together and sew on the bottom, or apply hot glue.  (I realize this tutorial is insufficient, if you need more instructions, just Google "wired ribbon roses.")
 For this part, I actually pulled the other wire out so it was a little fluffier. 

but the orange center flower still has both wires.  Then I stacked the orange flower on top of the green, hot glued it together, and attached it to a 2" hair comb.  I also glued a pearl button into the center of the flower to give it a little something extra. 
I'm pretty happy with how it came out, although I doubt I'll wear something this colorful for my wedding. 
However, it's a nice prototype and I can see doing the same thing with an ivory ribbon and maybe some champagne ribbon to form the outside. It could also be fun for bridesmaids, although I would never make our sisters wear something this craft-project-y.  (My other girls might be up for it though.)
From the front:
And yes, I did dye my hair during the giant snowstorm.  I also finally got it cut yesterday so I no longer look like a high school student with a mushroom haircut. 
How are your craft projects going?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On Weddings as a Tool for Self-Expression

I've finally figured out wedding planning's dirty little secret - that it doesn't become our lives because the day "has to be perfect". It becomes our lives because it's the easiest way to express who we are. Everything else about our lives is about work, about TV or books or whatever, about exercise, about what to eat and what to do and what is fun and what isn't fun but has to get done. We get sold on this idea that the day is "all about you" and you can use it to represent your values, your ideas, even your favorite colors. In theory, it's all fun - it's all about the fun. It's a big giant party, and even though the tasks to plan it suck sometimes, the party, the ceremony, the love, the commitment, it's all about love and it's all about fun. And it's all about you and the person you love most in the world.  

But then, once you buy into expressing yourself, the flood starts.  It comes up time and time again on the inspiration boards. "Turtles are important to Tina and Greg, both Maryland Grads, so they rode live tortises to their reception and gave a donation to Save-the-Turtles in honor of the guests." "Bethany and Bruce wanted to combine their two favorite colors - hers, purple, and his, chartreuse, and the result is spectacular."  "Mandy and Madeline wanted to showcase their talents, so Mandy handpainted each guests champagne glass and Madeline sang a soulful ballad about lesbian love in Texas."  There are just these weddings that have so much love, so much work, so much of each person poured into it, like if you don't use your wedding to express every inch of who you are, while still making it pretty, it just won't be special.  

I'm starting to crack under all of this pressure, I will admit.  The centerpieces have to be right!  They have to be the perfect expression of who we are!  The buffet must include all of our favorite foods!  I must show our guests that I'm creative and crafty and can do it all myself!  I must prove to them that I am worthy of Mark's love and that he has a reason for marrying me!  And woe is the man who gets stuck with a wife who would dare put centerpieces on the table that are too small, or not colorful enough!  

I may have had a slight breakdown in Michael's last weekend about centerpieces.  I looked at all the candles, I looked at the rocks, the moss, the fake moss, the flowers, and nothing felt RIGHT.  Nothing felt US enough.  It wasn't a total expression of our love!  

You know what is us? Not caring about centerpieces.  Most nights we sit on the couch and eat dinner and the Tivo remote is our centerpiece. Now we have a table.  Our centerpiece is our laptops that we pile in the middle of the table to get out of the way of our food.  And I suspect that this is a lot of our friends lives as well.  So why do I feel this pressing need to not only make the centerpieces, but to make them somehow reflect us?  Same with the table names.  Same with the flowers.  Same with the food. There are SO MANY choices and we might pick the WRONG ONE!!!!!  

