Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I lit my candle this morning...

...for Mikaela.

We're all waiting for you, baby Umea!

Hair trial!

While I'm away from the office today bringing transit and walkability to the highways and strip malls of North Texas, I offer up photos of my hair trial during our mid-month planning trip to the Outer Banks.

As you can see, it's just as beachy-curly as I'd envisioned. Imagine a funky flower/feather creation in the back too... Smitten XOXO is hard at work as I type creating fab pieces for me and the girls. The stylist didn't add volume and curl to the top of my hair during the trial, but will do so for the wedding. This loose curly do took her all of 8 minutes, by the way, and she assures me I'll be deceptively carefree-looking (read: windproof) on the big day.

Random... see that spot of really wispy curly hair on the left side of my neck in the top photo? Does anyone else have those... and what do I do with it? If I kind of slick it into the rest of the normal hair will that look weird? But it looks weird as is, right?

Also (to change the subject in case that was awkward)... I've heard a few reports that our invitations have made it to mailboxes, so after one more day for the stragglers to make their way, I'll post them in full!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Other people's craftiness

While I was living it up in Austin this weekend, my family in North Carolina was hard at work crafting for the wedding. Unfair, right? We've unofficially decided that for now I should take care of things that only I can do (graphic design/printing of program interiors, escort cards, signage, and more, writing ceremony, figuring out music, etc.) while they work as a team on some the craftiest elements.

Take a look at the product of their first group DIY session: fabric pomanders for the ceremony decor! Adorable, aren't they?

Bubbling over for Kate

I am thrilled to report that Kate's wedding this weekend was every bit as beautiful as expected. Kate not only glided down stone steps in heels with ease, she also overcame a pesky veil-snagging moment with a victorious fist pump that only someone with a personality as big as hers could've pulled off. And she looked fabulous, of course. Perfect, all of it.

Because I was too busy drinking champagnecelebrating to take photos, I'm going to pause here to brag about someone's hubby that we'll call Mr. Mojito, who not only took the requisite group photos, but even took tablescape/scenery/decor photos. Color me impressed, as my beloved F-Word is a bit less dedicated to photographic documentation.

Kate and I have exchanged dozens of e-mails over the past few months that start with the phrase "only you would care about this..." and then launch into an extremely detailed discussion of chair ties or escort cards or menus. So in that spirit, and in the hope that she still cares about such detailed matters upon her honeymoon return (for two more months, anyway!), I offer Kate's wedding decor photos, courtesy of Mr. Mojito.

I'm saluting you, Newlywed Kate!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Not My Dress: Angel Sanchez

I adore Angel Sanchez gowns. His creations are architectural and modern and feminine all at once, and they seriously know how to show off some curves. Mr. Sanchez seems like the kind of designer who not only knows how to make a woman feel beautiful, but really wants to. A minor example of that? His dresses are true to size, so your wedding gown size is your street clothes size (mine, for example? two sizes higher). Wouldn't you think female designers would have jumped on that bandwagon first? Just a small way of making you feel great when you slip on one of his creations - we have enough to worry about outside of sizing. But I digress...

The reason I'm featuring Angel Sanchez today, of all days? Today is my friend Kate's wedding in Austin, and I'll get to see an Angel Sanchez dress in person, on her gorgeous self, as she walks down the aisle. (Yes, that Kate... the one who came to my rescue the other day, without my ever asking, because I have issues asking others for help.) So today's Not My Dress is, in fact, Kate's wedding dress. And it could only be hers. Her bridal portraits are so stunning that it's really not fair to have to post these model shots; there is simply no comparison to the real thing on a real woman. I can't wait until Kate returns from her honeymoon and can show off her bridal portraits on her own blog. Your jaw will drop, I promise you.

So to the gorgeous, hilarious Kate - a newfound friend that I'm so thrilled to have found in this crazy world of blogging - I wish you and Evan an amazing wedding day. I'm so thrilled to celebrate with you tonight!

May I present... Kate's dress:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Nicole Miller Bridal PSA

Recently engaged gals, start your engines... Nicole Miller Bridal on Rue La La this Monday! Personally, I've never been able to successfully complete a purchase on Rue La La before the item I'm trying to buy is yanked by someone else, but good luck! The strapless mermaid gown with the black band shown in the preview is ridiculous. I can only imagine the savings...

F-Word Friday: Medic!

Not gonna lie to you...this hasn't been my most focused week. I can trace it back to last Saturday, when I played in a friendly 3-on-3 basketball tournament a friend of mine organized for charity. A few hours of hoops on a beautiful Saturday seemed pretty harmless. 24 hours later, and I could barely move. Naturally, it's an old back injury that I picked up in college while rescuing orphans from burning buildings. It happens once every nine months or so. (The flaring up, not the orphan-saving. That's much less predictable). Suddenly, anyone who saw Maggie and I walking from a distance would have thought I was her grandfather. Not cool.

So normally this means 36-hour discomfort, but apparently I'm over 30 now, and that means I take at least another two days to get back to normal. Which is even less cool. That's the bad news. The good news is that I have fun muscle relaxers, and it turns out Maggie has fantastic massage oils that I didn't know about but am so pleased with that I may throw my back out on purpose every few months from now on.

Anyway, between that and college hoops, plus the biggest hockey game in the 104-year history of my college hockey program (tonight against Groovy UVM, 6:30pm est, 5:30 cst, ESPNU), not to mention this whole T.I. jail sentence thing wreaking havoc on Region III of my Big Dance bracket (seriously, like that little nugget of info shouldn't have found its way into the hands of my scouting team?!)...well, it's been a nerve-wracking few days.

Thankfully, Maggie was a star yesterday when it came to invitation assembly, and I managed to keep my envelope-stuffing campaign flashbacks to a minimum. So that's a big check mark we can slap on the to-do list. And tomorrow we're off to a wedding, the last one we'll attend until our own. Given that we're just about two months away ourselves, I could see the two of us going tomorrow and being totally fixated on every little detail and comparing it to the lengths we're going to and the corners we're cutting. Thankfully though, this won't be the case, because the bride-to-be and my bride-to-be are wedding planning friends, and I have no doubt that tomorrow will be nothing short of spectacular, and everything the bride and groom hoped for. So I think we'll leave obsessing over details to other people and stick with the cyclobenzaprine and massage oils, cuz I'm getting my dance on...

