Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pretty Details & Craft it Forward

I saw this headband in navy blue with a white flower at my local Ann Taylor Loft recently and it was so cute but I didn't buy it because $16 is a lot for a flower headband I wasn't sure I would wear, but I thought you might be interested in this one because I know some of you are planning brightly colored weddings and might like a pop of color in your hair. 

In other news, only 3 people were interested in craft it forward so the Craft it Forward recipients will be Julie/Smartass Bride, Ms. Bunny, and roughit, plus the first two people who comment here today.  (It'll be fun, I promise!)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Awhile ago, Miss Guniea Pig on Weddingbee had a post on wanting a pencil edge veil.  Because I love meeting other nearlyweds and also crafting, I offered to help her out.  I have a serger, and knew I could do a pencil edge veil.  I was planning to do one for myself anyway, and I figured it would be an easy to-do item to check off early.  We met up on Sunday at my apartment and I was having some trouble with my Bernina serger. If you have a serger, you know that threading them is a b*tch and a half, and that sometimes they just...hate you.  The solution to my lower looper constantly unthreading was to simply go very slowly.  I also used wooly or bulky nylon in both the upper and lower looper, to contribute to a fluffier rolled edge, but I'm not totally happy with how it came out.  It's good enough though, so we left it. The edge also came out sorta wavy, but in a nice veil like way, not in a weird way.

After I did Miss GP's veil and did the gathering stitch for her to attach it to her comb, I did my own.*  It came out pretty nicely.  I want to add some beading, which was recommended by the shop ladies, because well, outside = windy.  So I will probably tackle that job sometime in the next few months.

Oh, did you want to see what it looked like?  Okay.
(But imagine it bedazzled! And me, looking less like a scared, stressed out law student, because I WON'T BE ONE IN SIX WEEKS!!!!  Wow, sorry.)
No tutorial on this one, because if you have a serger, you know how to do a rolled hem (and there are plenty of "how to cut a veil" tutorials out there),and if you don't have a serger, you are SOL on doing this the way I did.  You can buy a veil on Etsy for way less of a headache.

Then I went to attach it to the comb, which I messed up twice, then did correctly, then decided to take off, rip out the gathering, and regather because I wasn't happy with it, then finally put two and two together and realized (with some help from Miss GP) the key word was "UNDERSIDE" of the comb.  So all you happy veilers, attach the veil to the UNDERSIDE of the comb.  Facing AWAY from the teeth.  I would up stitching mine to a piece of ribbon and hot-gluing it to my plastic comb, but it seems to be pulling off some so it may be time to try some 2-ton epoxy.

A few notes: don't buy wide tulle.  I accidentally bought 108" wide tulle.  Don't do that.  No wider than 60", but if you can get 45, that should be sufficient.  I didn't want much fullness, since I don't have a lot of hair for it to go over.
So I kept it pretty narrow.  I think mine is probably about 30" wide.  (Yes, I hung my pashmina up on the back of the bathroom door for you to see the veil better.) 
The bottom comes down to my waist, but for some reason I think of this as "elbow length". 
And just for fun, what would I look like with the veil draped artfully across my face like in all those fantastic glamour shots

Uh, the answer is stupid. So the veil stays behind the head at all times, and will look pretty great with just a little sparkle from some Swarovski crystals and some pearls and a little beading.  (Plus that will weigh it down, so I can avoid the veil over the face look.

*After eating no fewer than 4 of the brownies she brought dress is never gonna fit.

Monday, March 29, 2010

How to register without telling the world

We started our "real" registry on Saturday at the Towson Bed Bath & Beyond. I had previously been concerned over whatever brick & mortar store we wanted to register at being one of the ones that would share my personal info with Wedding Channel. (I know some other people have written about this recently.) Since I'm still on the job hunt, I do try to keep my wedding obsession on the DL, and I don't mention the wedding on interviews, and I would hate for an employer to Google me and find me on there and judge me by my taste in china.

So when we filled out the registry sign-up sheet, I bossily asked BB&B how they could keep our info private, short of my using a fake last name (which I was totally willing to do); and they were unable to figure it out. Finally, Helen, aka the Registry Lady of Awesomeness, who was generally super-nice, said, "well, if we let you register as a Housewarming party and not a wedding, we don't share your information with Wedding Channel." The only problem is that we have to get a paper coupon for our 10% registry completion. That sounded worth it to me. (Besides, everybody will get us everything off the registry, so we won't need to complete it, right?)

So if you are registering and not wishing to share your last name and china pattern with the world, ask BB&B if you can register as a housewarming instead of a wedding. If you are going to Towson, ask for Helen because she was super-nice, not at all pushy, and encouraged us to take it slowly and register for one room at a time instead of burning out. She did not make any obnoxious recommendations, like that we should get the super-expensive flatware, and she was very knowledgeable about the china we were looking at.