And as much as I do believe in making the right choices, I'm going to try, very very hard, to remember: there is no wrong choice here.  The only wrong choice is any kind of plant that attracts mosquitoes.  Whatever choice we make, it doesn't matter if it doesn't express us enough.  They will be the centerpieces that are there and man, I hope our guests are occupied enough with food and dancing to care as little as I do these days.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fabric Flowers: Part II

The next kind of flowers I attempted were individual petaled flowers.  I had been loathe to try these at first, but I wasn't getting the kind of variety from just making roses that I had hoped for. I adapted a pattern from Fun to Wear Fabric Flowers for the petals, and made the center out of a button. 
I didn't take pictures as I did this one, so I made a second so I could do the tutorial. I'm not particularly happy with how the beading on the center looks, because well, it looks like a pin not even my grandmother would wear. (Also for the above one I used squares of fabric, but I found that strips of ribbon works much better.) 
Start by cutting several strips of ribbon or fabric (about 3" long by 2").  You will also need either a button or a piece of something hard to be the center of the flower.  If you want, you can use beads for embellishment.  I recommend buttons though, especially ones without holes in the center so they don't look like buttons.  You will also need a trusty hot-glue gun. 
 Then you want to fold the fabric into a triangle like this and glue the corners in place at the center of the fabric.  (So you take the upper corners to the lower center.)
 Then you will take the bottom corners and fold them back and glue them so they overlap.  Make 5-6 of these petals.  Then take your backing.
You then glue each petal to the backing. 
And there you have it.  I'm not proud of this one, because I hate the center so much, and I definitely recommend buttons for future use because they have a hole in the back to thread the flower stem through.  I have no idea how I would attach the flower to this. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow Day Bouquets: Part I

So since Baltimore was buried under 2-4 feet of snow last week, I finally got some non-school-related stuff done. Mostly, I wanted to work on fabric flower designs.  Excuse the missizedness of the pictures in this post - we've just switched to the new Blogger post tool and I'm getting the hang of it. 
I started with Fun to Wear Fabric Flowers (if you are going to attempt these, you should probably check the book out from your local library like I did.):
Which told me to do this (I am using a basic muslin here, because I bought a ton of it for cheap when I was mocking up our table centerpieces):
 (Cut a 4x45" piece of fabric, then fold as shown above. Press inward so it is 2 inches wide. Your iron is your friend.)

Then you carefully wind it around itself as shown above.  Do NOT press here, even though it will make your life easier.  Instead, pin the seams.  Then you will stitch, either by hand or by machine, down the side of the length of the fabric (and along the bottom.)
You will then gather the fabric.  If you are unfamiliar with gathering, and are using a sewing machine, you want to pull on the bottom thread - it is much easier.  Another helpful tip? Tie both threads around a pin as shown below to prevent the thread from being pulled through as you gather. 

So then I flipped it over and wound it around itself stitched it all together (by hand) and got this:

I wasn't wild about it. It looked messy with the fraying edges, and I realized that I shouldn't have pressed every flip, because it looked too...contrived. So I tried again with a piece of fabric that I hemmed the edges on, and I didn't press each time I flipped the fabric.  I actually just wound them around as I sewed at my machine, which worked for me.

(Left has the hemmed edges, right has the unhemmed.)
I was happy with how these came out, with two exceptions - the first is that the fabric is too big; the second is that it is too heavy.  These flowers are quite large - great for something you are going to wear, really annoying for something that you are trying to make an entire bouquet of.  Next snowstorm, I try this with a shorter length (maybe 4x24") and a fancier, lighter weight fabric.  

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Engagement Rings and Airport Security

How are the two connected? Apparently engagement rings that get flagged while going through security checkpoints have been known to spoil surprises, so security staff at Manchester Airport has set up a password to let them know they should take you away for a private screening.

They don't, however, give any hints as to what explanation you should give when your significant other asks why you were whispering sweet nothings in the security guard's ear right before they whisked you away......

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fall in love. Get Married. Save the World.

Yes. This is the tagline for the Mid-Atlantic Green Wedding Showcase. If we had just gotten engaged, this is the event where we would have started our planning. Since we just hit the 8-month mark; this is instead the event where we will:
  • Investigate wedding planners/coordinators and decide if we need one
  • Sample local organic beers and wines
  • Test out some eco-friendly (and sensitive skin friendly) makeup.
  • Speak with some DJs and entertainers to decide if we need one.
  • Check out organic/recycled/eco-friendly invites.
  • Look into some ethical jewelry (and if I can remember to wear my ring, I might try to talk to them about whether it's possible to make a matching band, etc.)
  • Talk to some florists
  • Maybe win some prizes?
  • Taste cake. We have a baker. I like cake.
I think that this event will be great because it will hopefully be less insane and overwhelming than bigger events. I like small showcase type events that only have a max of 2-3 vendors of each kind at the event, so you really have time to talk to people. I'm hoping that vendors will be forthcoming about rates and maybe even offer discounts, which is not uncommon.

