Monday, January 31, 2011

Mistake.

I wanted to share these with you because they were a mistake.  We grabbed a few shots with this bird house because I got caught up for just a moment in what would make good pictures.  I hate them.  They didn't go into any of our family albums and we just look silly.  I'm sharing them because they were a bad idea, and I don't want you to see something and think, "gee, a picture of that would look great on my blog."
I mean, for starters, I look short.  And uncomfortable.

I still look short, and uncomfortable.

And I'm not even really smiling in this one.  I'm making ugly smile face, which is worse.  
So yeah, don't get so caught up in how the pictures will look.  Let the day happen.  You really only need a few amazing pictures of the two of you, and I should have known that these wouldn't be them.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

DIT Photography

I was reading this post and this post on APW and I started thinking about whether, from our very talented friends, we would have had enough pictures of our wedding that we could have felt satisfied with the coverage we got, and with the pictures we wound up with.*  I know we've had a few readers who have struggled with the issue of photography, or how to pay for photography.

In looking back, I think yes, we would have survived without Kiersten and her amazing pictures (but they were so worth it to me).  I think our friends managed to do a great job capturing our wedding and the different moments, at least on a broad scale of "we have pictures to show our grandkids".  I'm going to take you through some pictures of the day - and I would say a lot of these are pretty typical.  I'm going to start with the bad, and then move on to the good, and then get to the really really good.  As far as the bad, and the good, we have a lot of similar shots, all from slightly different angles.  We have a whole bunch of pictures of our first dance that are grainy and out of focus, with horrifying red-eye, or where the flash only caught my dress and it's too bright.  So here's a smattering of some of the pictures from our friends which would make me nervous about not hiring a professional photographer:
Cake! You are MIIIIIIIIIIINE.  
Moving a little too fast here
This shot is good, but just a little too dark and grainy to be blown up and put in an album
Just a bit hazy.
The problem with wedding dresses and sunlight is they are more likely to be overexposed.

The number one piece of advice that I would give anybody considering not having a professional photographer is this:  Have a daytime wedding and an outdoor ceremony and reception.  The lighting conditions in the tent were great up through dinner, but after that, the lack of lighting made it very difficult for anybody to get decent shots of us with a point and shoot.  





I love this picture of me and one of our ceremony musicians.  
This shot was by the same person as who took the cake shot above. 
The pictures above were all taken with a variety of point and shoot cameras - a Canon Powershot A550 - it's a 7.1 megapixel camera, a Canon 850-IS (an 8mp which I happen to own as well), a Sony DSC-W350.  But because the users didn't have to use the flash, they were able to get a whole bunch of shots of the ceremony - yes, a number of them are out of focus, but some of them are really good.  Also, understand that all of these pictures were taken by people sitting down during the ceremony - so the people in the back didn't take as nice shots of us getting married, but have GREAT processional/recessional shots.  If you were asking friends to shoot during your ceremony, presumably, some of them wouldn't stay in their seats.  The closer they can get to you, the better.  

The pictures that our family and friends got with their DSLRs are just phenomenal.  
from Mark's aunt and cousins
same as above
same as above - all taken on a Nikon D50
This one is still one of my absolute favorite shots.

My cousin Matt, who has a pretty serious setup and a flash, took these on his Pentax and they're some of the better of the darker reception photographs:



Here is what I would say about not hiring a photographer:
1.) Talk to your friends who have nice cameras about bringing them.  A lot of your friends with DSLRs might not bring them to weddings - we had at least three of our more experienced photographer friends not bring their cameras.  Also, pick one or two of them, who have the most experience or whose pictures your really like, to shoot during the ceremony and move around and take pictures.  Don't just ask ten people to take pictures willy-nilly from their seats.  
2.) Give somebody a shot list, especially to do group pictures.  When doing group pictures, if more than one shooter is taking pictures, have the person taking the picture raise their hand so everybody knows where to look.  Try to avoid having more than one person take the group pictures though, and whoever is taking them should shoot them on an SLR/DSLR because it is often necessary to take 5-10 pictures to get one where everybody is looking at the camera.  
3.) Consider lighting.  If you are having an indoor wedding, or an indoor reception, figure out the best way to get the most light into the space, especially wherever the ceremony is happening and wherever the reception is.  If you are having an indoor or church wedding, it's going to be a lot more challenging for your guests/photographers.  
4.) Rent a camera/system/lenses if you have a guest photographer who knows what they are doing.  (I would definitely suggest renting a 50mm lens and possibly a 35mm lens for a wedding, and possibly a professional camera body.  The whole thing might cost less than $100 or so to rent.)  
5.) Know what you're going to get.  You're going to get good shots from people using a point-and-shoot or a DSLR with a kit lens, but you're not going to get shots like these unless you are using a lens which allows you to use a very low aperture.  These both have an aperture of 1.8 and were taken by Kiersten of Prema Photographic using a 50mm lens.

