Monday, August 10, 2009

For realsies

I've been talking all summer about how the wedding is becoming real, and now I've officially made the first real purchase: my dress.

Let me say that I didn't plan on finding my dress yet. I wanted a group of bridesmaids and clapping to accompany me, but once I tried her on... there was no leaving without putting that payment down. I know... I suck, but you'll forgive me. Let me share the whole experience with you, really, it'll be just like you were there the whole time!

Dress shopping experience one was at a small boutique. I went with just my mom on a very stormy day a couple of weeks ago. They had about sixty or so dresses in the whole shop from four or five different designers. The price point went from $$ to $$$$, and of course I loved two of the most expensive dresses in the place.

I also experienced the first thing that the wedding magazines didn't tell me... those boutique dresses are NOT in my size. It is really hard to feel at your most beautiful when you're being held into a size -5 dress that will not even zip a centimeter.


So when I tried on a truly yummy Maggie Sottero dress (that I felt looked like the red dress Kate Winselt wore in Titanic) that had looked fantastic on the mannequin, I didn't notice the beading or the way that the silk lay across the bodice. All I could look at was my belly button, which I could see through the many layers of fabric. ick! I got within two feet of the triple mirror and turned on my heel. No need to traumatize myself any further!

I didn't write down the info for the first dress, but it was very similar to this one.

I can not say enough about the consultant at the first place though, she was fantastic. She listened to my critiques on each gown and laughed at all of my self-deprecating jokes. Eventually, we found two dresses that looked beautiful on me.

This Maggie's name is Libby, and she's magical. After a full five minutes of string pulling, I was actually zipped up into this beauty. For the first time, I felt confident. And I sparkled! The lace was a good not to my mother's dress and it was feather light. A contender for sure.

I Adored this Anjolique number. Through a fluke, she was actually in my size. I loved how it lay across my stomach (no belly buttons in sight!) and that it was just a little bit different while still being very classic. There was the small issue of the giant beaded sparkle snowflake on the right hip, but the seamstress assured me that it could be removed. The problem? I wasn't ready to make a commitment on my first trip, and this little lady would have set me back considerably. While I understand the importance of a wedding dress, I wasn't willing to spend the amount that this particular dress required. So alas, I said goodbye to her for the day, promising to come back later.

Later, I realized that a large portion of why I loved these dresses was because they finally fit. I felt good in them, especially in the corsetted Maggie. I felt like I did when I really was a size 2.

But upon further thought... I didn't feel like the bride. What happened next? You'll find out soon (I promise)

Did you married ladies have the same experience I did with tiny dresses?

Oh dear!

And here I was thinking that the summer would afford me ample time to blog about all things wedding.

Where did the summer go already! I've been so remiss that at this point apologies are way overdue and blah blah blah I'm boring myself already.

Really, we just haven't done much.

The Save The Dates are in stall mode while we wait for artwork from a talented friend, we just got first contact from our planner (via a "wedding day" scented candle through the mail... I didn't even know you could mail candles...), and we have our first meeting with our officiant next weekend.

I did go dress shopping though...

... a couple times. Ok. Three times. But other than that, we haven't been doing much. So don't worry. You haven't missed anything!

Monday, July 13, 2009

We've been busy....

Oh yes, it's been a long time. But it's been a busy time too. The wedding is officially less than a year away, and things are definitely getting real.

The first real thing that Boy and I did was take engagement pictures! Nicole of the fantastic NKA studios came over to shoot family pictures for my Nana and Pop-pop's 50th wedding anniversary, and Boy and I stole the spotlight for a few minutes to snag these adorable shots. We were lucky enough to get not only a beautiful day, but also some great behavior out of our doggie, Jack-Jack. You can see more of Nicole's beautiful work over on her blog!

We also had our long-awaited gathering of our bridesmaids, groomsmen, and ushers. It was awesome. I had some girls really step up and I felt like everyone got to know one another much better, which is what I was going for in the first place! Score!

We worked the event as a competition, so we split into two teams and worked to earn points by completing tasks. It was soooo meticulously planned, down to hand made "achievements" ala XBox 360 (did I mention that Boy and I are gamers?) and color coded just about everything. We even had a schedule of what events were going to happen when. This was a fantastic idea which was missing one key element: execution.