The event is February 21st from 1-5pm at the Samuel Riggs Alumni Center on the Maryland campus. Mark and I are going, and I told him that he can drink beer in the man-cave while I try on jewelry and makeup. I was originally annoyed by the man-cave existing, but I think it might actually encourage men to come and participate more than the guy who would have just stayed home.

If you're local, will we see you there?

It's none of your d*mn business!

A little while ago, I saw some family for lunch. I hadn't seen my family over Christmas, and since my family is relatively low-key and I'm the 10th cousin to get married, I wasn't expecting a lot of wedding planning questions. Then suddenly one well-meaning member of the family after another asked questions about the wedding. When I changed the subject, it shifted to my career. Neither of these were things I really wanted any input on. Especially when the subject of officiants came up. Especially because we hadn't even talked about it. It was on the to-do list for March! When I tried to say that we were just started the hunt, the flood of religious discussion started.

It was actually more awkward to be asked about religion than pretty much anything else. We don't talk about it a lot, because I feel that it is personal. There is actually almost nothing I am more uncomfortable talking about. So being asked about it at lunch at a table full of well-meaning but varied-opinion family members was, well, disarming. The problem was also I think that some people realized it was making me uncomfortable and so they tried to change the subject and it just got even more awkward.

My uncle tried to bail me out by telling me that I didn't need religion if it made me uncomfortable - that we should just invite a judge out to perform the ceremony, like he did. And that's when I started to feel like there is no "right" answer to the ceremony question - that no matter what we decide that we want, there will always be somebody else who thinks that their way is better.

I think that the answers in the future will be one of two options - the first being, decide everything wedding related now, which isn't really an option; and the second being, lie. Simply say, like parents-to-be, "yes, we have a baby name, but we're not telling anyone until after the birth." Just say, "we have somebody in mind, but since it's our decision and it's not up for discussion, we'd rather not say who it is." Then do the same with every other decision that might illicit advice or input. "Yes, we've picked a menu but we want it to be a surprise."

How do you respond to the inquiries of the people you love dearly?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Authentic Traditions

1Ms. Awesome, who is now Miss Stripes, posted a little while ago about traditions and whether they are important, and I mentioned that one thing that has come up which is a "tradition" which we would like to do, but that isn't ours to do, is a ketubah. I wrote about this early on in the process because it has always been something that I wanted. And my sister and I had a conversation recently that went something like this:
"You know you're not Jewish, right?" - her
"I'm not planning to get a Jewish ketubah." - me
"You're making light of something that is sacred, and that's offensive." - her
"The ketubah isn't sacred. It's a social and legal contract." - me
"But it's something that Jews do. You're not a jew." - her
"65% of the American male population is circumsized. Nobody seems to find that offensive." - me

It continued to grate at me though. If my Unitarian sister, who married a Jewish guy, was offended that I wanted a ketubah, what the hell would my Orthodox cousins think!?! What would my much-more-Jewish family members think? I didn't want to offend anybody, but at the same time, having a ketubah was important to me. Having taken a Jewish history class, and studied marriage as an institution, I know more about the origins of the ketubah than most of my Jewish friends.

With every tradition related to this wedding, I like to break it down to three parts: "What are the origins?" "Why do I need it?" "Who will be upset if I don't have it?" For example, with bouquets - people used to bathe only once, maybe twice a year. Flowers covered the stench of a bride who hadn't washed herself in months. I shower daily. Therefore I do not need a bouquet. However, it will upset the moms if I don't have it. So I'm sucking it up.