And.... they're off!

Twas a long, long night, folks. But oh, the gratification! I can't yet post my fun detailed photos showing the 5,000 steps that went into assembling every invitation (I worked on these for over 12 hours... really), but here's what I can show you, for now.

When the invitations arrived at my office around 10 a.m., I immediately set to work lining all the envelopes (thank goodness for a slow workweek, or I never would've finished these yesterday). There were so many steps, which I'll explain soon, in the internal packaging. Here the box is looking very, very empty... But oh, the work to get even to this point!

When the F-Word's work event ended around 9:30, he joined me at my little office assembly line. He asked me for ibuprofen, so I threw him my trusty bottle from my desk drawer. Turns out I've had this bottle for quite some time. Oops.

The majorly expired ibuprofen was too much. We've clearly hit that point in the evening. Bring on the beer!

This is what the finished products look like, folks! We got to this point around 11:15... whew! But wait, all the custom stamps were being delivered to the homefront...

Back home, so tired, cats pissed at us, but look how pretty the real stamp is on the real envelope!

We got all the stamps on (aaaah! so pretty!) by midnight and ready to go on their journey.

This morning, after hanging out with the friendliest postal worker I've ever met (who oohed and aahed over just the right things and even found a lovely red international stamp to go on our overseas invitations in lieu of the big paper label), our pretty red bundles are being hand-canceled with TLC and sent on their way. I can hardly believe it!

Back still sore today, fingers still raw, but so worth it! Go, invitations, go!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Our envelope liners

Our ABCD invitations arrived and they are FABULOUS! I am absolutely swooning here in my office! Here's the final sneak peek that's allowed until these lovelies go off to our guests... our envelope liner! (by the way... how many exclamation points can I use today?!)

Recall that I mentioned we have three design components throughout the suite: dots, swirls, and folk art flowers. You see the dots and swirls in our envelope labels. The first glimpse of the folk art flowers is also the first glimpse of the letterpress fabulousness going on inside the envelope... take a look!

Love, love, LOVE!

Now please excuse me... I have some double-sided taping to do!

Labels on and ready!

I stayed up late last night playing with our invitation envelopes and labels... so exciting! Today our custom postage should arrive in the mail, and guess what else is being shipped straight to my office?


I'm alone in the office today, so I'm totally going to throw a little assembly line conference table party for myself later on.


The firecracker red envelopes are waiting.....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Letterman's Top 10 Reasons for Getting Married

I love Dave, and this cracks me up. You probably heard that Dave married his partner of 23 years over the weekend. Wondering why?

David Letterman: Top 10 Reasons I Got Married

10. Poconos offers newlyweds free room with champagne-glass Jacuzzi.
9. If I'm gonna catch Larry King, I'd better get going.
8. Still drunk from St. Patty's, dude!
7. She needed a green card.
6. When you're my age and look like I do, if someone says they'll marry you, you do it.
5. Don't have to listen to any more crap from that quack Dr. Phil.
4. I finally fit into my dream dress!
3. Free cake
2. Got tired of waiting for Paris Hilton.
1. Figured at the least we'd get a mediocre Top Ten out of it.

Blog crush: The Flashdance

Thanks to linkage from East Side Bride, I've been digging into The Flashdance with glee. Part event planning with alt-sensibility (interviews with cool Los Angeles planners), part kick-ass DJ (Michael Antonia), and part ridiculous photographers (Our Labor of Love and Max Wanger), this blog makes me happy... without that guilty/cheesy/bemused feeling I sometimes get reading other wedding-related stuff, as much as it's been my unabashed guilty pleasure for the last several months. I mean helloooo, a new music mix every month?! That's my kinda wedding chatter.

It's funny... sometimes I wonder about this wedding the F-Word and I are planning and how it looks on paper... er, screen. What would our wedding be if we had more time to plan it, or we did it somewhere a little less remote where it might be easier to pull off any idea we came up with, etc.... I love how we're putting this thing together, don't get me wrong, but it strikes me as interesting from time to time how many elements we're incorporating that are fairly straightforward and mainstream. That makes me giggle a little bit, because inside, we're Flashdance through and through.

When I start writing about programs and favors soon, I'll circle back to this theme, and the fact that we feel extraordinarily humbled to be able to marry despite all those who cannot. I think it's clear we don't take ourselves very seriously, but that lightness doesn't come without a very real consideration of equity and basic fairness. I mean, really, we're allowed to marry each other? The two of us? Insanity.

So in the spirit of spreading celebration, here's what I'm talking about: The Flashdance takes us from inspirational same-sex ceremonies to funny "what not to do" tips to really awesome playlists. Lots of awesome playlists, actually. Let's end with Cocktail Music: Tried and True v. A Little Less Obvious, why don't we? Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Two month countdown

We're now at the point in the process where I'm going to put our "To Do" list ahead of our "Done" list so that I don't have to scroll down as far to access the important stuff... woo hoo!

To Do:
  • Assemble invitations
  • Mail invitations
  • Finalize reception menu
  • Rent/borrow tables for Welcome Cookout
  • Write ceremony
  • Ceremony music
  • DJ guidelines/play/do not play
  • Pick up rings
  • Finalize unofficial weekend activities - kayaking, golf, fishing, bike rental info
  • Decide between gingham and polka dot pocket squares
  • Groomsmen socks
  • Design/write program interior
  • Assemble programs
  • Stock Welcome Bags - product, munchies, maps, etc. - plus actual bags
  • Make tissue pomanders and fabric-covered styrofoam balls
  • Cover tin cans with decorative papers
  • Make Hooray sticks
  • Make escort cards
  • Order campaign buttons
  • Dry clean groom suit
  • Flower girl accessories
  • Girls' hairpieces
  • Girls weekend
  • Find Welcome Cookout dress

---------------new additions---------------
  • Invitation printing
  • Welcome Cookout catering
  • Welcome Cookout assigned tasks
  • Agreed-upon vision with floral/event designer
  • Flower selections
  • Proposed Menu to Venue
  • Dessert decision
  • Hair/Makeup Trial
  • Began dress alterations
  • Ordered Welcome Bag product containers
  • Ordered custom postage
  • Groomsmen belts
  • Bridesmaid gifts
  • Groomsmen gifts
  • Campaign stickers

"Two months" image courtesy of Wordle.