See, some of the achievements were earned by drinking, and each team attacked those first. So all of the carefully planned events were attempted by people who were... well... not in full mental shape. And we couldn't do it. Boy, who turns on his XBox daily and plays for hours, couldn't get a single game started. I lost interest in everything except our adorable kitten, Olive.

After some very minor drama, a unity pyramid was attempted and all was well. Next day tabulating of the points revealed that Boy's team won, but only by one point. And by all accounts everyone had a smashing good time, which is the real win for us!

My parents threw us a relaxed and delicious barbecue engagement lunch, much to the relief of several hung-over wedding party members. The highest point of this (other than a home run derby) was that my Pop-pop and Boy's Grandpa talked for almost the entire time. They had met on only one previous occasion, and everyone was too busy to really get to know each other. The laid back setting of that Sunday gave our families a much better chance to meet, and the wedding party a chance to see who our VIPs are. Now, when I ask one of my bridesmaids to hand my bouquet to my nana, she will know who I'm talking about without having to awkwardly ask around. Score!

Last week we celebrated our only nega-versary by preparing for our annual vacation down the shore. For those of you not from the Philly area, "down the shore" means on the New Jersey coastline, usually in Wildwood, Avalon, or for us: Ocean City. For the last few years, it also meant an influx of our friends along with our family. This year, however, we had just seen everyone so there was no vacation time left for people to come down. While I was a bit bummed about that at first, it ended up being awesome!

Boy and I had several long conversations about our wedding and the style we want for the day, the budget we think we need, and how to handle well-meaning people who may not see it our way. It's hard. I really want to please everyone, but I also want a wedding with a cohesive style. Through the rest of this year, I will have to learn how to listen to everyone, match those ideas with our own, and pull together what should be a fantastic night.

Should be.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wedding Par-tay!

The main idea of this wedding party social is to get our peeps on both sides to meet one another, integrate some new faces, and all chill out with a little over a year to go until the big day. The goal: pictures and good times inspired by actual friendships and fun, rather than posed "sillyness" and a support system which can actually support if there is drama.

There'd better not be drama.

Planning our wedding party social has been a great warm up for planing the actual wedding. Boy and I have both had lots of ideas, some great and some not so great.

When it came down to it, it was all about compromise and reality, which is what I think all brides need to focus on sometimes!

For instance: My original (genius, by the way) idea was that it should be bridesmaids vs groomsmen in an awesome real world vs road rules style showdown. Our two wedding ninjas would be split up to join other teams and all would be right with the world. Think of the pink vs blue t-shirts! Wedding related games! Cocktails!

That is where it all fell apart. We're not what you would call "big drinkers," but we're not small, either. And even though very few of us were a part of Greek Life up at PSU, we do love us some competitive drinking. Almost as soon as I put out the idea, I started getting feedback about my "awesome" plan.

It was almost universally negative. Everyone was psyched about the games, but were quick to point out that (duh) our friends are very competitive, and merging a drinking component with a battle of the sexes would only lead to ticked off and very wasted girls as their husbands/boyfriends/fiances/friends drank them quite handily under the table. While I wanted to get on my "girl power" soap box and re-enact a scene from Annie Get Your Gun, I saw reason and bowed out. Rather than ditch the drinking component (come on, I'm not crazy... yet), I acquiesced that mixed teams were better.

Enter problem numero dos. Things turned very quickly into a night that was mostly about competitive, college style imbibing. And while I'm all for having a good time, I most certainly did not want anyone to get sick! There are a few people on both sides who prefer not to drink to excess, and Boy and I don't want to pressure anyone. But how do we keep things interesting for those who choose not to play drinking games?

We brainstormed for a while about activities that would get everyone involved. We all love a good game of flip cup, but it's not much fun if you aren't drinking. And who wants to ride the bus with water? Not this girl.

The trick ended up being a beyond brilliant idea that should keep all of our very geeky friends happy and having a great time, even after the drinking stops. I don't want to say too much here to spoil the surprise for the wedding party members who I know read the blog (ahem). But it will be epic.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Look at this cake.