With the ketubah, the origins, you can read about on Wikipedia - and while it's no longer necessary to have a document that spells out the dowery that Mark will give me if he divorces me, I do want to take that time to spell out our commitment, to have our vows written up and on our wall for the rest of our lives. I want our promises down on paper, so we are reminded of them. I want a constant reminder of what I will be giving up if I choose not to work at our marriage. The tradition of "what will I give you in our marriage" still remains, as a promise from both partners. It also will give us that moment on our wedding day, to read over the document and remind ourselves of what we are about to do. Truthfully, I think everybody needs a ketubah.

But how do I have one without offending people? The first step? Remove the hebrew and design our own art. The hebrew has no meaning for me, and we can't read it. (Neither can a lot of Jews, but that is their business.) I'm not signing a legal document in a language I can't read. Designing it on our own also makes it cheaper, so win-win. The second step? This one is harder. Stop calling it a ketubah. I've tried to come up with another term - either marriage contract, or vow art, or something. I need a word that I can say, and then say, "similar to the Jewish Ketubah, the Mvemjsnup is a marriage contract." (2 points to whoever gets that reference.) So brainstorm with me here - what can I call our non-Jewish marriage document? Are you going to have one? And if you're Jewish, am I offending you?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Late night snacks?

I saw this idea over on Ritzy Bee and I can't believe it didn't occur to me earlier! Why wouldn't I provide our bridesmaids and groomsmen with snackpacks for their rooms for after the wedding? I remember how hungry I usually am after weddings, and that goes doubly for the bridal party, who, no matter how much you SAY "we'll bring appetizers out to the pictures", it never really happens.
So why not put together lunchboxes for the bridal party rooms? And by "put together" I mean "buy", because who would help me with this? I'm not gonna make the bridesmaids pack up their own snack baskets.
Okay, mine probably won't look this classy:

But I'm thinking something along the lines of a bag or box + all leftover OOT bag goodies + candy + gourmet snacks (like bags of Pita Chips and kettle corn) + spirits of their liking (I know one groomsman likes Jamesons; I know I have two bridesmaids that love amaretto sours, etc.) It should be pretty easy to do all of that ahead of time.
It's part OOT bag, part thank you gift, and part "I hope you don't get so hungry you gnaw your own hand off before the brunch tomorrow morning".
Oh, and peppermint foot lotion for the girls....cuz nothing says "I'm sorry I made you wear uncomfortable shoes" like peppermint foot lotion.
Suggestions welcome for what tastes or feels good after a day of doing your friend's bidding!

Oh, hello, wedding burnout.

Um. So I thought about how far away the wedding is. 8 months. Thats...serious planning time. And truthfully, we have a venue, a photographer, a baker, and a dress. That's all.
What don't we have?
A florist (not that we need one, although not gonna lie, the fabric flowers aren't coming along as much as hoped).
A DJ/Band/iPod playlist setup
A caterer
A suit
A hair/makeup stylist

What's missing from this list?

According to The Knot, we should also start our registry I think we'll wait until well, May.

I could let the Knot checklist stress me out. Instead, I'm letting it make me say, "I don't want to do this anymore." I'm not stressfully thinking, "I must get this done." Instead, I'm thinking, "I don't have to do this." I don't! Enough already! Really, I'm supposed to be so stressed about hair and makeup that I should be interviewing stylists now? I simply am done making the big decisions. I don't want to interview DJs. I hate DJs. I don't want to even THINK about bands. All of these things cost so much money and we don't need any of them. Except a caterer. But I fully intend to have a decision by Friday, weather permitting.

There is also the officiant search, which, I will admit, does need to happen now. I've been trying. But church was closed on Sunday and my car was buried under two feet of snow. So that will happen when it happens, and if we have to, we can simply ordain a friend. It simply isn't worth worrying about.

I'm not sure that my approach of simply blowing off the items on the checklist and saying, "we don't need that/don't need to think about that" is a particularly healthy one, but at the same time, as long as we have food, drink, chairs, and a photographer, how badly will the rest of it ruin my life? Or even our wedding? Sure, invitations are important, but those will happen. We could stress about them, but that's not worth it. I don't even want to look at them right now, because Mark doesn't think it's worth discussing until we have to order them, and I'm fed up with planning and then running up against the brick wall of either indecision or "we don't have to make this decision yet."

As far as the things that matter to me, I'm past the inspiration stage, I want to start doing things. I want to start shopping, crafting, planning the things I want to plan. I want to go bridesmaid dress shopping with my friends and take my dress to a seamstress. I want to just order all the stuff for centerpieces, but I'm afraid I'll change my mind. Or that Mark will suddenly have an opinion (although maybe if I get him a Dodge Charger, he'll keep it to himself). So because I can't do the things I want to do, I don't want to do the things I have to do.

Fortunately though, I'm part of a team. And when one teammate can't get the puck in the net, the other teammate takes over and scores. And so it goes, and so, these things will get done. Probably not on the Knot's timeline, but I'm okay with that because other than the caterer, if we can't have the other stuff, we'll let it go.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Right Choices

A Los Angeles Love wrote last week about the joys of wedding planning and I thought I would weigh in with one of my biggest joys of wedding planning (besides getting to write again!)- the joy that comes from making the right choice.

The big things we have booked already have brought me enormous joy. True, these are only two things, but they are, arguably, the most important. They are our venue and our photographer. (But I know that we are getting close to finding a caterer, and I know that we will go with the choice that feels right for us, because we have narrowed the choices down to those that work within our budget, so it will all come down to gut feeling at this point.)

I put a lot of stock in the "right choice" because I'm a total second guesser. Pretty much any big decision I make, I will wonder forever if it was the right thing. Most of the jobs that I've taken, I've had second thoughts about. Some of the classes I've taken, I think were wrong choices for me. I also tend to over-think big decisions. I obsess over them, turning them around and around and around in my head until I simply make a decision to stop thinking about it. So the relief that I felt when we walked around Irvine and I knew was palpable. The comfort I feel when I look at other weddings with great venues from the area that I had never heard of, and I know we made the right choice for us? It makes the other things, the fact that our venue will probably put us about $3k over budget, or force deep cuts in other places, so much more bearable. It makes the conversations about how far the venue is from the city, how inconvenient it is for our guests to have to rent cars, much easier to stomach. Because as guilty as I can be made to feel, getting married in the right place meant pretty much everything to me. Everything else can be glossed over in my memory with the passage of time, but I'm fairly certain that I will always remember what it was like to walk down the aisle and to stand there, with the man I love, in front of the people I love, and I didn't want that memory to be marred by the sounds of the highway or the fact that the aisle was too narrow or the Food Lion loading dock or the knowledge that the building behind us was a slave hut or slave jail*.

And for what it's worth, several of you encouraged us to hold out, when I started wondering if there was such a thing as a "perfect" venue, and I'd like to thank you for that. And while I wish you all the joy that comes with making the right choices, I know that we will also make wrong choices and we will have regrets and they will simply be different things than these choices that we have made.

What are your big choices? Did you make them with joy or a bitter "fine, lets just make the damn decision already!"?

*We visited two different venues with these features...oh Maryland, what a proud history you have. And yes, it is our history and we shouldn't cover it up, but I didn't want to celebrate it either.