Our mailing labels

Alright, alright, I admit it... I'm getting impatient and want to reveal our Bespoke Stationery suite! I figured since you've already seen the postage, I might as well go ahead and reveal the mailing labels, too, right? But no inside peeks until our invitations are in the mail!

Our invitation suite is just as mix-and-match as I'd hoped it'd be, utilizing red, cornflower blue, navy blue, and white with a variety of patterns: dots, swirls (that happen to look quite a bit like waves at a certain scale), and folk art flowers. Each of the patterns is woven in equal measure throughout the suite. Stay tuned for more!

Our guests' first view when they open their mailbox? A "firecracker red" envelope with a blue and white mailing label. Here's what ABCD herself has to say about it:
"We “elected” *winkwink* to do computer calligraphy on wrap around sticker-backed mailing labels. The design straddles the edge of the envelope. The return address on the back and the delivery address is on the front with the postage stamp. This is a fabulous way to utilize dark colored mailing envelopes. Not only that, it adds another layer of interest to the entire suite. At first glimpse, it says “F-U-N!” "
See for yourself! (click for larger view... and that's not our real address, btw... Amy's good like that)

Let's see what the front of the envelope looks like with our postage, why don't we?

Ahhhh!!!! I want them in my hands NOW!

Our custom postage

Loving this! Right now I'm zeroing in on the photo of us and pretending that I'm walking hand in hand along a beach instead of in my office. Sigh...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Local self esteem boosters unite!

Okay, so the dress fitting just got postponed for thirty minutes, which is maybe kinda sorta fate (if I believed in that... to be continued...) saying I needed the extra time at my office for the following two things to occur:
  • I got the nicest note ever from Jaydee at An Accidental Texan about my dress fitting post. Then, she followed up with a post of her own. Can emotionally healthy women in this state who are not size zero and don't want to be size zero please raise your hands?! Love it! Jaydee, you have a new reader. (And many, I hope... go read Jaydee!)

  • I got an e-mail from Kate reminding me that since she can see the store I'm going to from her office, she could meet me for my fitting and be ready to "backhand Frenchie if she speaks one negative syllable!" To which I tried to protest that since she's getting married on Saturday she probably shouldn't leave work because she has so much to do and (wait - seriously? why would I not want a fellow sane person with me in the salon of snobbiness?!)... Anyway, cut to me coming to my senses and Kate replying that she will be there "with Bitch Bells on!" And she is my hero.
To be continued....

UPDATE: Victory! Everyone was on their best behavior, probably because Amazon Goddess Kate was sending subconscious threats from up above. I even managed to schedule the next fitting for when Heather the Bridesmaid is in town... woo hoo! And now I'm laid back watching Disc 3: Gowns from the 4-DVD Martha Stewart Weddings collection while the F-Word is passed out from his medicated back condition next to me. Fun for all!

Our campaign logo!

I can't wait any longer. This is one of my favorite pieces that ABCD created for us, and our wedding guests will see it in their invitations and throughout the ceremony and reception.

Feast your eyes on our official "campaign logo" -- Adams-Hanger '09!

Speaking of invitations, they're due to be shipped out to us tomorrow, so with any luck we can turn them around and get them out in the mail within a week. And then, FINALLY!, I'll be able to show them off online.

Ego and the Evil Empire: Final Chapter

As I have written about before, I did not have a happy wedding dress-shopping experience. At this very moment, my dress is in my car in the basement parking garage of my office, where there is routine flooding and leaking, and it's raining today. You might think that would be make me feel jumpy, but it's actually nothing compared to the uneasiness I have about going in for my first dress fitting this afternoon.

First things first: the dress fits beautifully. All that needs to be done is hemming in two places and perhaps creating a tiny bustle. I'm not worried about the mechanics of it. I'm not even very worried about the cost of said alterations anymore, although at one point I was so pissed about the continued rip-off-ness that is anything with the word "wedding" attached to it, I considered going elsewhere. A few smart warnings and the enticement of the store shipping the finished dress to NC for me, thus preventing the need to travel with it, changed my mind. So no, the price isn't even what has me so jumpy today.

The problem goes back to where we started with this whole shopping experience: this town, this and other stores, and the people I'll be hanging out with in my underwear later today (save for one, but I fear the fact that since she lost her job and is coming back only for our appointment, her mood won't be top-notch). The entire experience has from the beginning made me feel crappy about myself, and I'm dreading my return trip. (Unfortunately, my sidekick is otherwise engaged being six and a half months pregnant right now, so unavailable for "biatch alert.") I'm not sure if my terrible dress-shopping experiences say more about Dallas (a vanity-obsessed skinnytown), or my bad luck running into awful people, or my bad choices about where I went shopping in the first place, but my normal, confident self knows all of these things for a fact:
  • I am not "too broad" to wear wedding dresses, as I've been told by the people trying to sell me wedding dresses
  • I do not have "very large" hips (imagine that said in a condescending Parisian accent, FYI), but even if I did, screw them!
  • I actually look great in the dress that I chose, and when I try it on in my own environment, I feel fantastic in it
  • Women of all shapes and sizes deserve to have a dress-shopping experience that makes them feel great about themselves
  • Places that make potential customers feel bad about themselves do not deserve their money
  • I am smarter than to put up with so much attitude
And yet...

Here I am, sitting in my office surrounded by items of professional accomplishment and tokens that are important to me: photos of loved ones, snippets of my published past, my "I Like the Smell of Newsprint in the Morning" coffee mug, some outrageously fun new "campaign stickers" for the wedding, and my general air of confident, optimistic calm. But all I can think about is how I'm going to strategize undressing and putting on the gown alone in order to prevent a snarky size comment from the seamstress again, or how I should've worked out yesterday, or how maybe I should rethink my nixing of Spanx, and blahblahblah. Frankly, it's embarrassing. I am smarter and more confident than this. Two months out from our wedding, I don't want to put up with second-guessing and passive-agressive comments that subtly recommend a brief eating disorder as I aerobicize my way to May 24.