This is a serious cake right here. This cake makes me want to jump and do all sorts of crazy gymnastics that I am nowhere near coordinated enough to do.

It's so simple, and tall, and round, and pretty and I must have it. (sings the "I want it now" song Veurca Salt sang in Willy Wonka)

The photo, btdubs, is by the very sweet and fantastically talented Nicole Aldrige of NKA studios. She does great work with families and especially awesome stuff with weddings! More on how I came to know her coming soon...

I know, I can be such an evil little tease sometimes.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bye, bye land of make-believe

It's starting to get real. Really real. And... uhm...

Theoretical wedding planning world is a pretty un-stressful place to be. There are no worries in happy, fluffy cloud world. Hell, we can have flippin unicorns as our ring-bearers! We can have peonies in July! I can magically look beautiful in a sheath dress!

Not so much.

So here's the list of things I wanted to have taken care of by June:
1. Lose 15 pounds
2. have brilliant, creative wedding theme
3. decide on venue
4. get wedding party together

And while two of those admittedly big things are taken care of, the first two.... the not so completed ones... are the ones that are looming large at the moment.

Especially the second one. The first, I'll deal with at dress time. The theme, or overall feel of the wedding is what I'm fretting over at the moment.

Because I just don't know.

I was sketching out some Save the Date ideas yesterday, so I snapped a picture and sent them over to Boy. He showed the necessary approval with my work but rightly pointed out that they're a bit... bland. Yes, they have our colors and they incorporate the things we want/need in an STD but these designs definitely aren't going to knock anyone's socks off.

What now? Search wildly for inspiration, that's what! Here's some of what I found (clicky all for big and source):

Ok, that last one was just for fun :)

The overall feel I'm going for is simple, personal, and fun. I'd love there to be a little bit of unexpected in there too. We could even do some fun playing with our date in Euro format 3+7= 10 and all that jazz. hmm....

So much to ask for one little postcard!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gathering our peeps!

One of the things that's really important to both Boy and I are our friends. We are lucky to share an awesome group of friends gathered through high school, college, and our current lives. So when we were building our wedding party... it was a little bit of a challenge.

While we knew full well that the question is really "who do we include" it felt so much more like "who do we exclude." And that made both of us squidgy and upset. There were a couple of shoe-ins for both of us: brothers and sister, our married friends (now in two sets! Congrats again!!); there were also those single and mostly male awesome friends who are all equally important to us.

Our solution? Gigantor wedding party. That's how we roll.

We played around with how it would work, and finally settled on this arrangement. I like it. It rocks.

Once our peeps were in place, we wanted a way for everyone to bond. Since we have what feels like an uber-long engagement (I just want to do this ish already!), we really felt like we had time to plan lots of events and space things out. While I met with most of my bridesmaids for lunch a few months ago, our bridal party social will be our first big event!

I'm so stoked!

It'll be half college party style with contests and prizes. We are soooo lucky to have awesome bridesmaids, groomsmen, and ninjas (ushers) who are willing to gather and play games with us!

The next day, we'll be heading over to my parents' house (about half an hour from our place) and gathering for a lunch on the patio with key family members like my parents, Boy's parents, and our grandparents. While neither Boy and I are fans of formal engagement parties (for us, I'm sure yours was awesome if you had one!) we still wanted all of our "people" to meet and know each other. There will be food, fun, and lots of meeting.

Which means.... planning. Time to get the boxes together for the games, make up nametags, craft prizes and favors (maybe)....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Picking up

Never fear, loyal readers- more fun times are ahead!

I have some serious crafting in my near future, setting up placecards for my Nana and PopPop's fiftieth anniversary partay. Not to mention a swanky get-together for our bridesmaids, groomsmen, and ninjas to all meet and greet one another.

Ahhhhnnnnd we're going to (finally) get things ironed out with our venue, as our one year mark nears ever closer.

God help us.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So excited

Today I'm beyond stoked for many reasons, but the most important of which is that my good friend and bridesmaid Mon is marrying her sweetheart, my other good friend and usher Josh... this frickin weekend!

I cannot begin to wish them all of the awesomeness that they deserve, so I'll just settle for a "squee!" and leave it at that!

Friday, May 15, 2009

I can't believe I forgot!

For some reason, I have an affinity for the movie Brother Bear. I know. I'm not Canadian, I'm not even really fond of bears, but this movie has a very special place in my heart.

I think it has to do with when I first watched it, at home with a college friend, my mom, and my sister. This simple night marked a really important shift in my relationship with my sister and the way I saw how I fit in with my friends. Whenever I see the movie or hear Phil Collins' music from it, I'm taken right back to that night, that summer, and the choices that I made that ultimately created the person I am today.

So how I could possibly leave out this song? I play it every year on the way down the shore to spend time in the sun with my family and friends, and it sets these roots to music for me. I'm not sure where or how, but I'll find it a home for the wedding.

On My Way - Phil Collins

Sure, it's not a love song. It has little to do with Boy, and lot to do with me. But it's about family and joining everyone together. More than anything, that's what I want our wedding to be about!

What personal mantra songs do you have?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Getting it started

Since we have our "Engagement lunch" coming up and we're in a bit of a lull, now is the perfect time for us to get our wedding website up and running!

We will need all of this to be working by the time the STDs are sent out, and that will be early.

So today, instead of focusing on more important things, Boy and I gchatted back and forth about different wedding website services. While our recently married friends did a great job building their website from scratch (and offered to help) we decided against it in favor of one of the free sites. After some searching, we settled on

The parent site has numerous "wedding planning" features, none of which I've tried out. They all seem helpful though. What we focused on were cost and length of availability. I was surprised to find out today that many of the wedding website hosts limit the amount of time your website is live. While that won't be much of a problem after the wedding, Boy and I have a long engagement. So the 1 year limit that was placed on most sites wasn't going to fly for us. Luckily for us, mywedding is free and unlimited. Yay!

Most of their themes are pretty generic and bland, and there aren't exact matches for our colors, but I'm not stressed about it. We're busy loading the site up with information, but you can see it as a work in progress right here!

Friday, May 8, 2009

One of the most important things

Boy and I met for the first time at a concert, though neither of us remembers it. Our usher, Ry, introduced us at the end of a TSL/Yellowcard show when we were all tired from moshing (or fending off moshers by throwing elbows) all night.

I knew that we had something special when Boy was driving me back to school an told me that I had to hear this "awesome" song. When he put it on, I smiled. It was my favorite song. (awww... gag) Now a piano arrangement of it will play as our processional.

Konstantine - Something Corporate

Not to long ago, this is what I wanted for a processional. Now I think that it'll be used at some point in the ceremony, maybe an instrumental version for the ring warming.

The Luckiest - Ben Folds

You long-time readers know I love this song, and I think the recessional would be the perfect time to use it!

Hallelujah - Paramore

Our first dance song is by a band called Say Anything. We first saw the lead singer playing acoustic and solo while the band was on hiatus. It was awesome. When we first started thinking about first dance song, Boy knew he wanted a waltz. This fit perfectly.

I Want to Know Your Plans - Say Anything

I've featured this song before, it was one of his contenders for our first dance. It's a waltz as well!

Salty Eyes - The Matches

I know it's odd, but as an English teacher, I have a soft spot for Schoolhouse Rock! I have all of them on a dvd, and when I re-listened to this song, I heard lyrics that perfectly describe our wedding party: "We found them, and they found us, and now they are ours. And we're so happy!" At the very least, those words will be my (and now your) geeky little secret as they adorn the part of our programs which will introduce our awesome attendants.

pronouns -

One of my favorite parts of wedding receptions is the campy all-married dance. You know, when the dance floor is crowded by all of the wedded couples and each couple stops dancing and leaves the floor one by one until only the couple who has been married the longest is left dancing. This tears me up every time, so I definitely want it to be a part of our reception.

I was thinking that I would use this great Coldplay track:

(Hidden track: Til Kingdom Come) - Coldplay

But as we watched the Scrubs season (series??) finale this week, I was reminded of how much I love this version of "Book of Love." It might be perfect, and far less obscure.

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

Our love of music is one of the first things that brought Boy and I closer together. What songs did/will you use in your wedding?