6.) Know how to get the pictures back from people - either issue your guests very large SD cards (you can get 8gb cards for $15 nowadays) and have them give them back to you at the end of the night (unless they are editing), or have them arrange to get you a DVD of the pictures once they've been edited, or pull the pictures off of their cards the next day, or set up a Flickr site or a Picasa album.  Whatever you do, you should make sure you are getting the full resolution photos and you should organize them all first into photos by the name of the photographer and then put them in chronological order.  
7.) Ask your guests to make sure to take pictures of each other.  When we got our pictures back from guests, some of them made me really happy because they were great pictures of my friends having a good time.  Some of them, the guest had clearly been more concerned with taking great pictures of us than of each other, and so there are definitely some gaps in our reception coverage, and if you've got 10 friends playing professional photographer, you're not going to get as many great pictures of the other people at your wedding having fun, which is what a lot of us want - so ask a few friends to make sure they capture people who aren't you dancing and having a good time.  

*The reality is, even if our wedding day was well documented, I also wanted beautiful and artsy photos, which we got, for a great price.  But there are many many people out there who are simply satisfied as long as the day is captured.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

62 Years

Today is my Grandmother's funeral.  Yes, that Grandma.  To make a long story short: Arlington.
I wanted to share with you a picture of my grandparents on their wedding day, but I don't have that.  So here they are on their 50th anniversary:
Limousines are for people who do not have firetrucks.  I was eight years old at the time, and I thought being married for 50 years meant simply that you were old.  I did not realize how much work it must be for any two people to be married for 50 years.   

I don't know much about my grandparent's wedding, but I do know that my Grandmother bought her wedding dress herself from Saks 5th Avenue (and don't even suggest it came from Macy's.)  I know that they were married for 62 years and that it wasn't easy.  Neither of my grandparents were saints, but they were good people, with strong values, who loved each other very much.  At the end of the day, they bickered quite a bit, and their marriage wasn't perfect.  I can honestly say that even if we make it 60 years, we will probably still bicker about the right way to load the dishwasher or the proper way to treat the grandchildren.  I can also honestly say that I hope our grandchildren don't come away from us thinking that our marriage is perfect just because we kept at it long enough.  It's something that we all work at, every day.  It was something my Grandmother fought hard to keep working for, even as she had trouble remembering what day it was, who we were, or where she lived.

Since this is a total bummer of a post and I don't know how to end it, let's end it with this picture of my grandma at our engagement party.  Because no matter where you are, elderly women with piƱatas are funny stuff:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

About Face

If there is one place where I somewhat regret the amount of money I threw away on products, it's makeup.  I bought at least two tubes of drugstore mascara to test it out; I spent a lot on foundation; I spent a lot on lipstick; and I spent quite a bit on blush and concealer I didn't even wear (I'm not convinced any color actually came off the blush palette and onto my cheeks.)  Then I spent more money at Target trying to get the right blush and eyeshadow.  The reason I spent so much on blush was because after the campaign, I left my makeup in a hidden corner at my parents house and couldn't find it until long after the wedding.  It would absolutely have been cheaper to pay a makeup artist to do my makeup, except that I hate having strangers touch my eyes.  Anyway, this post is about the cheaper makeup that I purchased, and the cost saving tips I'm passing onto you.