Really, can't they be just a little bit nicer and give me a break? Just this once?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

All in a day's work

See what happens on an innocent Sephora outing? Dangerous. But all this, and those who know me will be proud: not a single pot of shimmery highlighter or lip gloss - my big weaknesses. Still. Damage.

I'm outing my hopeless consumerism for a good cause, though: to announce that I have my red! It's Nars (big surprise after seeing that photo, right?) "Cruella." HA!

I was a little shocked with the color at first - as I always am with matte red - but I took it as a good sign that while I was in the chair with Mr. FancyPants Makeup Artist Straight from the Marc Jacobs Show, three customers asked what red it was and bought it. Even I have to admit that's a sign to get over my fear and go red.

What do you think? (No makeup here but lips, folks - I'll be much more pulled together on the big day, never fear. Not to mention, um, tanner. Holy whiteness!)

Friday, March 20, 2009

F-Word Fridays: The Big Dance

As promised, this week we’re tackling one of the big questions of any wedding: the first dance. And yes, we’re doing this on the week when March Madness, that other big dance, kicks off. Maggie and I have been discussing the song choice off and on for awhile, and one might say there’s a lack of consensus thus far. So in an effort to pay homage to one of great sports weekends of any year, we’re going after this with an old fashioned, eight team bracket, complete with four regions featuring one of Maggie’s choices for first song against one of mine. For the record, each one of Maggie’s songs has appeared on a mix she’s given me, so you know I’m not making any of this up.

Region I (or as I like to call it: The Night We Met Region):

Maggie: Alright Tonight – James Blunt
Sample Lyric:
Do you want this one-night stand?
Let’s take a risk and go play in the sand.

Sooooo….I think Maggie has mentioned this before, but the night we met, she was, um, difficult. Occasionally impolite. Sometimes flirtatious, often scathing. But I managed to steal a makeout at the end of the night, much to my surprise. One glance at this selection though, and I think we know why I got a little. Turns out she was looking for something more?! It didn’t go any further that first night though, because…

Trevor: We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off – Jermaine Stewart
Not a word, from your lips.
You just took for granted that I’d want to skinny dip.
A quick hit, that’s your game.
But I’m not a piece of meat, stimulate my brain.

…baby needs to be romanced, pure and simple. Also, did you watch the video? Watch the video. It's four minutes and 15 seconds of pure Awesome.

Region II (or as I like to call it: The Forgetting Sarah Marshall Region)

Maggie: Dracula’s Lament – Jason Segal
Sample Lyric:
And if I see Van Helsing I swear to the Lord I will slay Him.
He would take you from me, but I swear I won’t let it be so.

Blood will run down his face when he is decapitated;
His head on my mantle is how I will let this world know….how much I love you

You might not have guessed, because it’s a pretty wholesome blog, but Maggie’s got kind of a freaky side, knowwhati’msayin? Imagine that sung as a dramatic broadway ballad in a faux-Transylvanian accent. Total crowd-pleaser.

Trevor: Inside of You – Infant Sorrow
Sample Lyric:
And the world explodes
I’ve never been down this road
Teach me how to grow when I’m moving Inside of You

I’m sorry, what was your question? Define “romance” in 20 words or less? Um, pretty sure I just took care of that, thanks. I mean, I know this is a wedding blog, and so there is basically no male readership (hi Zack!), but seriously dudes, if you googled “March Madness” and wound up here by accident, you just hit the jackpot. Pick up some Whole Foods takeout for two with tiramisu for dessert, go home and light some candles, throw on this song, incorporate some Russell Brand pelvic thrusting for added seduction, and when she finally lets you up for air Sunday afternoon, take 60 seconds to come back here and say thank you in the comments section.

Region III (or as I like to call it: The Stuff You Didn’t Listen To Before We Met Region)

Maggie: There is a Light That never Goes Out – The Smiths
Sample Lyric:
And if a ten-ton truck
Kills the both of us
To die by your side, well the pleasure, the privilege is mine

And while we’re doling out advice to demographics that will never see it here, here’s something for all you early teenage boys out there. You know that girl in your homeroom who’s definitely hot and super smart but kind of dresses down because she thinks dressing for boys is pathetic and reads a beaten-up paperback at lunch that's not on any syllabus by an author you’ve never heard of and you really want to know more about her but you’re totally intimidated? Here’s a glimpse into what happens when she goes home from school: She’s in her room pretty much the whole night. Periodically she yells out things like “MOM, is it really so difficult to knock first???” At any given moment, there’s a 70% chance she’s listening to side B of The Queen is Dead. And at some point in the night, either when talking on the phone to her best friend or writing in her journal, she will lament that the only two boys who “really get” her are: the guy she made out with for three days at the beach last summer who lives four states away and when it's really dark looks kinda sorta like Jordan Catalano; and Morrissey.

Trevor: Whatever You Like - T.I.
Sample Lyric:
Stacks on deck, Patron on Ice
We can pop bottles all night
Baby you can have whatever you like

It’s a little known fact that hip hop is huge in prep schools. It’s true. My high school alone had The Chronic halfway to platinum by the Spring of 1993. I think it’s because when people who can’t sing try to, they know they sound awful, but when people who can’t rap try to, they think they sound good because everyone knows that rappers might as well be tone deaf too. Plus, it’s so much more fun to know all the words to "Nuthin’ but a G Thang" than it is to know the words to "Ants Marching." But really, the perfect storm is when hip hop artists who can’t sing try to…then you’ve given people who can’t sing an excuse to go all out because the artist can’t sing either. Win-win. Maggie, for example, has never been much for the genre, but I sing the chorus of this song to her at least once a day, and she can’t get enough. Thanks T.I.!

Region IV (or as I like to call it: The Old Standbys Region)

Maggie: The Promise - When in Rome
Sample Lyric:
I'm sorry but I'm just thinking of the right words to say
I know they don't sound the way I planned them to be
But if you wait around awhile I'll make you fall for me
I promise, I promise you I will

Sweet, sensitive, and totally catchy. An absolute classic. Used flawlessly in Napoleon Dynamite, which works well here because of the huge sleeves on Maggie's wedding dress, and because I hired Deb to shoot the wedding so we could cut down on expenses.