She also suggested that if we were planning to register for towels, we should find a set we liked and scan the washcloth, and then go back to the desk and have them fill in the big towels and hand towels from the set, because the washcloth is small and easy to scan. This avoids pulling out a huge bath sheet, unfolding it, and looking for the tag to scan.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bridesmaid dress horror stories

Last weekend we went bridesmaid dress shopping and my friend mentioned the dresses that a family friend's bridesmaids wore for a wedding.  
She sent me a picture:
My first instinct was, "did the groomsmen wear leaderhosen?"  But here's the thing.  Looking at it's not so bad.  I mean, maybe four of them all side by side would be a little much.  But this is probably the most flattering a german milkmaid inspired dress could be, and for some reason...I like the flowers.  And it may be the only dress for which the 80s puffy sleeves actually go and make sense.  
Have you ever taken a second glance at a dress that on first glance seemed abysmal?  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hometown Party?

On the current wedding invite list are 3 of my friends from high school. I may add one more, but probably not, because once I invite one, the floodgates open to the rest of them.
It occurred to me though, that my high school friends are a bunch of big nerds. They are all terrible dancers (myself included). I had to strongarm a number of them into going to prom (I was in charge of selling tickets.) They are not really the "wedding" type, and that is a big part of why they aren't on the invite list. They also don't know Mark that well. But the idea of not celebrating our wedding with them made me sad, especially after another friend of mine from high school announced his engagement and invited pretty much everyone we know to the hometown party (he's getting married in Australia.)

So I fell to thinking about what to do. I didn't want to just cave and invite my 12 high school buds (and dates) to the wedding - the crowd would be unmanageable and I don't think they would enjoy themselves. Throwing a hometown reception seemed excessive since well, we're getting married 45 minutes from my hometown. (3 hours in traffic, but that's Baltimore/DC for ya.) The thing to do, I have decided, and Mark is on board, is to simply have a bar night, similar to the night before the wedding, sometime around Halloween or Thanksgiving, to celebrate, and I'll pick up the tab. It is, believe it or not, cheaper to stand 15 friends to drinks than to invite an extra 5 people to the wedding. So bar night it is. I know that if I got an invitation to a party like this with my friends from high school, I wouldn't be at all offended, and I am actually hoping to start this as a tradition with my friends, cuz I think it just might work for all of us.

The question is though, how does one invite people to a "sorry you made the B-list for my wedding" party? For a destination wedding, we could swing the "we got married far away, but we want to celebrate with you!" angle. For a courthouse or small wedding, we could swing the, "we got married with just our close family, but we want to celebrate with you." I can't write "we got married with the people that really matter to us, but we still want to celebrate with you!"

I could just ignore it and send out a "join us to celebrate our marriage" invitation, but uh, that is lame. I feel like I have to acknowledge that they weren't invited to the wedding, but not make it sound like the night will be spent rehashing the wedding, and also not offer a lame excuse of apology for the whole not-invited-to-the-wedding-thing. I'm thinking of something along the lines of, "We got married; sorry we didn't invite you; but aren't you glad you don't have to buy us a gift? Come celebrate! Drinks are on us!" Or just sending that wording out with this SomeECard Invite. Or something really honest like, "Weddings are expensive, and you guys are cheap drunks. Let's go to the bar."

So brainstorm with me! How do I do this suavely? How do I avoid hurting feelings?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Calligraphy vs. Labels

So, calligraphy is "the dream".  It is the "proper" way to address invites.  And yes, I love getting hand addressed invites in the mail.  So much so that I've considered hand-calligraphing or doing "faux-ligraphy" (in which you print the addresses lightly and trace over them with a nice pen).  But I keep coming back to the words of my uncle, who works for the USPS.  "Typed is preferred.  If you must handwrite, all caps is best." 

Having never heard this before, and still foolishly considering handwriting my own envelopes, I sought advice from, the authority on going postal. The advice is to: "Print or type clearly with a pen or permanent marker so the address is legible from an arm’s length away."  

So printed address labels are definitely the way to go.  But boring, plain old labels printed in calligraphic font?  Why make my life so easy?  
 Meet the wraparound label.  I want these awesome labels.  I must have them, even at the expense of my sanity. 
 Because even if they are "blog trendy", they are still going to be new and interesting to members of our family.  Plus, they are a fabulous opportunity for design.  
My only concern is bouncebacks.  The wraparound label will make sure they get to their recipients, but what if we have wrong addresses?  (The Christmas card list my mother uses still has addresses in East Berlin...)  Well, the USPS has something to say about this as well:  "Print the delivery and return addresses on the same side of your envelope or card." 