Monday, February 8, 2010

One Year Ago

This man asked me to marry him, and I said yes. He asked me on a bench on a hill in a city that we love and have made our own.
He asked me with a 3D prototype of the ring he designed for me.
Two weeks later, we sat down with our parents and we told them. Then we told everyone else. Those two weeks were the best decision that we've made in this "getting-married" process. Even though at times I thought I would burst with excitement and overflow with my desperate need to tell EVERYONE right away, it also gave us time to think about and celebrate by ourselves. We went to Chicago for Valentine's Day, and it turned into an engagement celebration trip:
(nuh uh ladies, I saw him first!)
When Mark asked, after heckling him and then finally saying yes, I asked him why he didn't wait until we were in Chicago; why he dragged me out of the house on a Sunday night when I had dinner in the oven and had just gotten back from a long afternoon of hockey and errands. His response was something that like, "well, I had the ring and I was ready and I was like 'okay! enough waiting!'" Which I've interpreted to mean "I just couldn't wait to ask you to marry me!" Which is very romantic, if you ask me.
How are we celebrating our engageaversary? Well, we started on Saturday with a nice, snow covered walk up to Federal Hill, then we celebrated yesterday by clearing the kitchen, and tonight we'll celebrate with a homecooked meal. (We're not big anniversary people. In fact, I definitely thought our engage-aversary was the 9th until I realized that the 9th is a Tuesday this year and we got engaged on a Sunday.)
So here's to one year of to-be-wedded bliss; and 244 days until we have an anniversary I can remember!

I need a Dodge Charger.

I mean, seriously. Did you see the ad? THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT MY LIFE.

I will get up and walk the dog at 6:30AM, I will eat some fruit as part of my breakfast [we don't have a dog, but Mark is always nagging me to eat down the frozen fruit in the fridge and make sure I don't buy more fruit than I can eat.]

I will shave, I will clean the sink after I shave [in our case, it's clean the sink after you use your mineral makeup that gets everywhere. But I identified.]

I will be at work by 8am, I will sit through two hour meetings [I hate two hour meetings, but tell me again how they are my partner's fault?]

I will say yes when you want me to say yes, I will be quiet when you don't want to hear me say no [I find that being quiet during a fight keeps me from saying things I'll regret later. I find that saying, "I'll try" helps me end the fight sooner.]

I will take your call, I will listen to your opinion of my friends, I will listen to your friends' opinions of my friends, I will be civil to your mother [Mark gets annoyed when I leave my cell phone off or in my pocket or downstairs. We don't let our friends meet, and we like each other's friends, and both of our mothers are perfectly plesent. So 1-3 here.]

I will put the seat down, I will separate the recycling, I will carry your lip balm, I will watch your vampire TV shows with you [This guy needs to move to a neighborhood with single stream recycling. I do take out the trash. I carry my own lip balm, or forget it, and I think shows like 24 and heroes are just as bad as crap vampire TV, and I don't watch any of it. So I guess 0-0 on this one.]

I will take my socks off before getting into bed, I will put my underwear in the basket [STORY OF MY LIFE YOU GUYS!!! WHY CAN'T I JUST LEAVE MY DIRTY CLOTHES ON THE FLOOR UNTIL LAUNDRY DAY?]

And because I do this, I will drive the car I want to drive [OBVIOUSLY, I NEED ONE OF THESE. EVEN THOUGH I TAKE THE BUS.]

Charger: Man's Last Stand

Did you also find out, watching TV last night, that you are not only a man, but that that discovery suddenly made you terrified of getting married, resign yourself to a life of acting as your spouse's purse, or at least instantly go out and register for a dodge charger?

P.S. I will point out that I liked this ad until I realized it was a guy talking to his wife. Because I think there was a way to do this ad without being sexist, and it would have been funny, and the feminist blogosphere wouldn't be so angry. But Dodge failed at that, like they fail at making reliable cars that people want to buy.

P.P.S. It occurs to me, by pointing out how sexist this ad is, our relationship seems...questionable. But I'm a scatterbrained slob and Mark's a neatfreak and we've known that since day 1, so we work around it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Size Matters

On my way home from school today, I trekked down to the local Light Street library which was already closed for snow. On my way home, I stopped at the jeweler we bought our ring from and finally took care of something I've been meaning to do since August. I got a ring guard. My ring has always been a little big, and since I got back from Michigan, it has been even bigger (I lost weight while I was there, and even though I gained it back when I got home, my finger has stayed the same size.) For anyone not familiar, this is a ring guard:
Further, for anyone whose fingers fluctuate, a ring guard is a great solution because the guard is actually adjustable - it can be squeezed up and down, and expand to take up more space or less. The best part is that most jewelers, particularly if it's the one you bought your ring from, will put one on for free. I can't believe what a difference it makes to have my ring feel solidly on my finger, and to stay right side up instead of sliding around. So if your ring is too big, stop fussing and playing with your ring and get yourself to a jeweler!

