Friday, October 31, 2008

"Your Kiss is on my List"

I love Halloween. Throughout college in Boston, my best girls and I were known for our annual Halloween party, a tradition we planned all year long. In New Mexico, I kept the tradition going for graduate school, and forced compliance of the costume rule with the dreaded "prop box" if anyone dared show up in street clothes. A little later, one of my favorite neighborhoods in downtown Albuquerque became the center of Halloween for me. As planners, my gals and I wrote about the role of the holiday to the street's sense of community. It's truly something to be seen, with each yard decorated to the nines and the street packed so full of trick-or-treaters there are lines to walk up to each house.

This year in Dallas, I'm far away from that favorite street of mine, and even farther from my college glory days haunts. But the f-word and I are doing our part to be festive. Since he routinely gets comparisons to a variety of famous people (see exhibits A, B, and C) - whereas I only ever get one - we decided that I might as well throw on a mustache and go all out, as the sidekick to his favorite lookalike. So we're Hall and Oates tonight. "No Can Do," you say? Well you can, I assure you, as long as you're willing to look completely ridiculous while doing it.

Thinking about costumes reminds me of calling my sister when we changed our wedding plans. Before I could get out the details, she said, "You're getting married in costume, aren't you?" HA! But I have to admit, I love the idea. Wearing something outlandish, all the guests wearing masks, lavish decor? I think it's the only way I could go big for a wedding. Casual, seaside nuptials... or an extravagant costume wedding. That sounds about right. :-) I wonder how many folks out there are getting married tomorrow at a traditional, sumptuous fall wedding, but going all-out with costumes tonight for their rehearsal? Anyone, anyone? Because I'm jealous.

This one's for you, T:

You Make My Dreams Come True - Hall & Oates

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Advanced wedding party matching

I've been swooning over yet another Southern Weddings feature (shocker!) all morning. Go and drool over Mattie + David's wedding to see what I mean. I adore so many details - her dress! the pies! the setting! the rosemary! the veil shot! (and I don't even like veils) - WOW. I had to point these photos out, though, because I adore how well the bridal party comes together... just beautifully coordinated:

(click for larger)

The sash on Mattie's dress is the same gorgeous gold as the flowergirl dresses. The navy sash on the flowergirl dresses is the same shade as the great navy dresses the bridesmaids are wearing. (Those bridesmaid dresses, btw, look suspiciously close to the J. Crew variety that our bridesmaids are choosing from - could it be?!) The guys are all wearing crisp, rich navy suits.

I wish they had a shot of the groomsmen walking with the bridesmaids. We've ruled out cotton navy suits for our guys because we thought navy on navy might be too much as they're walking down the aisle, but I'd love to see how it looked here.

Also, if you go over to the wedding photographer's blog, you can see more photos from the wedding weekend. They pulled off exactly what we hope to achieve with ours: a weekend full of fun in which the ceremony and reception only play one part. Casual food, fun, friends, and family for three straight days in a destination setting... that's my kinda wedding.

Okay, okay, I can't resist... get a load of their dessert spread!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Can't think weddings.

I can only think politics! The election's consuming us... only six days away now! Here are some fun things I've seen out and about that make me smile:
  • I received my letterpressed Obama quote in the mail... stunning! From the quality of this piece as well as the gorgeous business card included, I think Twin Ravens Press would be a great option for custom letterpressed wedding invitations. If everything goes our way next week, I think TRP should create another set using a quote from Obama's Inauguration speech. Framed together, they'd be gorgeous!

  • I saw this button via Inspired Goodness and my f-word was beyond amused. Considering that the night we met, I just *might* have bitchily accused him of being the "e" word, what better gift now that we're engaged?! He wears his with pride. :-) Do check out that Inspired Goodness link - I'd love one of nearly everything she posted there.

  • I've ordered these magnets to brighten up our fridge. They're adorable... and they use the tiny super-strong magnets that work on stainless refrigerators, if you're like me and a new fridge means your fab magnet collection no longer adheres.