So now what do I do?  (I would say we, but Mark's solution is to print the addresses on clear labels. Which is nice and all, but boring compared to the wraparound label awesomeness!)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Favors are stupid. Until they're awesome.

So we weren't really planning on doing "favors" per se.  We had a couple ideas in mind, including maybe a photobooth.
Placecards were going to be basic tent folds.  Then I saw these!
So even though they would be expensive, impractical, and we would probably have at least 20 leftover at the end of the night, they're so cute I had to at least consider them for a good 5 minutes.  

Have you seen anything that made you do a wedding planning 180? 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book Review: Buff Brides

I feel like such a sell-out for even buying this book, even though I bought it used and have found it really useful.  Back in January, I decided to start lifting weights regularly.  I tried to lift weights in our apartment and make my own routine, but I lacked focus.  I had heard good things about Buff Brides, and in a moment of I-don't-know-what, I ordered it. 

It's actually pretty good.  I don't know how it works for people who don't have a solid fitness and weight training background, but none of the exercises are that new to me - it's a slightly different way to doing some of them, but it's pretty basic.  It's just nice to have somebody else do the work of coming up with a routine.  The exercises don't take up that much time, and if you have all the equipment at home, you don't have to be embarrassed by 1) reading from a book in the gym and 2) reading from a book about how to look hott in your wedding dress at the gym. If you do want to invest in getting the right equipment at home, I recommend having weights that can be changed in and out, so you can step up the amount of weight (which is something a lot of women weight training don't do.) 

I'm not really sure who this book is for.  I think it's for anybody who works out regularly and wants a weight routine to help tone them up (like me).  I don't think it will work for people who can't handle a workout routine at all.  If you aren't going to work out regularly, that's something internal, not something you can solve by buying books, DVDs, a treadmill, or a gym membership. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Feel Good Friday: Fill out your Census

So, I may be the only person who looks forward to the census.  I think it is AWESOME and as a history major, census data is SO important to have.  I was pretty bummed that Mark filled ours out while I was on Spring Break.  Also I'm pretty bummed that it will be 10 years before I can mark "married" on the census form.  It's also a neat way to mark time.  The last time I filled out the census, I had just learned in NSL what the census was.  The next time we fill out the census, we will probably be adding at least one more name in our household.  That's kinda neat.  Other things that are neat?  Gay couples can declare themselves married and be recognized as such - and this matters because it forces the country to recognize that gay marriage exists and eventually we will see federally recognized gay marriage.

Additionally, "Those opposed to same-sex marriage, meanwhile, say the move is just another example of the erosion of the Defense of Marriage Act."  

To which, I say, it's about time and bring it on.  So go fill out your census, take part in the democratic process, and feel proud to be doing your civic duty!  I promise, it's better than jury duty.    

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Book Review: Bride in Overdrive

Last weekend, the in-laws came down and we talked about all kinds of wedding stuff and went bridesmaid dress shopping.  Also during the weekend, my future mother-in-law offered me a book, Bride in Overdrive.  I read most of it on the plane ride home from Colorado last night, and I'm worried.  I'm worried because she told me that parts of the book reminded her of me.  And the bride in the book is selfish, immature, and expects her fiance to be in the background while she and her step-mom plan everything.  (I'm pretty sure she gave it to me because they got engaged on Federal Hill.  Or that is what I'm telling myself.)

I haven't finished the book yet, but most of the chapters resolve themselves with, "I got over being crazy/selfish/bratty and realized that it would be better if my fiance and I picked out the invitations/things for the registry together." 

The problem with this book is that it is the kind of book that most people who know a bride find funny, because the bride they know has of course, "gone crazy with wedding planning".  Which we have.  I certainly got obsessed with invitations for a little while, and then I found the perfect ones and I've let it go.  But I didn't call my father and demand a lobster dinner for 200 people.  I didn't go insane.  Every once in awhile, I let something get to me, work out a way to resolve it, and leave it alone.  So, in short, it's the kind of book that parents and friends find funny, because they see your behavior reflected in it; and will make all of the brides that I know get defensive and go, "well, I'm not like that!!!!"

The thing about this book though, that really bothered me, was that I didn't like the main character.  Not because she acts bratty and immature and selfish sometimes, but because she's planning a wedding that isn't really about her and her fiance.  She's throwing a wedding that has been planned by Martha Stewart and Modern Bride magazine. She doesn't worry about expressing herself, she worries about impressing other people and having the "best" wedding around.  The only redeeming, interesting part is that she does talk a lot about dealing with divorced parents in the planning and marrying process. 

The book is also lacking in any kind of common moral or theme.  It is simply a memoir of one girl's wedding planning process, and while she does call herself out for acting crazy, she doesn't do any of the work that Kamy Wicoff does in I do but I don't.  (If I can ever find my copy and finish it, I'll review that one too.)  She doesn't propose any solutions to the acting crazy, or explore the reasons why (the way Ariel does in the new Offbeat Bride, which I will review shortly.) 