Here's the weird thing: I'm not convinced that any of it works.  I simply don't think to check my makeup after four hours to see if it has stayed on, so I'm not totally sure that my makeup didn't smudge or come off, but it did stay on through pictures, which is, I suppose, what matters.  
This is one of the last shots I have of me, and it looks like the makeup held up pretty well, except my lipstick which I should have reapplied at some point, but just didn't care about.  

For starters, I used a lot of Mrs. Rainbow's tips in her Ace Your Face post.  The best tip she offered?  
Rainbow pointed out that this has the same formula as the Smashbox primer, and, not in the mood to spend a lot more money, I picked some of it up.  First of all, it works really well as a primer - it makes my face feel really smooth and flawless, and it helps my mineral makeup stick especially well - but the best part is, it works really really well to prevent chafing.  I usually would have used Body Glide for my feet to keep blisters away, but my Body Glide wound up being somewhere that I couldn't get to when it was time for me to change shoes.  So I used this stuff and it worked like a dream - I didn't blister at all, and my feet barely hurt by the end of the night.   

I also ordered the silica spheres which are the same as the Make Up For Ever finishing powder.  This stuff goes on so clear I'm not totally sure that I'm wearing it.  (Hence the part where I'm unsure that it actually works.)  

I bought new brushes for the wedding, and while I was going to buy new brushes from Ulta, I wound up going with Eco Tools:
via Amazon
I love this brush.  It's crazy soft, and I love that it's bamboo and also cruelty-free.  I also love that it was half the price of the other brushes I was getting.  I recently made the mistake of using one of my old makeup brushes and it scratched my face and I vowed to use it never again.  I also got a tilted eyeshadow brush, which works pretty well.  Once I have a job, I think I might get the 5piece travel set.  

Before the wedding, in a frenzy over losing all of my makeup, I had to go out and buy new eyeshadow and blush (since the sephora blush didn't work).  I went with maybelline for those but I don't really recommend them - I really like the Ulta Eyeshadows - they stay on for a long time, they're subtle, and they don't crease.  I also picked up a lipstain by Revlon which at $7 was much cheaper than the Stila one I almost bought, and worked just as well.  

I hope this was somewhat helpful.  Honestly, if you don't know much about makeup, you should really just hire a makeup artist.  I thought I would get more use out of the stuff I bought after the wedding, but I use the mascara, the lip gloss (which is amazing and I want more of...right, no job), and the primer.  That's all.  (You probably should buy your own mascara and lip gloss anyway, to touch up on the day.)  Sometimes I use the Make Up For Ever foundation, but I don't really like liquid foundation - when I do use it, I mix it with primer and lotion like Rainbow recommends, because that helps make it feel a lot less heavy.  I will also say that my friends who had makeup artists looked absolutely stunning on their wedding days, to the point where you said, "is that really so-and-so?"  Which I didn't think I wanted, but in retrospect, it might have been nice.  What I really should have done was committed to spending a decent chunk of money on makeup and gone to a makeup counter and had them do a complete makeover, rather than buying things in bits and pieces and hoping it all went together on the big day.  
Photo by me - my vanity with my current makeup supplies - I love the Ulta minerals kit for everyday wear, and I still love the Neutrogena dual eye palette I bought for our first engagement shoot - it is perfect for work.

One last note - I bought foundation, blush, concealer, and face lotion all at Sephora.  I normally find them too expensive, but the customer service is top notch and they sold me the wrong shade of foundation, then took it back after I had used some of it and let me exchange it for the right shade.  That is the kind of customer service that is worth the higher priced products, at least to me.  

All photos by Prema Photographic

Monday, January 24, 2011

Splurge

It is surprising to me the part of our wedding that feels like the biggest splurge.  The thing where we spent a lot more money than we needed to because we wanted to, not because we had to.  Arguably, no, we did not need to spend as much on food as we did on a year's worth of rent, but it felt more necessary than this did.

We saved money with most of our wedding.  I bought a $500 dress that I didn't totally love and didn't fit me, and spent the same amount having it turned into a dress that I totally loved and fit like a glove. I stalked sale sites for shoes and finally scored 2 pairs for $30 each.  These all felt like reasonable amounts to spend.  I spent nothing on jewelry, borrowing it all or wearing stuff I already owned.  I shelled out $32 for a headband that made me feel like a princess.  We hired an up-and-coming family friend as a photographer (and got some of the best wedding pictures I've ever seen).  We hired a reasonably priced DJ who kept the party going and didn't try to turn our wedding into a rave.  We mostly spent money on making sure our guests would have a great time at our wedding, and the rest of the stuff we let go.