  • This letterpressed "wrestling match" poster is so great. We have a lot of tongue-in-cheek political art in our place, and it's easy to imagine this piece fitting right in.

  • This mobile is amazing... but I have no use for it! Does anyone else?! It's too amazing not to get scooped up.

  • These Obama barrettes for little girls are adorable!

  • As always, peruse etsy for the most amazing handmade finds. Type "Obama" in the search box and go -- new treasures are being added all the time!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Insecurities: Center of Attention

I have a strange goal for our wedding day: to deflect as much attention away from myself as possible. Here's how I've finagled some spotlight-sharing so far:
  • Being walked down the aisle by both of my parents means one extra person for guests to look at besides me!

  • Having a bagpiper leading the groom and his crew to their positions means I'm not the only one making an "entrance"-- thank goodness

  • My maid of honor will be so extremely pregnant, her water might just break during the ceremony - attention deflection guaranteed!
  • What's the deal here, you ask? It's not really a "shy" thing. I'm not a shy person, and compared to many of my closest friends am actually fairly extroverted. I'm a fantastic dinner party companion, for example, and can make conversation with just about anyone. I actually excel in "spotlight" situations professionally - I routinely lead public meetings and give presentations, and am just fine with it. But for whatever reason, I much prefer being a supporting member in personal situations rather than the star. I hate the idea of being thrown a surprise party, for instance - I'd much rather plan something low-key in a comfortable setting instead. And if shoes walk too "loudly," I will always nix them in the store. Same for overly-jangly bracelets, too much perfume, or talking loudly on a cell phone in a public place. In many ways, I am understated to a fault.

    Scene: Last week at a bar with one of our groomsmen.
    Groomsman: So how excited are you about the wedding?

    Me: We're really pumped! It's going to be a ton of fun.

    Groomsman: I bet you can't wait to have everyone looking at you and being all hot and stuff.

    Me: Actually, I'm kind of dreading that part. I hate the idea of everyone staring at me all day.

    [silence, confused expression]

    Me: Seriously.
    See, a wedding, to me, is not just about "The Bride." My wedding's not, anyway. (Good thing I'm marrying someone who will happily absorb any attention I'm uncomfortable with for himself. ;-) ) But seriously... I envision our wedding as a weekend full of fun activities rather than a big reveal. I'd like folks to remember our vows before they remember my dress, to remember our pre-wedding beach cookout before they remember our reception entrance, and to remember the way we looked at each other before they remember simply how I looked. That feels right to me.

    Are there any other attention-splitters out there?

    Friday, October 24, 2008

    For Tracy, Allie, and Nancy

    Sorry, girls... I can't tell you how much I relate to this article. Why was I not a better wedding guest/bridesmaid? Even if you did all get married within three months of each other, and I was living across the country as a poor graduate student at the time, there are simply no excuses.

    Read while shaking your head at me:

    Confessions of a Bad Wedding Guest

    "Before I got engaged last May, I'd broken every rule of wedding thoughtfulness. It wasn't that I didn't care about the bride and groom or that having good manners wasn't important to me. I consider myself a caring friend: I send thank-you notes promptly, I never show up to a housewarming empty-handed. But somehow, the world of proper wedding behavior had eluded me."

    Is it better or worse that I've seen the error of my ways?

    Wednesday, October 22, 2008

    Inspiration procrastination

    I'm supposed to be at the gym right now, but I can't tear myself away from the blog Oh So Beautiful Paper. I already have two Christmas gift ideas bookmarked, and a dozen more invitation inspiration ideas as well.

    If you love paper, you will *love* this blog. Go swoon!


    Some Obama letterpress inspiration. Isn't this amazing?!

    These fab cards were created by Twin Ravens Press in Oregon, and designer Kristin is giving them away! Simply comment on her post if you'd like one. What a special election souvenir!

    For the love of red shoes!

    Look, look, an engagement photo featuring my fantasy shoes!

    Courtesy of The Bride's Cafe

    These are still my absolute favorites, although we did come across a runner-up a few weeks ago. I always know we've spotted a true red shoe contender when my f-word (yes, we are still using that term, and yes, it still amuses us) stops in his tracks in front of them. So far he's done that twice. :-)

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    Weddings in color!

    It's one of those weeks where I can only think in photos. This wedding is brilliant... so colorful, so full of life, and with the greatest smiles. Featured in The Bride's Cafe and Elizabeth Anne Designs.

    Girls in Brights!

    Dapper groom - this would be a great look for my dad's suit at our wedding.


    A day-after shoot with switched-up accessories... such a great idea!

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    Water flowers

    Spider mums and rose petals in the pool at Ryan's wedding.

    Friday, October 17, 2008

    Morning coffee

    Out on the back patio, with a cup of coffee and my dress swatch. :-)

    I'm off to North Carolina for the weekend... Home Sweet Home!

    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    Biding time

    In the midst of a not-great week - despite some truly great poll numbers and pleasant debate-watching - I am just itching to go home to NC on Friday for a night out with old friends followed by the wedding of a family friend on Saturday. My mom has been helping plan that wedding and oh, the stories... Remind me come May that being gracious, mellow, and generally pleasant are some of my favorite qualities about myself, k?

    Some little things on my mind:
    • "Getting There Fashionably" This fantastic wedding transportation collage is so my kind of thing. You'll remember that I created a tribute to getaways a couple of months ago... clearly working in transit planning is no accident. ;-) Go visit Southern Weddings' collage for the canoes and the rickshaws... love it!
    • Style Me Pretty featured ABCD Papercupp this week. I'm thrilled for our fabulous invitation designer (I'm getting through your questionnaire, Amy, slowly but surely!), but have to admit I'm ready for Pink Week to be over. Can't we support breast cancer awareness with a different color? I'm a bad girl for getting sick of pink, I know.
    • I have my wedding dress swatch and love it! It has me excited all over again, even though I admit to being distracted by some of the new, amazingly beachy gowns I saw while going to pick it up. Eyes straight ahead, no looking at anything white for the next seven months!
    • Lovely Morning's tribute to her parents' '70s wedding is so fun... and reminds me that I have my parents' wedding photos sitting out on our bar because I can't figure out where to put them. Hmmm.... :-)
    • This great NYTimes slideshow - Mortifying Memories of Being a Bridesmaid - had me cracking up the other day. It includes a football game in bridesmaid dresses and a wedding where anyone who showed up in an old bridesmaid dress could be in the wedding party. It occured to me that the real fun would come from women having to wear the bridesmaid dress they assigned to their bridesmaids... sweet payback. (Thank goodness bridesmaid dress choices are about 1,000 times better than they used to be.)

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    Inspiration Wedding: Ranch Rustic

    Finally, the gorgeous ranch wedding I was raving about!

    Enter Satoko and Alex's Napa wedding, featured in the Fall/Winter Martha Stewart Weddings. This wedding makes me swoon for its homegrown sensibility, quirky personalized touches, and whimsical charm.

    First, I'm absolutely enthralled with these invitations. Satoko (a graphic designer) created a heart graphic made of ranch animals that was incorporated throughout the wedding.

    I love the typography and use of graphics, and can you beat invitations printed on cloth with red stiching?! I think not.

    Just look at this display... beautiful!

    Cloth bags with the heart graphic printed on them, plus great tags for names.

    The clothesline approach is perfect for this setting.

    I adore these programs and recipe books (their favors).

    Loving the patterns on each and how complementary they are.

    Finally, I've just gotta give a shout-out to the brilliant use of pattern in the rest of the wedding: stripes and dots (huge fan) incorporated in the bouquet, on the kids, and in the table settings, which connect right back to the brilliant graphics that Satoko created.

    Monday, October 13, 2008

    USPS Rant

    We keep hearing from more and more folks that they never received our Save the Dates, most of which went out a month ago. So frustrating! I know they were just postcards, which maybe can get lost more easily, but still. I can only imagine how $*%&$* I would be if these were the wedding invitations. What in the world?! I've mailed most of them from my office... I wonder if our mailman hates me? Is offended by bare shoulders? If they're just slipping out of his cart? If they're now lining the crevices of the mail slot? If they're hanging out in the portal with everyone's single socks?

    An hour ago, I went to a postal center a block away to mail two packages. Without prompting, the clerk offers this gem: "You know, a good rule of thumb is that if you care about what you're mailing, avoid the US postal service. Ground UPS, then?"

    Killing me!!! I don't like to rank on public servants or agencies, but c'mon!!! Has this happened to anyone else?

    Friday, October 10, 2008

    Happy Friday things

    I love woodcut art, so this laser-cut wedding invitation is right up my alley. Isn't it amazing?

    Via Inspired Goodness.

    When I was searching for ways to incorporate Amy and Darryl's dog Jessy into their inspiration board, I fell in love with this image. It wouldn't work for the board, but it's so good I've gotta post it anyway. I just want to give this dog a big hug.

    Via Elizabeth Anne Designs.

    We're having a bagpiper at our wedding, which thrills Trevor's mom and helps make up for the fact that her son won't be wearing a kilt. :-) We'd been playing around with different ideas of how to incorporate the bagpiper into the ceremony, and loved this idea so much we're blatantly stealing it: the bagpiper leads the guys to the ceremony spot. I always disliked the way so many grooms and groomsmen just kind of meandered up there, anyway. And hey, if people have to look at me getting up there, make them look at him, too! (Can you tell I'm not big on making an entrance?) I think this would look fantastic if they came over the dunes from the beach.

    From Snippet & Ink.

    Thursday, October 9, 2008

    Antiquated Traditions: Old, New, Borrowed, Blue

    It's been way too long since I've done one of these! To remind you, I found this great article covering antiquated wedding traditions and I've been responding to each one.

    In The Bizarre Origins of 8 Wedding Traditions, Jenn Thompson dissects some of our most tried-and-true American wedding traditions.

    Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue (and a Sixpence in My Shoe?)

    This rhyming phrase neatly lists a number of English customs dating back to the Victorian age which, when worn in combination, should bring the bride oodles of fabulous good luck. The something old was meant to tie the bride to her family and her past, while the something new represented her new life as the property of a new family. The item borrowed was supposed to be taken from someone who was already a successfully married wife, so as to pass on a bit of her good fortune to the new bride. The color blue (Virgin Mary-approved!) stood for all sorts of super fun things like faithfulness, loyalty, and purity. The sixpence, of course, was meant to bring the bride and her new groom actual, cold, hard fortune. Just in case that wasn’t enough, brides of yore also carried bunches of herbs (which most brides now replace with expensive, out-of-season peonies) to ward off evil spirits.

    How interesting! Being a pesky feminist and all [:-)], we know how riled up I get about notions of "property." That said, this tradition is harmless and fun, and unlike some other traditions, won't horrify my fabulous single friends.

    I have some fun ideas for old. Since my mom's wedding dress was also lace, we talked about clipping a subtle part of the lace and sewing it into my dress. That way, I'm carrying her dress with me. Something new will be my dress and my shoes. Borrowed is tougher... my sister and my cousin both wore the same vintage family necklace for their weddings, but it's not going to work with the neckline of my dress. My sister does have these fantastic diamond earrings that I think might be perfect (and she does fit the "successfully married" requirement) - so I guess I'll just have to wear her diamonds. As for blue? I was a huge fan of these babies, but I much prefer the idea of wearing red shoes. I love the idea of a custom wedding dress label made with blue thread - something simple, just our initials and date... and maybe bordered in lace from my mom's dress? Oh, and a coin?! Sure, why not... but someone else is in charge of remembering that one.

    Maybe I can skip carrying herbs if I just use Aveda shampoo that day... close enough, right?

    Wednesday, October 8, 2008

    Words of Wisdom from Project Runway

    "There's nothing wrong with your bridesmaids being cute, ladies!"
    - Korto

    For Amy: Summer Clambake Wedding

    This inspiration board for Amy has me so excited that I'm already itching to attend!

    You'll remember that my friend Amy is considering a late-summer outdoor wedding. She and I discussed some ideas for this concept: lakeside New England, laid-back, lots of lobsters and clams, and great punches of Chinese red through lanterns and flowers.

    Here's my take on Amy and Darryl's Summer Clambake Wedding: festive and fun, crustaceans and shellfish galore (yum!), red as the dominant color (lanterns, decor, the Chinese Double Happiness symbol) with punches of yellow and white, and water and greenery as the backdrop to festive fireworks, sparklers, and a bonfire. Don't you want to go now?! Enjoy!

    (As always, click for the bigger version)

    Monday, October 6, 2008

    I'll RSVP 'NO' to that one, thanks

    We spent some time yesterday thinking about our forthcoming Papercupp invitations - specifically, what the text should be. We'll ultimately go with something simple ("together with their families") and maybe throw in a creative line or two, but some of the stuff out there had us dying of laughter yesterday. My favorites:

    "In the spirit of Christian joy..." (Okay, major disclaimer: We are absolutely unreligious, so anything of this nature is a no.) Such as:

    "Love is the most precious flower
    in the Father's garden of life
    Please join us as we,
    begin our new life together
    growing in Christ's love"

    Ugh, gag me over your fairy tale imagery:

    "Just like a page out of a fairy tale
    the storybook romance comes true..."

    "Our wedding will be a fairy tale...
    a dream without end."

    So more casual, then? How about an homage to the VP candidate who can't pronounce her Gs?

    "The woo'in and the courtin's done
    Our life together has begun."

    Okay sure, if you're country western singers or something. But please explain to me what this one means:

    "Time has changed so many things
    one thousand years of the past
    but it never touched the power
    of a true love meant to last"

    ?!?! And hey, we are having a beach wedding...

    "A perfect shell is a gift from the sea
    as beautiful and unique
    as our love is meant to be"

    This one's for Mikaela, poet and desert resident:

    "Out of wind and prairie dust,
    a cactus flower stands:
    a tribute to our love so true
    are elements it will withstand."

    Ha! My ultimate favorite, though, is one that would manage to piss off most anyone who received it:

    "Everyone will be green with envy
    when they see how happy we are together"

    Okay, just one more, because this one truly perplexes me:

    We get along so well
    that we are getting married
    Come join the celebration
    and share in our joy
    on DATE
    at TIME

    I mean why not, right? As long as you get along and all.

    (All text courtesy of VerseIt, which has some great recommendations along with laughable ones.)

    Friday, October 3, 2008

    My about-to-pop Maid of Honor

    I'm so thrilled to share this fantastic news...

    My sister Lisa is pregnant!!!

    She and her husband Will have been itching to become parents, so this is really thrilling news. Here's the kicker: Her due date is just SIX DAYS after our wedding. Talk about high drama!

    We have a very more-the-merrier/roll-with-it kind of family, so we're going to cross our fingers and send out some major "be late" vibes to the growing one, and assume it'll all work out perfectly. But every now and then I imagine Lisa's water breaking during the climactic moment of our ceremony... talk about making our wedding one that no one will ever forget! Good thing a doctor has already been invited just in case... ;-)

    And remember this bridesmaid dress that Lisa modeled for us? LOTS of room in that big, full skirt... and plenty of time to exchange it for a larger size if need be. :-)

    Things just keep getting more and more fun!

    Thursday, October 2, 2008

    For Amy: Chinese Winter Wedding

    So my girl Amy is engaged! I am so thrilled for Amy and Darryl, and their story makes me so happy. Now living in New York, Amy and Darryl originally met during our first year of college in Boston, and reconnected years later. One of the things that's so fun about this engagement is that in our close group of four college girls, Tracy and Nancy got married within months of each other two years ago. It was such a fun time because we were able to see each other so much that year - a true treat. Now this year, it's our turn to host the girl group!

    On to the wedding: Amy is considering either a winter wedding or a late summer wedding. If she goes with a winter wedding, she wouldn't want to wait until 2010, so it'd be this winter. I think this is doable in part because winter is the slowest season for weddings, so their choice of venues and vendors might still be fairly wide. Plus, I find the idea simply irresistible.

    So before Amy rules out the winter wedding idea (it would involve immediate action, much more Darryl's strong suit than Amy's), I thought I'd craft an inspiration board around the possibility. Darryl's family is from China, and red is a dominant color in Chinese weddings, signifying good luck. Amy mentioned to me how elegant deep reds, silver, and gold might look in a winter setting, and I couldn't agree more. I took her idea and ran with it!

    Chinese Winter Wedding
    Black-tie elegance in a gilded hotel ballroom on a cold winter night... classic New York with a Chinese twist

    (click to see it full size)

    Another gorgeous hairpiece

    Wow! Made here.

    Wednesday, October 1, 2008

    Totally, completely head over heels...

    ...with the ranch wedding in the new Martha Stewart Weddings.

    It's not online yet, but when it is, I will post in detail.

    Personalized paper! Homespun everything! Whimsical details!



    Bonus tidbit:

    Five minutes ago, finishing salads from the French cafe that we frequent for takeout an awful lot, watching C-SPAN and baseball in turn.

    T: "Isn't is great to have an awesome takeout dinner, and I don't even have to pretend I made it?"

    And that, folks, is the beauty of the real relationship. Ha!

    Around the web today

    So much goodness online today!
    • The Wedding That Wasn't. In the first stage of wedding planning (actually before we were even engaged), Trevor and I envisioned a house party wedding on the Outer Banks that would be ultra-casual and mellow. We ended up changing course mainly because of the size of our wedding, but the plans were fun while they lasted. This wedding on the beach in Hatteras beautifully sums up what the wedding that wasn't might have been.
    • More Blue + Red! Via With This Ring, I found a fantastic blue and red seaside inspiration board courtesy of Coco+Kelly. Check it out!

    • Sweater Love. I'm a sucker for a great, yummy sweater. These sweatered bridesmaids make me feel so cozy and happy!
    • Blog Love. Amy from ABCD and I have been in touch frequently regarding our logo/invitation design, so besides being a huge fan of her in general, I am just loving her blog! She posts great stuff for any fan of design, art, food, furniture, and of course weddings! Somehow this connection was meant to be. :-)


    I was tagged by Heather from the Bar. So here goes...

    4 things I did todayyesterday (haven't even finished coffee yet today!)
    1. Got superexcitingfantastic pregnancy news from someone special! (still a secret)
    2. Had my mom inform me that she will require a grandchild every two years, just so I know...
    3. Got superexcitingfantastic engagement news from one of my best friends!
    4. Started mentally planning said best friend's wedding for her, including an inspiration board which you know I will post

    4 things on my To Do List
    1. Figure out our travel plans for Election Day (we're thinking of volunteering in Virginia and staying in DC that night)
    2. Figure out our travel plans for the holidays, including our idea of a NYC engagement party/excuse to meet Mrs. Papercupp in person!
    3. Mail in my passport replacement paperwork so we can visit Avery and Alex in Austria after the New Year
    4. Finally get over this yucky cold so I can get myself back into the gym (ten days off... grrrr.....)

    4 of my guiltiest pleasures
    1. Lately, wedding blogs
    2. Fantastic shoes
    3. Truffled Pecorino cheese at the French cafe downstairs from us
    4. Le Creuset

    4 random facts about me
    1. I have a freckle inside the iris of my right eyeball
    2. I love older-model, beautiful/ugly Saabs
    3. I'm trying to figure out how to shift my career back into writing/advocacy/policy
    4. I'm named after both of my grandmothers