I may or may not finish Bride in Overdrive, because now that I'm off a plane and have other things to read, I don't feel invested enough to know whether the main character has a perfect wedding or calls the whole thing off or whether she does, in fact, serve lobster at her wedding.  I don't care whether she gets "uncrazy" or not.  And I particularly enjoyed the part in which she discussed how great it was to go from a size 6 to a size 4.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

DIY with a blender?

That makes this project one step closer to using power tools, so I can talk about it without losing too many manhood points... It's hard to see the phrase "make your own paper" without thinking "too much time on your hands". But then again, it sounds kind of cool - not just making paper, but making seed paper.

Lifehacker linked to a tutorial on it over the weekend. It seems like a reasonably simple process, and there are probably some nifty things you could do with it, like using seeds for flowers in your wedding colors, or picking a flower that you particularly like - a lot more control than you'd have with paper purchased off the web. My favorite part? It provides a great use for all the little scraps of leftover paper that certain crafty bloggers seem to create whenever they exhale.

Caveats: it might be a messy process, I suspect it will ruin a towel or two, and the "paper" it creates is fairly thick. It looks like its best use will be in the form of little die-cut stick-ons as shown in the example photos, but maybe with some effort it could be made thin enough to do other things with. If we decide to try it out, you'll hear all about it...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sanity Check

I'll admit, I'm starting to lose it.  Between picking our invites and going bridesmaid dress shopping and realizing that our to-do list is only going to grow, no matter how many times we say "eff it", I was feeling overwhelmed.  I was worrying about making all the "right" decisions and having our wedding have a cohesive look.
Then I saw this post by Miss Sewing. And I saw this quote:
"Because five years from now, the only person that will remember what they looked like will be you. So do something you love. And because it’ll be a reflection of you, your guests will (hopefully) love it too."  

So there it is.  So the only question now that matters, from here on out, is, "do I/we love it?"  I've been stunned that everyone I have shown our potential invites to has reacted with glee and told me how cute and how very us they are.  I had been afraid that people would think they were too casual.  People even like my super-easy DIY pocketfold idea.  (It's a pocketfauxld, don't worry.)

One of my friends used to tell me, "nobody ever cares as much about your wedding as you do."  So maybe I should stop worrying about whether my dress is out of style or won't go with my bouquet or my shoes.  Maybe I should start worrying about finding a minister and making sure we sign our catering contract.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Table Numbers

I'm gonna keep things light this week because it's spring break.  I played around with some table numbers and fonts awhile ago, going with the "numbers on a stick" idea, but using fun fonts.  Both of these are from, a great source for free fonts.  
I love this "Autumn Gifts" font, particularly the corncob one.  

But maybe the leafy font is more appropriate for our nature center wedding.  Maybe we would be better off just picking a signature wedding font and using it for everything to give it a cohesive look.  But I like fonts and variety too much, so, no.  
Do you have a signature font or do you just go with whatever suits your fancy?  

Friday, March 12, 2010

Feel Good Friday: Craft it Forward

When ThatWife first mentioned Craft it Forward, I thought it was the best idea ever!  You get something handmade, and then you handmake something for 5 other people.  It's like a chain letter, only awesome, and nobody dies if you break the chain (please don't break the chain though!)

So I'm crafting it forward, since I was one of the lucky 5 commentors picked.  I figure since I write about weddings and most of you do likewise, and I have an cr**load of tulle and ribbon and beads around my apartment, most of you will be getting hair flowers/veils; jewelry; or something else wedding-y.  (Feel free to check out our nifty DIY tab to see what I'm talking about.)

Since I'm egotistical, I'm assuming that more than 5 of you will be interested, so we'll do this "giveaway" style.  Please comment below with your name, last initial(s), and whether you are already married or engaged or nowhere near (just so I can know whether to send you something wedding-related or something else fun.)  It is important that you have your own way of crafting forward to 5 other people though, so make sure you think you have that kind of network.  Also, craft is a loose term.  I consider food a craft.

I'm gonna leave comments open until 12p.m. Sunday, and then pick 5 people at random. Happy Crafting!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dance Shoes

My foot problem has been acting up again, so I've been thinking about my options for great, comfortable dancing shoes.  Then I remembered that back in our ballroom dance days* some of the dancers had dance sneakers, and I tried a pair on and was shocked by how comfortable but still easy-to-dance-in they were.
Then I thought, oh gee, I wonder if they come in white.
Ladies and gents, meet the Bloch Dance Sneaker.  Check out also the Capezio Toggle and the Capezio Dansneaker. Some of these dance sneakers are made with special soles that let you still twirl and swirl easily without the rubber sole catching on the floor and forcing you to twist an ankle.  They also boast a split sole to allow for maximum flexibility and bend ability.
And lets be real. Nobody is seeing these under your dress, so why not change into these for maximum fun dancing instead of into some crummy old flip flops that won't let you foot rock appropriately during a swing dance?
Would you wear dance sneakers?  What about when I tell you they are "only" $60?