White to a Wedding?

So I bought this dress for a "black and white night" that my student group was planning (although now it's a vintage glam evening, I'm still wearing the dress).
But my question is - and I think I know the answer - can I wear this to any of the spring/summer weddings I'm going to? I think it's too much white, and I'm tempted to try dying it, but it's also not A White Dress, so I'm not sure.
Otherwise, I think it's a good shower/rehearsal dinner dress (except I already have one of those). Can I wear a white dress to somebody else's shower? Is there etiquette on this?

Also, how great would this dress look with either of these items which That Wife is doing a giveaway for over on her blog?
I also kind of love the Bridal Ruffle, all available at The Redheaded Actress' Etsy Shop.

So weigh in - white to a wedding? How much white is too much white? And head over to That Wife for a chance to win your own hair accessory!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hand me downs (in a good way)

After I wrote this post, I fell to thinking about something else that gets handed down from generation to generation - jewelry.
I haven't written much about my wedding jewelry because well, it was done, as far as I'm concerned. I didn't want to buy new jewelery for the wedding because I wanted to be able to give my daughter or future daughter-in-law something and say, "these are the earrings I wore when I married your father." Because even if she doesn't wear them for her wedding, she can wear them for other things. And I'm honestly not sure that something I bought off of Etsy would last long enough to do that. So I have been adament that I want to wear good jewelry on our wedding day, and I'm too cheap to buy new fine jewelery. Which means - Earrings are a blue pair that Mark gave me for our fourth anniversary. Something borrowed? My grandmother's engagement ring. Bracelet? Maybe, if I feel like it. Necklace? (Arguably the most important accessory for a strapless dress.) Well, necklace, I thought, was taken care of. I have a pendant that was an engagement gift for my great-grandmother that was then passed down and my aunt sent it to me when I was born and I have always known I want to be my "something old". It also has a blue stone in it, so it could serve as my something blue...but I have blue earrings, so it's just my something old.
So here it is.
(I tried really hard to properly diffuse the flash and failed!)
It's gold, and fairly simple, and I don't wear a lot of gold, and I considered wearing this for the ceremony and changing into something funkier for the reception, which I'm still considering. But then when I was home being snowed in, my mom and I dug it out and I realized - the chain had broken. It would also have been too short anyway. So I started thinking about finding a new chain, and I was thinking about something I had seen somewhere recently about pearl necklace charms. So I tried it out:

I think the pearl will work really nicely with the necklace, and I can go with either a single strand or something more or something a little more rock 'n roll. I was thinking maybe small irregularly shaped pearls like the one dangling would look really nice.
The other advantage is, I wear pearls - I have a strand of pearls which I stand by as the best jewelry purchase I've made, hands down, and also a couple of more "modern" pearl necklaces that I really like. So I know whatever I buy will get used again, by me, if not by anyone else. So now it's just a matter of picking a length and style, and then finding a jeweler to attach the pendant. Yes, I could do it myself with jewelers materials I buy from Michaels, but I'm so afraid that won't be strong enough, and I can't bear to lose this.
So what are some good sources for pearls?
I love and their reasonably priced necklaces, so I went there first.
Something like this is just a little funky, but kinda fun:
What do you think? What will work best? I don't really want to order 5 necklaces to test them all out. I've also thought about going some place like Beadazzled to pick out my own beads and make my own necklace. But I think that might end in disappointment. And me gluing myself to something, even though you wouldn't think that could happen in a bead store....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Table Numbers

So now that we're sorta settled on our major vendors, we can move on to the craftier things - like table numbers.
We early on talked about doing table numbers that are places that we've been together, since we travel quite a bit. Then two of my cousins and one of my friends did that, and we decided it had been done. My sister had candy types as their table names, and little candy dishes on the table, which was delicious and fun, since they always have a candy dish in their apartment. We might do this, except people were supposedly confused as to why they were seated at the "Rolo" table. Table numbers are one of those things it's so easy to make crafty and fun and meaningful and special to the couple, so the pressure is on!