Trevor: Laid - James
Sample Lyric:
Dressed me up in womens clothes
Messed around with gender roles
Dye my eyes and call me pretty

Maybe one of the best 10 pop songs of all time. And it's really a perfect wedding song, when you think about it...it shows you're prepared for the highs and lows, that you understand the importance of keeping the heat in the bedroom, and that there's nothing wrong with therapy and/or boys wearing mascara. Plus, the song's called Laid for god sakes. Isn't that why people get married in the first place?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vote for our Trivia Napkins!

We've been playing around with the idea of having trivia printed on napkins for our cocktail hour. Fun, interactive, self-indulgent... you get the idea. My girl Kate sent me an e-mail with a discount code at For Your Party for tomorrow only, so it's decision time! Here are our napkin ideas thus far. Colors can change, obviously, but tell me... what are your favorites? We're probably going to order four designs, so vote for more than one napkin!

Vote away, and vote more than once!

Budget on the brain

This is super-interesting to me, reposted from Sparkliatti. It's a table showing the breakdown of US wedding expenditures in 2006 (last available data?). It also includes the costs for guests, such as registry, air travel, etc.

Kind of interesting, no?

Visit Sasha Souza for more details on each category.

Our ceremony decor - finalized!

I'm thrilled to say that we officially have a plan for our ceremony decor, and even more thrilled that it involves pomanders!

First, a look at our ceremony site: the deck off the Main Inn that leads out to the beach. Here it is dressed up for another wedding:

Notice the wooden structure that serves as the "altar."

Since the beginning of this planning process, I've just loved pomanders. They're whimsical, fun, and they don't take themselves too seriously - exactly like the two of us. With that said, here's our official inspiration (courtesy of EAD) that kicked off our floral/event design meeting on Monday.

I can't wait to see this come to fruition. Using various flowers and materials (we're making tissue pomanders ourselves to supplement the flowers), colors (red, shades of blue, and punches of white), and sizes (small to huge), we'll create an eclectic, festive "altar" that I think will set the tone perfectly.

Leading us to the altar? A patterned aisle runner using one of the fabrics we rejected for our reception tables. All the reasons this fabric wouldn't work for the tables actually makes it a prime candidate for the runner, and we already own the fabric!

An inspiration image of another wedding at our venue, also styled by our floral guru Renee. Notice the same wooden altar, begging for pomanders! (Kidding, this wedding was really beautiful - black, white, and pink!) Next to the photo, you'll recognize the fabric we have on hand, ready to be transformed into a graphic runner that will lead the eye straight to the pomander party going on ahead.

Could this plan possibly be more exciting? Oh yes! It can!

Renee is making a few huge pomanders that are going to be casually scattered up and down the aisle near the chairs - very random, no order. And we're making "wish sticks" with ribbons attached for folks to wave during our huge group photo and again as we leave the reception later that evening. They're going to be displayed on the chairs as everyone arrives, styled with the ribbons resting over the backs of the chairs. This colorful display will provide the look of the chair ties I wanted, but didn't want to pay for.

Is the scene set or what? Guess it's time to hunker down and start writing the ceremony...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Party faces

Thanks to my friend Sara, we had a wonderful engagement party over the weekend in Raleigh. Here's an early picture where Trevor looks a bit disinterested in the genuinely cool recycled material cutting board that we received. (He is actually very interested, he assures me.)

Enter shots in the kitchen, falling over with laughter, hypotheses over who will or will not be wearing underwear at the wedding (no comment), and some general raucousness, and the happy couple starts looking a little bit like this:

Hot, right?

Kudos to the loveliness and general rowdiness of my friends, who really are the ones who'll make this wedding something to remember. Leave it to the two of us and we'll just get sloppy and lean into each other all night. But leave it to our posses, and that's a party.

Can't. Wait.

Decisions, decisions!

I'm back from a fantastic weekend home (two parties in one day!) followed by a two-day wedding planning trip where we ironed out lots of details, answered lots of questions, and created lots of To Dos for ourselves - through howling wind, icy rain, and gray skies, no less. The quick recap...

The makeup trial went fairly well, although I was definitely scared of the first red lipstick she tried. It was way too much for me. I have to find the perfect red between now and then. In other words, makeup artists, beware: I'm about to start harassing you.

The hair trial was great, and lasted approximately seven minutes before she was done! Throw a flower in, add a few more curls, and I'm ready to roll...

I think it can be summed up this way: Pro: Having a floral/event designer who understands your vision perfectly. Con: Paying for said vision. It's going to look great, and we're going to reduce costs by creatively recycling some flowers from the ceremony for the reception and DIY-ing most of the containers, but still... The bright side here is that she will also handle all tent decor (including the ceilings), which we'd budgeted for on a different line item, so in all it should be fine, even though it gives me a mild heart attack right now. Stay tuned for much more on our flowers and decor decisions...

Food + Drink
We're going to propose a menu rather than going with one of their standards, both to cut costs and to have more of what really makes us happy and less of what isn't a priority for us. Hopefully we can nail down the menu by week's end that will make us (and our budget) smile. We're still trying to find the sweet spot between full bar, wine/beer/champagne, signature cocktails, etc. But the dessert! Such a victory! We are officially doing individual strawberry shortcakes that are so great-looking (my bad for not photographing them, seriously) and so delicious that I want to squeal with delight just thinking about them. Major home run.

I think my favorite part of the trip was our official barbecue tasting, where we settled on the caterer for the Welcome Cookout. The details for the food at our big kickoff event (which I'm more excited about than the reception, to be honest) are coming together really nicely.

I now have no doubt that the biggest money-making venture around is to rent event tents. The cost of a simple tent is outrageous. Want a liner for said tent? Doubly outrageous. While we're profiting from tent rentals, let's go ahead and add in nice-looking chairs, chargers, the works... because they are all so prohibitively priced we could make a fortune. Even if I had an unlimited budget to dress our reception the way I really wanted to, I'm increasingly thinking I'd opt out solely to protest the sheer rip-offness of these items, seriously.

And... Scene
So that was the wedding planning trip. Lots and lots of little to-dos got checked off the list: stealing official visitor guides for the welcome bags, drawing the walking map to all events, collecting info for our sponsored activities, and so much more. Huge thanks to my mom and sister for making the trip with me, and my aunt and awesome teenage cousins for thoroughly entertaining us at dinner. For a full sense of the trip, imagine us rushing around doing all of this nonstop, my increasingly pregnant sister getting increasingly hungry, requisite shopping stops at my favorites stores because we all know how much I need another cardigan, and my mom making us sleep with the ocean-facing door open to the frigid night air so that we could listen to the surf. And no complaints or getting sick of me, not even once!

With my sister (in her adorable red maternity coat) during a rare respite from the rain, standing on the beach deck and overlooking the lawn where we'll have our Welcome Cookout

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Detail finalization trip has commenced...

...the scoop when I return! Have a great start to the week, everyone!

Friday, March 13, 2009

F-Word Fridays: On the Ones and Twos

About a month after we met, Maggie and I had our first agreement. Not our first disagreement. That was the night we met. I mean our first agreement, our first meaningful shared opinion. It was about a song.

Shortly thereafter, we started giving each other music….I gave her a copy of my favorite album of 2005, and she responded with a goofy, eclectic mix filled with stuff I’d never heard that had me grinning and drumming on my steering wheel in no time. We realized that, minus a few exceptions, we had mostly similar tastes but somehow listened to mostly different bands. We kept on giving each other mixes, and still do. And they never disappoint. Maggie gave me my latest one earlier this week, in fact (and as per normus, it’s excellent. As for "as per normus," I just made that up, so don’t go using it around your scholarly friends). What’s more, we both love live music, and Dallas has some great small venues. In particular, I/we highly recommend The Palladium, The Granada, and HOB*, where we’ve been privy to more than our fair share of great shows over the past few years: Dylan, Morrissey, Counting Crows, Bloc Party, The Shins, The Bravery, Iron and Wine, Of Montreal, and maybe a dozen more, all with 500 or fewer people in the crowd. I’d go so far as to say the live music scene is our favorite thing about Dallas.

So, given our ingrained love of live music, we made the obvious choice when it came to our reception band: we hired a DJ. Because there are no bands on the Outer Banks full time, and paying to bring one in is obscenely expensive, we went with Soundwavz (love the spelling btw….they sound like a fictional band Zach and Kelly would have formed on Saved By the Bell). They were the DJ company that everyone recommended. Which isn’t saying much, since everyone in the Outer Banks Wedding Mafia recommends everyone else in the Outer Banks Wedding Mafia. And as far as I can tell, Don from Soundwavz is the Marlon Brando of the Outer Banks Wedding Mafia.

Long story short, we’re in charge of being very explicit about what songs we do not want to hear (there are many), and which gimmicks we actually want the DJ to employ (there are very, very few. Like maybe one). And by "we," I mean me, because Maggie has 412 other details to worry about, and I want to make sure I continue to do my .0024% part of making this wedding come together. So I’m pretty much going to put together a four-hour Maggie and Trevor Wedding Mix. It’s not easy. As John Cusack said in High Fidelity, “the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do’s and don’ts. ” But I’m on it, because as a rule I don’t trust wedding DJs. Even when he’s the head of the Outer Banks Wedding Mafia. Maybe we should have bought an Ipod instead…

[Voiceover: On next week’s all new F-Word Friday, Trevor takes a look at some possible choices for the first dance, March Madness bracket style. There might even be the potential for some reader participation, if he can figure out how to add a poll on Blogger. All this and more, next week on F-Word Friday...]

*The only thing that sucks about these shows is that they all seem more inclined to email your tickets rather than mail actual ones, so no fun ticket stubs to stumble across months and years later.

Blogging powers, activate!

Okay, internet friends. I've hit a low point in the planning process, of the "these costs make me want to die and why don't we elope and be responsible instead" persuasion. But moving on to happier thoughts - and with my mother's assurances that we will do some hard negotiating during the planning trip in a few days - I'm wondering which genius among you can provide tips on the following:
  • Where to buy bulk sunscreen. I need about a gallon to fill up our little personalized bottles. I've seen a couple of prices online that still seem high. Where do pools and spas get their stuff? There's gotta be a better deal out there somewhere... And don't think I'm beyond casually stealing the huge pump bottles at the Four Seasons pool in Austin, where I happen to be heading in a few weeks.

  • Where to buy bulk insect repellent. Again, looking for a lot of product here - 2 or 3 quarts. We're doing personalized bottles of bug spray to get out ahead of the "there sure are lots of mosquitoes on these here Outer Banks" complaints. This one's tougher than sunscreen, and also brings up this conversation I had with my brother, who I asked to help me with this one last week:
    Me: "Oh, and as environmentally-friendly as possible, preferably DEET-free."
    Bro: "All sounds good, although I would request that you re-consider the DEET thing if we are actually going to be using it."
    Me: "But DEET is soooo bad for you!"
    Bro: "But works soooo well."
    Me: "Well, find me a hot price for the poison and you win."
  • Red and white polka dot pocket square. To ease your search, they're sometimes just listed as 'handkerchiefs,' especially in the UK. Preferably cotton or linen rather than silk. I feel like if I had any useful skills whatsoever, I'd be able to just find the perfect material and make these. Hmmm.... (We're still liking the gingham, btw, we just want options.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

So obviously political nerds

...that our wedding not only evokes elections, it also displays current DC fashions.

Politico: Pols are hip to the square

Just sayin'...

Shower rant and rave

I don't really understand "bridal showers." (By the way, as I write that I can perfectly imagine my mom and sister reading that sentence and rolling their eyes.)

Here's the deal - there is a shower where presumably folks bring you things from your wedding registry, right? So then, what do they bring to the wedding? And since no one I knowlike subscribes to the theory that it's necessary to have a gathering where women can talk appliances and congratulate the bride-to-be on getting a ring out of some hapless shmuck so that in a few months' time, she can proudly proclaim herself "Mrs. John Doe" and not die of humiliation that she's not going to be single at 25, well... no thanks. That's not me at all. Also, it goes without saying, I really dislike wedding-related shower games.

Now, if we interpret the bridal shower to be purely symbolic, as a tradition of women gathering to support one another in the way that only women can, that's another thing entirely. If the goal of a shower is to, literally, shower love and support and wisdom upon a fellow woman, well why not do just that? A shower where women bring their own advice, lessons, blessings, and funny stories based entirely on their experiences... now that sounds like a true community-building kind of celebration. No toilet paper games necessary. Nothing more than the shared experience of people you care about surrounding you.

This brings to me baby showers, for a couple of reasons.

First, I think baby showers are a fantastic idea for all the reasons I dislike traditional bridal showers. Back in the day, it was a lot more necessary to give basic household goods to someone getting married, as she was likely moving straight out of her parents' house into a house with her husband. And back in the day, now-antiquated gender stereotypes were very much the norm. But these days, we've lived alone and accumulated our own things already. Even more, most of us are already living with the person we'll marry. But having a baby is something else entirely. There are things you need that you never even knew existed. There are tips needed for how to use these things you didn't know existed. Babies are expensive, and getting gifts to help ease that expense is fantastic.

Also, the gender disparity of baby showers is less troubling to me. Women give birth, men do not, simple as that. Although women and men (thankfully) parent equally, gender-specific knowledge has real value in the birthing of the child. With a marriage, women and men enter into marriage equally, as partners. The antiquated setup of "Bride, let us congratulate you!" and "Sorry man, guess it's your time to step up" is why a traditional bridal shower isn't modern or helpful. But with a baby, "here's what you need to feed your baby from your own body" is woman-to-woman advice that is priceless. (I've been to co-ed baby showers, by the way, and love them... I'm merely speculating on why women-only baby showers don't bother me like 1950s-era bridal showers do.)

Baby showers are on my brain because I recently returned from one and am about to attend another. My sister's shower on Saturday will be great fun, will have games (and I'll play them happily just for you, sis!), and will be a fantastic way to spend the afternoon. My friend Mikaela's baby shower a few weeks ago in New Mexico was, very easily, the best shower I've ever attended. Why? In New Mexico, more than any other place I know, there is an openness of expression that enables folks to translate symbolism into active expressions in a way that is completely real and graceful.

Sitting in a circle, we each brought blessings for Mikaela and her baby, and shared them together. These blessings were read or sung by each of us in turn, all women who are a part of Mikaela's life, and the experience was beautiful. There was so much laughter, more than a few happy tears, and lots of hugging. Mikaela opted to have general baby gifts at another setting, so on this night, we each brought baby shoes instead. Is there anything cuter than baby shoes, after all? The significance of that circle will be represented in her baby's birth, too. At the end of the month when Mikaela goes into labor, we're each going to light a candle that we won't blow out until her little one is born.

What was special about that night was the literal blessings that we brought with us. They weren't represented in the shoes, they were represented by our voices, in our words that we read and then presented to be bound into a book. It only took us each doing that in turn, as part of a group, to turn those individual thoughts into a collective moment and a truly meaningful night. Here we are, surrounding our baby shoes:

And back to bridal showers... they're simply not me. My brain gets fuzzy at the incongruities; that's just who I am. But I love parties honoring the couple together (dinners, cookouts, any excuse for a party) or themed showers, like books (I know, nerd alert) or booze ("stock the bar" etc.).

This turned into a long and rambling one... thanks for hanging in there! Tell me, what are your thoughts on showers?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Parasols on the ceiling

I'm putting together an enormous binder to take with me to all the wedding planning meetings next week. This is cumbersome because my entire organization system for the wedding is digital; you wouldn't believe what my Google Notebook looks like. Turning this into a hard copy is quite a task - yay for covert color printing at work! - and interesting to notice how my inspiration has developed over the last several months. Some of these planning matters I cannot wait to check off my list. Others are still nerve-wracking for me.

Enter our reception tent. I haven't written much about how we're decorating the ceiling of our tent, probably because it's the one issue that can give me an instant headache. Being able to see the metal boning of the tent from underneath, for whatever reason, is something that makes me want to scream. So our choices are to completely cover the interior of the tent with a pleated liner - which is beautiful but perhaps a much more formal look that we're going for, use draping, or subtly distract from the metal with a mass of lanterns, colors, and clever lighting. I'm hoping we can use a combination of these that will work for us.

That said, using bright paper lanterns has been a pretty steady assumption from the start. Yet just now, deep in my "Tent Ceiling" folder in my Google Notebook, I came across an image of parasols on a tent ceiling, and I'm loving the look.

Here's the original image:

(Via Tying the Knot)

Now yes, you can still see boning, but I promise you I'll get to the bottom of the boning issue during my event rental meeting on Tuesday.

Try to imagine a combination of strung circle lanterns in fun colors and patterns AND parasols like this....

(From Luna Bazaar)

What do you guys think?

Six-Word love

I was going to do a great post this morning on a book that everyone should go and buy: Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak: by Writers Famous and Obscure. I was going to ditch the usual favorite excerpts and reel you in by including some of the six-word sentiments that spoke most to me. Then I was going to complete the sale by noting that my dear friend Saleem is one of the "writers famous and obscure" quoted in the book, and that his six words are funny and true and very much who he is.

But then I woke up to a howling storm, with the temperature 40 degrees below where it was when I fell asleep, my work scattered all over the place, etc. In my rush to leave, I left the book at home.


This is a book you should own. You'll laugh and smile and wince. If you're like the F-Word and me, you'll go about your errands amusing yourselves by speaking only in six-word sentiments. Then you'll wonder why you didn't come up with the idea for this book first. And how much more fulfilling things could be if you ran a little publishing company out of your apartment and got to be surrounded by yummy words all day long. Hmmm...

This is an example of a project that takes on a life of its own: the blog for this book is a growing repository of other folks' six-word memoirs. Go read. Go write! Go contribute.

See ya over there?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Working from home

I've had the pleasure of working from home a lot lately, which I looooove. Let me count the ways:
  • Snacking. A selection of almonds, sausage, and the stinkiest Cotswold cheese with chives I can find, at any time I want. (ps regarding the photo... Oh, you think we need new knives? So do we! Registry Hint #24858684)

  • News. Constant NPR, impossible in my office because I get terrible radio reception and the corporate internet police block all streaming media.