*to those of you thinking "gah! she made him go dancing!" please keep in mind that I'm a terrible dancer with no rhythm and Mark was the dancer when we met.    

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in....

Normally I find the Etsy Finds totally annoying, and then every once in awhile, there is one like today's!  Today's, which featured these rings 
and these candles

invitations with trees

which led me to these invites, which would be totally great if we had totally different personalities and were having a completely different wedding.
(To find sources, go to the Etsy Finds site for the Woodland Woo finds.)
Do you also find the Etsy finds annoying until they are so totally and completely useful as to kindly plan your entire wedding for you?  

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Knowing who you're supposed to bee

When the craft generation of Bees was announced, I nearly died. There are no words for how badly I wanted to be Ms. Sewing. The icon is adorable, it's totally perfect for me, and at the time, I was 2 months away from being able to apply.  (I'm now 7 months out and could apply, and they announced the sea creatures recently.  But Miss Sewing got snapped up pretty quickly.)
I genuinely feel that I would fit in well on the 'bee (if I was accepted, as only 5% of applicants are), and I would love the opportunity to write for a wider audience and share some of what I've been writing about here, especially feminism and social consciousness in wedding planning, plus crafts and color inspiration and all that other fuzzy wedding stuff.

But then there's this, and this. And there's some other stuff too, like that we started this blog on the idea that both of us write for it, as partners and equals and teammates in this nonesense.  And Mark told me flat out that he wouldn't write for Weddingbee and he wouldn't let them pull any of his posts.  (Which includes, among other things, our DIY STD posts and some bigger DIY projects we have coming up.)  I respect his choice and it is his writing, therefore that is his choice to make. 
He also pointed out that I have to take the bar exam in June/July and I don't want to be worrying about posting then.  He knows it's on him to take over then, and he's ready for it, but that wouldn't be re-posted to the 'bee, so I would feel the need to write posts as well.

And I was torn and upset, and then I saw the post by Miss Gingham resigning because it was more of a time commitment than she had thought it would be.  I thought about rehashing our entire journey for the 'bee - our Save the Dates, our venue hunt, my waffling on the bouquet.  I haven't even had the energy to write about our catering search here, because it was so exhausting.  Yes, 8 months is where most of the planning/projects really starts, but there would have been a bit of going back.  I also hate the idea of pulling from our 400+ posts that we have here and deciding what was "worthy" of going up on the 'bee.

I also didn't want to risk not being the "owner" of my writing (there is nothing about ownership currently in the guidelines for applying); and another thing is that when Weddingbee was just a small business owned by Mrs. Bee, I was fine with the writers being volunteers.  But it bothers me that in the eHarmony sale, there is no compensation offered to the writers. Another reason is that frankly, I'm not thick skinned enough to handle negative comments.  I love our readers because they are always so positive (I mean, honestly, I think that most of you subscribed and then ignore my posts) and while writing to a broader audience would be great, I would feel the need to respond to comments and read all of the comments, and there would be more negative comments.  There would be comments telling me that my hair flower is tacky, that I should sell my dress and buy my dream dress that costs twice my rent; that we should serve meat at our wedding. These comments would either make me feel crappy or make me question everything we had decided already. There would be comments asking me to stop politicizing weddings by talking so much about gay marriage (the personal is political, people!)

Then the sea creatures came out.  But there is no Miss Clownfish, so I didn't cry, and at the moment I feel fairly firm in my decision to not apply. I may apply after the bar, because I'll have more time (especially because I'm currently unemployed), but for now, I'm staying put.  Instead of joining the 'bee, some of us are talking about creating our own little feminist blogging collective (more on that soon, and please comment if you would be interested in joining!) And that's something I'm really excited. about, and Mark is really supportive of.  So stay tuned on that.

I wanted to talk about this because I know that there are other people out there waffling with the same decision.  I also wanted to mention it because I know there are some people who have been wondering whether I would apply.  Have you had this same kind of conflict?  What did your partner think about your wanting to apply?