The part though, where we spent a lot more than we had to, infinitely more, really, was our invitations.  I could easily have designed simple invitations ourselves, and then maybe added a rubber stamp, and called it a day.  We could have bought reasonably priced invitations from Invitation Consultants or done a DIY kit from Michaels.  But we splurged.  And I'm still not 100% comfortable with the amount of money that we spent on the design for our invitations, but I am still 100% in love with our invitations.
Nonetheless, sometimes I can't get past the fact that the design alone cost $70.  Yes, I know, in the long run, spending $200 total on your invitations is a steal, but I sometimes can't get past the fact that it could have been closer to $100 if I had designed them myself.  We had a few people tell us how much they loved our invitations, but overall, I would say invitations are the one thing where you should save every penny possible, as long as your invites aren't written in marker.  And I LOVE paper.  But nonetheless, it still feels like a lot of money that we didn't have to spend, that didn't make our guests more comfortable or our wedding day more beautiful.  We spent that money because I wanted to and I have to deal with that.  I feel sometimes like I spent $70 on a pair of shoes I only wore once.  But I also don't regret spending that money.  I feel silly, but I have absolutely zero regrets.  I love that our purchase went to support a small business, one that supports APW, and I loved working with Kimi and the folks at Printable Press.  And I really really loved our invitations, even if nobody else cared about them.  

I'm sharing this with you so that you know a few things, which are that your invites aren't really that important, that the things that felt like the biggest splurge may be something you spent very little on, in the grand scheme of things, and that it's okay to both want something and feel guilty about wanting it at the same time.  I know a lot of people feel silly about wanting nice invitations, and that's okay.  They're kind of a silly thing to want.  But as long as you can still come in under your budget by saving in other ways (I designed our RSVP card and rehearsal dinner invites myself, and we made our own thank-you notes), you should go ahead and do what makes you happy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stalling.

I'm stalling on the recaps because well, eventually they have to end and I have to figure out what the future of the blog is.  So I'm going to keep stalling, and show you what Anna and the Ring affectionately referred to as "the Money shot" on Twitter the other day.  I'm sure you've seen this shot, because it's actually my favorite.  I'm gonna level with you - our photographer cost almost as much as my engagement ring.  And this is the picture that I look at if I ever wonder whether hiring a professional was worth it.  (Although I don't wonder that.)

Not that I've ever wondered.  I know I was the one who said I didn't want "art", I wanted really good pictures that captured the day.  I could bullshit you and tell you that it captures how at peace I felt with my new husband during my first dance, or say I really feel like it shows how much we love each other.  I could tell you that the bracelet on my wrist is purple and that makes me indie-blogger badass.  The reality is...I was nervous during our first dance.  I don't think that this picture shows how much we love each other.  But somehow, I think it captures the hugeness of getting married, and what our minister said - that now, we never again will be alone.  There is an "us against the world" ness of this picture, and I think that's what I love.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hair today, gone tomorrow.

PWC posts usually bore me to tears.  They're always something along the lines of, "omg my hair got SO LONG before my wedding and then I FINALLY got it cut the DAY after and I FEEL LIKE ME AGAIN!!!" with a before and after picture where the bride had SUPER long hair and then OMG shoulder length hair!!!  I'm sorry, that was a bit harsh.  But I generally feel that you should feel like you on your wedding day, not the day after.  Anyway, this isn't one of those posts.  This is a post about how a haircut changed my life.

It might seem like I'm a hypocrite: I had short hair when we got engaged, and long hair the day we got married.  My hair wasn't really long by anyone's standards though, and for most of the time I was "growing my hair out", it remained above my shoulders.
This is my hair at our rehearsal dinner - it was long enough for a short ponytail, which was a lifesaver during the last few weeks of Bar prep and the campaign, but not much more.
I would like to point out that my wedding day hair is the length of most of the PWCs I see.