Some of the ideas I've had?
  • Naming tables after buildings at the University of Maryland. We get to put some Terrapin Pride out there, and maybe write a little about the building or the significance of it to us on the back of the card, in case guests are interested. For example: "The Diner: Offering to buy Mark dinner in the North Campus Dining Hall to "use up her points" was one way that Ellie managed to finally convince Mark to spend some time with her." Or "Stamp Student Union: Mark and Ellie went on several dates here to movies and free school events." Bonus assignment - we could go take pictures at the UMD campus of us and the buildings. Or we use the set of postcards I have from UMD that I've never used, but have.
  • Use our engagement pictures and just slap on a number in some kind of opaque format over our smiling faces.
  • Make table numbers out of wood, or plants, or acorns glued to wooden plants. Basically, something nature-y is what I'm saying. Name tables after trees, plants, flowers, birds, and other nature-y things.
  • Name our tables after streets in Baltimore where we live, work, play, or regularly get stuck in traffic.
  • Using white cardstock and printing numbers in large font on them. Preferably something fun from Maybe we'll frame them. Otherwise they'll just go on the memo clips I already have from my sister. No, it's not original. But we aren't being graded on originality, are we? If we are being graded at all, originality is about 10% of the grade. 90% is whether people can find their seats. Oh right, and this would be pretty much free/supplies on hand.
What are you going with? Does anybody else share my perhaps uncreative urge to just put numbers on sticks and call it a day?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Keeping it short and sweet again today - new stamps for 2010! I hadn't thought to look at this year's stamps yet, until I saw a tweet yesterday about the new Calvin and Hobbes Stamp!!!! I immediately wanted to order 200 of them to use on our invites, but then this morning I realized they are part of a 5 piece "Sunday Funnies" set and it's unlikely that I could get 150 of them on their own.
So I looked at the other stamps. I've narrowed our stamp choices for the wedding down to the following:
Did you know Mark was an Eagle Scout? No? Well, are you really surprised? Of course not! Plus, this scouting one would go perfect with either the navy envelopes I wish I could find, or the brown ones we will probably use. Plus, it's a metaphor for the search for love, no?
This is my personal favorite of this year's stamp offerings:
It's the lunar/Chinese new year stamp for the year of the tiger. The image is Narcissus flowers (and not uh, daffodils as I originally thought) which are auspicious at all times of the year and used to celebrate Chinese New Year. The red would be a great contrast, and the flowers evoke "nature."
These evergreen stamps would be perfect, but they are the holiday stamp so they don't even come out until October!
Wouldn't those be just so perfect for a nature center wedding though? I'm going to be ordering a bunch to use on our thank-you notes, for sure!

You may have noticed that I skipped the love stamp with the purple pansies. That's because well, marriage isn't for pansies. It's big and scary, like scouting out a mountain.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Both Meg and Cupcake Wedding have great posts up about men in wedding planning, from two totally different perspectives. I want desperately to weigh in, but I have about 5 assignments due this week, and my first hearing!

So for now, I will say this. I am continuously torn between being annoyed at Mark for cramping my style, and being grateful to him for how much he does. For taking over the catering hunt, even though it means that things happen a little slower than I would like. For being willing to do the large-scale DIY projects and being psyched about them. When I first came to him about wanting to make signs for our venue, I was afraid he would shoot me down. (Like he has done with well, several dumb ideas I've had; hence the cramping my style.) Instead, he took the project and ran with it, and now I'm not allowed to touch it. (Hence the cramping my style.)

Wedding planning, as Cupcake Wedding points out, continuously reflects our relationship dynamic. I'm the creative idea person, the verbose writer, the person who knows what she wants. Mark is the executor of the ideas, the editor (he edits pretty much every post before it goes up), and the guy who only knows he doesn't like something, but can't say what it is he would like until it is put in front of him. And so it goes.
What's your planning dynamic?