Monday, March 8, 2010


I've seen some stuff in the blogosphere lately about timelines for your dating relationship. Something like this:
(from 1000 layer cake)

The problem is though, our "how we met" story isn't that cute. Ours in fact, would go something like this: "How They Met: Ellie's floormate invited her to come meet the boy she had a crush on, Mark something."
"First Date: Giant Grocery Store in College Park, MD to do Mark's grocery shopping for the week."
"First Kiss: Three months before the first date, after said "How they Met" incident. Afterwhich Mark told Ellie to get lost."
"First I Love You: Ellie told Mark she loved him while he was in England and they were broken up. Mark freaked out and sent her a commitment-phobic letter about how he didn't love her. Mark then told Ellie 6 months later on their first backpacking trip. Ellie then freaked out, gave a commitment phobic response, and pretended to go to sleep. A week later, they finally got it right."
"Proposal: One Sunday night, Mark took Ellie to Federal Hill near their house and asked her to marry him."
"Engagement: She responded with, "why?" Eventually she said yes, but it took some convincing."
"Going to the Chapel: Mark and Ellie will be married October 10, 2010 in the woods."
The truth is that since we met in college, we had a college relationship. We stayed over at each other's apartments long before we ever went "out" on a date. Our first kiss real kiss that he actually responded to happened when we were snuggled up in the same bed because I had been sexiled by my roommate. Our first date was to Outback Steakhouse, to use up a gift card that Mark's ex-girlfriend's mom had given him. It was awkward and uncomfortable at times to get used to it, and looking back, we don't really have cute how-we-met stories or tales of our first date, because we didn't date. We were friends, and then we were us. Then he went to England and we weren't us, except that we really still were. Then he came back and we've been us ever since.

So I'm thinking instead of doing a "timeline" to do more of a "by the numbers" approach. Something like:
4 - number of hours it took Ellie to realize she liked Mark
1008 - number of hours it took Mark to realize he liked Ellie
4 - number of sci-fi movies Ellie had to sit through with Mark before she won him over
6 - number of weeks Ellie and Mark dated before he left for England
683 - number of emails exchanged between Mark and Ellie while he was in England
0 - number of people either dated after "breaking up"
6 - number of weeks Ellie and Mark decided to wait before getting back together when he got home
48 - number of hours Ellie and Mark actually waited

Are you doing a relationship time-line or anything?  How are you conveying your "story" to your guests who don't know it?  (It was surprising to realize that a number of our guests only know that we "met in college" and don't know the details.) 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wedding Day 5k

So I think that ideas like this are just too cool. The problem is that we really don't want to see each other on our wedding day, so organizing a race would probably nix that.

The thing is though, we have a lot of runners in our group - my sister, her husband, one of the groomsmen, five of my hockey teammates who are coming, a couple of my high school friends, a bunch of Mark's friends, 1-2 of my bridesmaids, a bunch of my college friends, etc. They would all probably enjoy partaking in a low-key self-organized 5k race, so I feel like this is a really fun idea. Especially if we had matching t-shirts made that had the race name or awesome pictures of us on them.  However, it would probably involve too much organization.
(Mark, myself, my sister, and my brother in law at the 2008 Baltimore Running Festival)

I've thought about organizing a "Brides Run" (which I will now be calling the Chase to the Chapel and/or the "Get me to the Church on time" race; the wedding happening in the woods notwithstanding) if I can't find a 5k that's happening nearby that weekend, because I think it would be a fun, low-key way to connect with people on the wedding morning and ground myself in the day.  We could have a friend volunteer to stand at the finish line with a stopwatch (it's just not a race otherwise), and I could have my dad stand at the halfway point with water and get bagels and juice boxes for the finish line (or end at the hotel and eat the complimentary continental breakfast).  We could start and end at the hotel, and run around the local mall that is .5 miles from the hotel.  But it's not as fun as doing a real race. 

It's also a great way to blow off steam.  I'm concerned about time-crunch - the wedding is at 3:30, which means getting hair done starting at probably 11 or 12; so the 5k will need to be at 8am (or earlier) and easy to leave from (which means no Race for the Cure.)  8am 5k means done & out by 9am, showered by 10 or 10:30, and then scooting off to the hair salon.  I'm also concerned about what running will do to my pedicure, that we will get done the day before, but I'll be getting a pedicure before Law School Prom and running that weekend, so I'll find out then. 

Oh, and to the nay-sayers? Nobody would tell me to not do yoga on my wedding day, and this will take less time than that.

What do you think? Find a race to run; or organize our own?

Celebrate Gay Marriage in DC!

So happy to announce that DC is now recognizing gay marriage!  To celebrate, the fabulous Kelly Prizel Photography is giving away TWO free engagement shoots!  For more information, go here.
Kelly is a co-founder of So You're EnGAYged, who has been eagerly tweeting about the scene at the DC courthouse since yesterday when couples were allowed to apply for their marriage licenses.  Go here for more pictures of the happiness.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"Marriages last longer than living together?"

...says the misleading headline on this story:

About 78 percent of marriages lasted five years or more, compared with less than 30 percent of what the CDC called cohabiting unions, or couples living together outside marriage.
Of course, a big part of that is that 'living together' means 'unmarried', so if you get married, your cohabitation ends.

One reason cohabitations were shorter-lived than marriages is that 51 percent of couples who lived together made the transition to marriage within three years, CDC said in a statement.

So, that leaves...just under 80% of cohabitations lasting at least three to five years. Not much of a story there after all - or, the story is that marriages aren't more successful than cohabitation. So I found the CDC report, and dug through the results a little. Some things I found interesting, primarily from Tables 16 and 17:

  • There's practically no correlation between cohabitation and probability of marriage survival (maybe for the majority - if we had to get used to each others' living habits, on top of the other stress related to getting married, I'm not sure that we'd last). [UPDATE: Apparently some of our readers have more current statistics usage than me, and are less tired while reading than I was while writing. There is in fact a correlation, but the difference is minimal - a couple of percent difference in the probability of marriage survival. Sorry for being careless with my language.]
  • That being said, couples who moved in together after getting engaged seem to have significantly higher likelihood of staying together long-term than those who move in before they get engaged. Whoops.
  • Couples who were pregnant before they got married, or without kids, were way less likely to stay together than couples with children born 8 or more months after the wedding.
What other interesting patterns do you see in the data?

Third Party Payment

I take the major national professional responsibility exam on Saturday morning, and in the course of my studying, I came across the rule about 3rd party payment for representation.  That is, when your parents foot the bill for your divorce or DUI or your company pays for your lawyer, how the lawyer should treat the client and who is in fact the client when somebody else pays.  The short non-legal-advice answer is: the person you represent in court is always the client. 

So then I was thinking about weddings and third party payment.  For lawyers, when somebody else is footing the bill, the person paying CAN'T try to influence the lawyer.  The lawyer can't think about where the money comes from. The lawyer's obligation is to do what is best for the client.  Where the money comes from is irrelevant. 

Then I realized something.  That is the dynamic that all wedding planning should encompass.  This is how wedding planning is going for us.  My parents are footing most of the bill, but they have told me, consistently, that it is our wedding and we need to do what is in our best interest.  I love that they do not make demands and expect them to be fulfilled because they are paying.  I realize that they are unique in this aspect, but I think it's time for more parents to understand these rules. 

So how does this approach work?  We let the third party paying know how the representation is going, without breaching confidentiality, and with the informed consent of both parties involved (i.e. is it okay if I show my parents the invites I liked?)  Additionally, we have developed a rule against ex-parte communications.  I do not talk about the wedding with my parents without my partner, and vice versa, unless I am relaying something previously agreed upon.  I am always free to say, "Mark and I have not discussed this yet, so we'll let you know what we decide."  This way, there is no getting one of us alone to strongarm us into your opinion. 

It occurs to me, looking at the wedding boards, that all of this is unusual.  That my parents  (Well, that's not true, but they are at least pretty great.)  I wonder if this is because my father is a lawyer and he understands this rule, fundamentally, is a good one, not only for lawyering but for everything else.  I think that they also realize, because they had parental tensions surrounding their weddings, that nothing they could possibly want from our wedding could ever be as important as our happiness.  Because the answer can't possibly be that my parents are cool. 

How does your arrangement with your third party payers work?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Table Runners

One thing that I've wanted to do since the beginning is do table runners. I would really like to do them in different colors, to break up the tables and make the whole thing just a little more...chaotic? varied? organic? Anyway, to review, our colors are moss green, navy blue, with a splash of cranberry and champagne accents. I like the look of white linens with a colored runner. I was all excited a few weeks ago because I went to Hancock fabrics and found some gorgeous cranberry fabric with white paisley detail and thought it would be great for table runners. But naturally, it's being discontinued, and there wasn't that much of it. I'd like to try to get back to Hancock and buy out their stock, since it came in both cranberry and navy, but I figured I'd look around for some other material too, for variety and so we know we have enough. Then an email came into my inbox from JoAnn Fabrics featuring these prints. I clicked through and found a bunch of great options when before I'd had so much trouble fabric shopping online.
I thought if these were available in colors a little closer to our color scheme, but still coordinated, they might be perfect. Of course, they weren't, but looky what I found!
It also comes in a red, but I like the idea of using this as our "green" table runner and then mixing it up more with the other blues.
There's a green scroll damask, but it's not really the right shade.
And then there is this, which would be the perfect navy runner, save for the fact that it's $7 a yard. But oh man, how great is it for a travel themed wedding? (which we aren't having so it wouldn't work anyway)
I think when Mark's parents come down in a few weeks, we might do some table runner fabric shopping.  The only snag?  We may not be able to have long tables.  (sniff!)  So we would do what Ms. Fancy Pants is doing, using fabric squares to dress up the table and offer some more dimension.
What are your sources for fabric?  Have you found a place that lets you sort by pattern style and color?  Cuz that would be really helpful. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

A what now?

One big question for me has been whether or not we want to have a prayer in our ceremony. There is one big reason why not.

Praying in public makes me uncomfortable.

Unbelievably uncomfortable. Look, the way I see it, religion, faith, they aren't for sharing. They are your private, personal feelings and they are not up for discussion, they are not up for debate, they are yours and yours alone. I'll admit I go to church, but that's as far as it goes. When I've gone to 5k races run by church and they make us pray in public, I squirm and bow my head and feel uncomfortable. When there is an invocation at an event, again, uncomfortable. When I'm at church where they pray (Unitarians = no public prayer), I'm uncomfortable. So why, why, on our wedding day, of all days, the day that is supposed to be about us and about our marriage, why would I even think of including a ritual that I know is going to make me feel horrifyingly uncomfortable? Something that will make me feel like I'm standing in front of 130 of my closest friends and family, stark naked?

Because. Because this day is about us. Because this day is about what we want from ourselves. It is about the promises that we will make to each other, in front of the people we care about. This day is about us, but it is about us being a part of something bigger. It's about us being together forever, for this life, or the next, depending. (Although, legally, death ends a marriage.) And this isn't a violation of the first amendment, to stand up in front of our family and our friends and acknowledge that while we stand before them, we also stand before a greater spiritual community or entity and that when we ask for pledges of support from our family and friends, maybe we should also ask that from that other thing. (See? Do you SEE how uncomfortable I am?)

So thus began a search for a prayer that made me feel comfortable. It's pretty safe to say that I will be the least comfortable person in the ceremony about this part, but it matters to me to do this. To ask The Whatever From the High Atop the Thing to protect us, to help us be better together, to help us keep our vows, to keep us safe and well and bless us with long lives that we spend together.  Oh, and before you suggest a moment of silence, yes I thought about it, but it's not enough, and I always get fidgety during the moment of silence at Church.

Something like this was out of the question without some serious adaptation. (I come from die-hard scientists. Nobody gets referred to as the Creator in our house.)

"Heavenly Creator, we gather to celebrate your gift of love, and its presence among us. We rejoice that these two people have chosen to commit themselves to a life of loving faithfulness to one another. We praise you, Lord, for the ways you have touched our lives with a variety of loving relationships, and we give thanks for ________ and __________ and for the special love and friendship you have put in their hearts. Renew within us an affectionate and loving spirit. Enrich our lives with the gracious gift of your love so that we may embrace others with that same love. May our participation in this celebration of love and commitment, give to us a new joy and responsiveness to the relationships that we cherish. In your loving arms we pray, Amen." (source)

This is closer, but again, minus the Creator language:
Gracious Creator, guide ____________and___________ and walk beside them together as husband and wife. Give them grace and love enough to forgive each other during those turbulent times in their relationship. Grant them also the gift of celebration so they can enjoy the many happy times they will share together. Dear Lord, grant their love for each other be as beautiful as it is in this hour, may it grow deeper and stronger in the years ahead. Amen (source)

I kind of like this one, from Robert Louis Stevenson:
Lord, behold our family here assembled.We thank you for this place in which we dwell,for the love that unites us,for the peace accorded us this day,for the hope with which we expect the morrow,for the health, the work, the food,and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;for our friends in all parts of the earth.Amen. (Source)

Getting closer - although not sure how I feel about the torch of love language. But the sentiment is nice:
"Bless this marriage, as ____________ and ______________ begin their journey down the road of life together. May they respect each other's likes and dislikes, opinions and beliefs, hopes and dreams, and fears even though they may not always understand each other.
May they rest in the knowledge that no matter what happens by holding on to each other things will work out for the best. Most of all, dear God, help them to keep the torch of love burning with the fire that they now share in their hearts. " (source)

This is my favorite so far:
In joining your lives may God grant you both...Love... to afford each other a special quality of time together. the accomplishments of one another. Understanding...that your interests and desires will not always be the same. Friendship...based on mutual trust. speak of a misunderstanding and to work on a solution before the setting of the sun. comfort each other in pain and sorrow. realize rainbows follow rainy days. keep with you part of the child you used to be. Mirth...from your sense of humor. live each day with the knowledge that there is no promise of tomorrow. May God bless you and keep you in the Palm of His hand. (source)

As a descendant of Irish Catholics, I appreciate the "Palm of His hand" language, but I want something different (that maybe doesn't include "His").  Perhaps something like "May you have all of these things, and more, and the blessings of your family and friends who are gathered here today, to guide you as you start your lives together. May God bless you and keep you safe and happy together from this day forward."   

Any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions from fellow prayer-phobes or from people that are, y'know, comfortable with their faith?