After the wedding, I was going to go in for a post-wedding chop.  But then something happened.  Or rather, something didn't.  I didn't get a job.  I didn't even get an interview until December (and the rejection letter for that one came in the mail last week).  I figured that since all I did all day was sit around in my pajamas, I didn't need a haircut.  I figured that since I'm unemployed, I shouldn't spend my husband's hard earned money on some trivial thing like a haircut for myself.  I figured that since I have nothing but time, I should be able to spend an hour blow drying and fixing up my hair.  
So by my swearing in, I looked like this:
No, it's not "bad", just stringy and limp and unprofessional.

After New Years, Mark and I sat and had a serious talk about how money was going to work with my being unemployed.  I needed to stop kidding myself and recognize that this wasn't a temporary setback.  I needed to be able to be comfortable spending our money without feeling like I had to ask for permission or feeling like I was earning it for myself.  There are a lot of things that are very difficult about being a single-income household, but unquestionably, spending money on something that is just for me is what I will have the hardest time with.  I have generally preferred to do without, rather than feel guilty, or feel like one of those women whose husband complains about her spending all of his money on expensive haircuts and shoes.  
Anyway, I trekked up to Flaunt a few weeks ago and got my post-wedding chop.  Which was the first haircut I had gotten since the Bar exam.  And I could not be happier.  

Once I had my new haircut, I felt not "like myself again", but rather, I finally felt like a goddamn lawyer.  I felt like a professional.  I felt like a girl who graduated from law school magna cum laude and passed the bar exam on her first try and earned the right to introduce herself to people at parties and say, "I'm an attorney" instead of saying, "I'm unemployed."  Since I got my haircut, I've had the nerve to follow up with people, I've gotten out and made volunteering happen, I've been networking more, and I'm getting more aggressive in my job search.  Maybe it's just because I'm sick of sitting at home, doing nothing, and feeling like I'm doing nothing, but I'm pretty sure it's because when I look in the mirror, instead of seeing a sad lazy girl with a ponytail, I see a smart young lawyer who owes it to herself, her husband, and her parents to get out there and get herself a job.  And yeah, if you had told me all of this three weeks ago, I would have told you that you were full of cr*p and a haircut couldn't make that much of a difference.  But if you're in my situation, and you too have been depriving yourself of a fantastic haircut, do whatever it takes to make it happen.  It is surprising, but it will make a difference.  

Did you have a life changing haircut?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Newlywed Ten

Recently, as you may know, I got married.  In conjunction with getting married, I gained weight.  I wasn't really expecting this because:
1.) I wasn't dieting before the wedding (yes, I lost the 5lbs I gained in bar review, but that just put me back at my "normal" weight)
2.) We already live together (most women gain weight when they move in with their boyfriends/husbands)

I was somewhat prepared because my friends had been open with me about gaining weight on their honeymoons/post-wedding and how hard it was to lose it, but I thought since I was prepared, I could avoid it.  I was wrong.  So when I came back from the wedding and the campaign and began my new and exciting life of job hunting, the scale stopped budging.  And it didn't go down.  Then my jeans began to rebel against me.  Suddenly, the weight gain was less about my ego and more about finances - if my clothes stopped fitting, it would be an expensive situation.*

I've checked in with a few other women in my life, and they too have gained the newlywed ten.  (Or more, in some cases.)  I see it reflected in blogs all over the place, and I suspect that a lot of other people are feeling like I do.  A feeling of, "what did I do so differently before?" A feeling of, "well, it will come off as I get back to normal."  A sense of, "well, I wanted to use all my fun new cooking toys and see what they do and then I ate a lot of it."

Look, I firmly believe that nobody should be totally hung up on their weight.  I am against losing tons of weight for your wedding and not doing it in a sustainable way, or fad diets or yo-yo diets or unhealthy habits.  But the truth is, I also believe in weight loss.  I believe that there is nothing quite so unhealthy as hating yourself, and if you can do something to change that, you should, whether it's losing weight or finding a really good therapist.  Or both.  I don't think everyone should lose weight, and I don't think being overweight is necessarily unhealthy.  But I recognize that the world is full of people like me - people who are happy with themselves at a certain weight, or when they are below a certain weight.  For people like me, gaining weight, particularly a large amount over a short period of time, is a bit traumatic.  So I wanted to address it.