  • Music. Have listened to the mix I just made the F-Word a few times today, plus approximately ten replays of Iron & Wine covering "Wild Horses," which is unbearably beautiful. Now blasting The National (only until it's time for "All Things Considered," of course).

  • Cat-watching. How can you not grin when just below your computer perch, one of the House Kittenz spends a solid hour rolling herself around on her back and doing ridiculously cute things? (Here's Fanny showing off her belly.)

  • Attire. I'm about to step it up from a nightgown to sweats and a tank in order to check the mail. Hotness!

  • Embarrassing Habits. So fine, I tried on the wedding dress again. HA! But I have to get it altered soon, so I don't think I'll have it much longer. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
Hypothetical Home Office Activities:
  • Cooking. Okay, full disclosure, I have not done any cooking today, but on other days when I work from home it's the perfect way to plan out a yummy meal without being rushed. I love working while something's slowly simmering away...

  • Working Out. I have not had any close, personal time with Jillian yet today, either, but our other cat Switters is giving me a look that says he has fully recovered from yesterday's accidental body kick and thinks it's time to get my ass in gear. Also, Jillian is glaring at me from the DVD sitting on the counter. Fine, Jillian, you win!

  • Cleaning Up. Last week when I worked from home I managed to get this whole place vacuumed and turned in a project pre-deadline. That's a little ambitious for my mood at the moment, but hey, anything's possible...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Professional prettiness

One of my many appointments in the Outer Banks next week is a makeup trial. Like most gals, I'll probably go for the "me just more" look at our wedding, but I'm looking forward to "playing makeup" with a pro. Makeup is fun for me... in college I was a nerdy Honors Program student and Senate intern by day and top-selling makeup/skincare guru by night. It was a great release, actually, a way to shut off the more serious things flowing through my brain and be creative (kind of like this wedding blog compared with my neglected politics blog, hmmm...).

My fave products these days? A healthy mix of Nars, Benefit, Stila, and Laura Mercier. I'm a sucker for lip gloss, shimmery potions, and anything that makes green eyes pop. Here are a couple of ideas I have going into the trial run:
  • Red lips? Normally I'm a berry girl, but the vintage vibe of our wedding has me curious to try red lips. Not dramatic dark red, but more of a sheer red, paired with bright skin and low-key eyes. (Moment of silence for my favorite discontinued red, please... Laura Mercier's Just Lips) We'll see what the pro says.

  • Eyelashes. I have pathetic lashes. Trevor doesn't have lashes, either, so our kids are screwed. At any rate, I was considering doing lash extensions, but Our Fair Economy is pushing fakies the day-of as a more viable alternative.

  • Looking like I have makeup on. The primary reason I wanted to hire someone to do my makeup was because on that day, I don't want to stress out over it myself. While I do have fun with makeup, I don't want that kind of pressure on my wedding day (also, I'll need a free hand for mimosas, helloooooo). My biggest complaint with my own "special event" makeup is that every time I see photos of myself when I know I spent a considerable amount of time getting ready, it still looks like I have nothing on my face. My hand is way too light; my hatred of too much makeup runs too deep. So I just need to put the power in someone else's hands. And don't bother talking to me about primers, either - I own three different brands, and still look like I'm bare-skinned. (Waaay back on prom night, my mom actually sent me back inside to apply more makeup... twice. Ironic, then, that I ended up getting paid to do other people's makeup, isn't it?)

  • SKIN! I'm a big fan of skincare and the rule that if you invest more in your skin, you can invest less in your makeup. Since our wedding is outside at the beach, this will most definitely be a sheer, sunkissed, freckled, glowing kind of celebration. Which reminds me: sunscreen. I'll leave that for the next beauty-related post.

For more wedding-related makeup chatter, check out the great column over at Weddingbee PRO by Laura Nadeau. A makeup artist herself, "Lo" has the best day-of makeup tips, including posts on red lips and fake lashes. Her how-to video on applying fake lashes is great.

Hot shoe FAIL

As we all know, I love shoes. Having a much-taller F-Word necessitates the need for tall shoes, and let's face it, hot shoes are our legs' best friends.

So you might guess I'd be a fan of the latest shoe-related fad. As such, these shoe, er, accessories have been sweeping girly wedding blog nation lately.

My verdict?

I'm sorry, but NO.

That is all.

ABCD Design Process explained (Subtitle: "When Rams Attack!")

Amy of ABCD published the most charming walk-through of our invitation design process on her blog this morning, describing for her readers the steps of creating our invitation suite from scratch.

Amy's ability to get to know a couple and create stationery that reflects just who they are really is remarkable, given that she typically just "meets" couples over e-mail and the phone. So how does she do it? Amy describes, with an incredible amount of tact, my admitted over-achiever complex when it came to answering her straightforward inspiration questionnaire. About my 20+ page opus answering her questions...

"I was so far out of my comfort zone - the Virgo in me fought it, big time!"

And that's when it hit me: ah ha... Amy's a Virgo! I can't believe I didn't know this before! Trevor's a Virgo! Now I get it!

For those unfamiliar with the world of astrology, let me explain... A Virgo-positive take on our pairing looks a little like this:

In the creative world of invitation design, Amy's post tells the story of clients and designer working together to achieve a perfect balance of their many goals and desires. In the astrological world of invitation design, Amy's post tells the story of a brash "more is more" Aries sensibility crashing into the ordered world of a Virgo invitation designer, while an at-home Virgo continues to press for more white space with every design round. Which is the real story? I guess that's up to your belief in the stars...

Of course, some might interpret our stars this way:

As you might imagine, any sort of astrological forecast regarding the chances the F-Word and I have to live happily ever after is fairly murky. And yet... it works. Just like my working relationship with ABCD, we manage to find the right ways to communicate, collaborate, and produce something amazing each day.

So here's my astrological PSA for ABCD Designs Bespoke Stationery: If Amy can work with this Aries, I'm pretty sure she can handle all astrological signs, even yours.

We're going to print SO soon... I can't wait to show everyone the product of our "stars aligned" working relationship!