I'm not going to give you a bunch of hokey weight loss tips.  But what I will say is this:  weight gain happens, but it can probably be avoided.  Weight is much tougher to lose than to not gain.  For me, the problem was that my circumstances changed right around the time of the wedding - I went from working, and walking daily, and generally moving around more, to not working, and adopting a mainly sedentary lifestyle.  The temperatures dropped and I spent less time outside.

So in conclusion, be aware of all the things that are going on in your life, and how they will affect you, during the wedding-planning and beyond.  Also, remember, crash dieting is a terrible idea.  That is the only hard and fast rule I can give you about weight loss.  Some things work for some people, but crash dieting works for no-one.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tossing

I was adamant about wanting the DJ to play single ladies and not during the bouquet toss.  We ran out of time to play Single Ladies, but I picked a different bouquet toss song anyway - Supermodel, by Jill Sobule.  I think you might recognize it from Clueless, but it's a really fun girlie song.  I did the bouquet toss because I happen to be mostly friends with young women in their mid-twenties who are in serious relationships and haven't been to a lot of weddings, so the bouquet toss tends to be more fun with that demographic - nobody really feel shamed by the toss or like it's a judgment on their being single in their thirties.

I got up to toss the bouquet and nearly fell off the stage.  I was going to use my tosser bouquet, but it was in my dressing room, so I pitched my SIL's bouquet instead.  When I got up on the stage, I very nearly fell off, so watch your footing if you are climbing on anything.
Then I tossed it.
Then my good friend Amy caught it.  This was very exciting for us, but probably not her boyfriend.
Then we danced for a bit.  Then I sadly had to run off the dance floor to deal with family obligations, which was kind of annoying.  It is okay to say "not right now" to a non-urgent family situation, and instead boogie down with your friends.  But it's okay, because we got back to dancing soon enough.
I know that the bouquet toss is grotesque to some people - but for my group of friends, it was fun, and by some, appreciated - my girl friends are mostly girls in their mid-twenties in serious relationships on the verge of getting engaged.  Pretty much every girl on the floor for the toss has a serious boyfriend, and a couple of the girls actually welcomed the toss.  I think if I had a large group of truly single friends, or my friends were older, or the bouquet toss was mandatory, it would have been less fun.  I think you really have to know your crowd to know if the toss is the right choice for your group.  
Did you toss anything?  Will you be tossing anything?  

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Really Easy Inspiration Boards

Inspiration boards are great for wedding planning, and they are so easy to make, especially in Google Picasa.  For example, before my florist meetings, I saved designs I liked and then had Picasa make a collage (or inspiration board).  That meant that all the designs I wanted printed out in one easy page, all one size.  It meant that the florist could look at the single page and get a feel for what I wanted.  It also meant that I could look at everything together and get a sense of the common elements and what drew me to each bouquet.  I did the same thing with hairstyles.

My hairstyle collage - common themes - volume, headbands, curls.

You can probably use other programs, but since I already use Picasa for photo-management and editing, Picasa is easiest for me.  To create a collage or inspiration board in Picasa, start by downloading Picasa.  Then go ahead and find pictures and save them all in one folder in your wedding inspiration file - for example, "Hair".  Once you have as many pictures as you want, open up Picasa - it should detect them, or you will need to tell it to import the file.  Go through them and decide which pictures you want in your board, and then click the "hold" button down at the bottom next to the tray.  Then hit the Collage button down on the bottom.  Picasa will create a draft of your collage.  You can either use "Mosaic" or "Grid" to create an effective looking collage or inspiration board.  

Once you have your collage, you can easily move your pictures around so that certain pictures are bigger or smaller, depending on what you want to be the focal point.  I made this one with our wedding pictures, in case anybody needs a navy and green nature wedding inspiration board (all photos except the one of our invites are courtesy of Prema Photographic.)

Looking at everything pulled together makes me feel really good about how cohesive our wedding looked, even though the greens didn't all match and a bunch of stuff was kind of a hodgepodge of design elements.  I think we also got a lot of help from nature and the beautiful weather that we had, which is clearly visible here.  

So there you go - how to make super easy inspiration boards for your planning pleasure!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Tent

Remember how we moved into the Big Tent and then there was no room for paper lanterns or poms?  That was a good thing, because man, that would have been one heckuva not-worth-it PITA. It was also a good thing, because Irvine had already decorated the tent with haybales and corn-husks for their annual fall gala.  My cousin and his wife did the dirty work of clearing out all the old centerpieces and rearranging the haybales and taking the gingham bows off the cornhusks (and then tying our wedding colors around them) to make the tent look presentable.  It wound up looking really great, through no effort on our part.
See those corn-husks?  We didn't bring those.

Or the haybales:


But they worked, and they were free, so we kept them.  I'm only saying this, because I do not want you to read the blog and think "we MUST wrap our tent poles in something".  You don't.  In fact, please don't, it sounds like an awful lot of work.  


Monday, January 10, 2011

The Hora

When I was 12, I went to my first real wedding - before that, all I had been to was the reception of my babysitter's wedding when I was something like four years old.  At twelve, my cousin got married.  He had a Jewish wedding.  I'd only ever seen weddings on TV and this was in the nineties, so I didn't see a whole lot of Jewish weddings.  The ceremony was mostly explained in the programs, since many of the attendees of the wedding were not Jewish.  After that, I attended more Jewish weddings, and a couple Bar Mitzvahs.  Absolutely the funnest part looked like the Hora.  At one wedding, they lifted the bride, the groom, the entire wedding party, and then the parents.  It was awesome.
At my cousin's wedding, and the first non-Jewish wedding in the family, we hijacked the playlist and performed our own Hora.  We did it at my cousin's wedding last fall as well.  Ultimately, this was something that bound us together as a family, whether it was part of our heritage or not.  So yeah, we put Hava Nagila on the playlist and found chairs with arms.  
I love this picture.  The man dancing to my left is my cousin's husband, and he dances a mean hora.  I think he was leading the circle.
There is something totally amazing about being lifted in the chairs at the same time as your husband - it's horrifying, and it's fun, and it's a really wonderful moment in which you feel connected to your partner and your family and it's really everything weddings are about.  I know that our wedding would not have felt complete without it, and I'm really glad we did it, no matter who thought it was weird.  (Or, as one of our chair lifters mentioned last night, heavy.)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Toasting

In some ways, it's true what they say - you may very well not remember what the people who make toasts to you say.  But you will always remember how you felt - a little uncomfortable, but a lot loved.  A whole lot loved.
Just look at my Dad:
Do I remember exactly what he said?  No.  But he told a story about my childhood, and it wasn't as embarrassing as I was afraid it would be.  He also made it relevant, and it was really cute.  
Look at how pleased Mark is.  

Our best man got up and basically told all of our guests that we are giant nerds.  Because the lightsaber at the wedding didn't tip them off already.  
But really, how often do you get to see great man-hugs like this?
The speech I remember most of is my sister's.  Because you guys, somehow, my big sister always knows when something is wrong and she knows the right thing to say to fix it.  It's an important skill.  So we spent our whole wedding day feeling confused about how not-married we felt.  And then my sister came along and fixed it.  She started out by asking us, "how's married life?" and then asking, "do you feel different?" and told us we would hear this a lot.  
Then, she said the one thing I carried around with me in my pocket until I did, in fact, feel married.  She said, "It's kind of like birthdays.  You don't always feel older on your birthday, but someday, you just wake up and you feel old."  
The rest of what she said, I don't so much remember.  Oh, except she said that ever since the night that Mark and I first met (she was there), we all knew that this day was where we were heading.  Which may have made me do this:
Why yes, those are the custom embroidered handkerchiefs I made Mark.
We had a few impromptu toasts, all very sweet.  My cousin got up and said a few words:
And one of my childhood friends who I have known since she was born closed us out by talking about how impressive it is that I didn't fall down during our first dance.  
It made sense at the time.  
Then I got up and thanked everybody.  I am usually good at this kind of impromptu public speaking:
but I had to let Mark take over: