Thursday, April 30, 2009

Report from DIY Headquarters

Over at DIY Headquarters, Team Fam is nearing completion of all DIY projects and getting ready to deliver them to our Outer Banks holding station!

Under the leadership of 'Lil Sue (otherwise known as Mom), the hands of Big D (Dad), Best Woman with Unborn Child (sis), grandparents, neighbors, cousins, and more have been worked to the bone to turn our fun decor ideas into reality.

Here's what the tally board looks like back at the homestead:

First up, the fabric pomanders that will be mixed in with actual flower pomanders for the "altar" decor. I begged my mom to do a step-by-step post with photos, but I begged too late. Know this: each one takes up to 9 hours to create. We have 18 of them. Wow!

I'm going to try to explain our reception decor as best as I can. We ended up going with two types of fabric for tablecloths after all: Blue and Red (bottom right).
  • On each table, there will be a pedestal (different types on each table) that will hold a single flower pomander from the ceremony (our florist is staying to trek them over to the reception for us, because she's awesome like that).
  • Surrounding each pedestal will be paper-covered cans of varying sizes and shapes that will each hold an arrangement of one type of flower. For example, one can will hold all red tulips, one will hold all blue hydrangeas, one will hold all white ranunculus... you get the idea. To make the cans, my sister and I created sheets of paper using design elements from our invitation suite as well as additional graphics. They're covered in varying designs and are a range of colors and scales. There are 140 total cans. (Well okay, almost 140... they're in the 11th hour of production -- and hint, hint, we would love a photo when they're done!)
  • Sprinkled amongst the paper-covered cans, we have white rice paper votives with small graphics applied to them. These are much simpler, keeping the white really visible to ground all the pattern a bit.
Here's how it comes together:

You have to imagine flowers in the cans!

The streamer things in the middle are creations that I don't have a name for yet. Our floral designer calls them "wish sticks" and my mom calls them "happy sticks." Basically, they are sticks with ribbons attached on the end. They'll be displayed on the back of each chair to give the ceremony site a punch of color without having to pay for chair ties. Photographed jumbled together, the streamers look a bit 4th of July, but they will be separated at the wedding. The sticks do not have both red and blue combined, never fear - one is all blue and white, and the next is all red and white. (An example of little decisions we've made to help downplay the patriotic look - in addition to lots of light blue.) The sticks will be waved in the air three times: After we're married and are walking back down the aisle, during our large group photo immediately following the ceremony, and later that night while we're exiting. I've been wavering between attaching a little tag to the sticks explaining this or explaining their use in the program - thoughts?

Votives lit up and pretty.

Yes, my mom really did line the front steps with the completed votives - all 165 of them. Hilarious and awesome!

A closer view... although I spotted a heart in there and have already given instructions that it must be eliminated! I'm so cold and heartless, you know.

One project unrelated to the tables: a card holder. I was thinking a random receptacle in my parents' attic would be great to hold cards in a cute way, rather than have them scattered on the table. My mom ran with the idea and found an antique birdcage for cheap on eBay. Lots of scrubbing and a fresh coat of paint later, and look what we have:

Adorable! It has a stand we can use, or we can place it on a table like this. At the reception it'll have a few flowers on it and also have a cute "Cards" sign attached.

That's all for now... whew! I'm exhausted! So (as you can see) is Team Fam!

Beware leaking UPS boxes...

A huge box of these little guys made their way onto a brown truck this morning, labels affixed. Please, please don't start leaking, little ones!

I realized I haven't shown off our Welcome Bags yet, by the way. My mom found these reusable shopping bags that are adorable and can easily double as beach bags for the weekend.

Each one will have a little tag with our campaign sticker on one side and their names with a note from us on the other. Inside, they'll find:
  • Custom map
  • Official Visitors' Guide to the Outer Banks
  • A print-out of the activity links from the wedding website
  • Directions to golf and kayaking, if they're doing either of those
  • Water
  • Homemade cookies (thanks, Aunt Lynne!)
  • Candy
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
And maybe....
  • Flashlight (the walk back from the cookout will be dark - we'll have some flashlights there, but if I can find them cheap enough I'll put one in everyone's bag)
  • A salty snack

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Our escort cards

I'm bursting with the cuteness of these little guys. You remember our themed tables? Here's the first glimpse at our escort card display... with our tiny adorable campaign buttons attached to each one!

We had the buttons made by the Busy Beaver Button Company - a great value, by the way. And the rest came together using design elements from our invitations. Getting excited!!!

Coming up tomorrow: a DIY spectacular straight from DIY HQ in North Carolina.

Our Programs

It's been far too long without any ABCD goodness on this blog... please allow me to correct that!

Because we all know how much I love paper, I knew from the beginning that I wanted special programs. I found my inspiration via Martha. Take a look (if you can avert your eyes from the groom in seersucker, of course): Landscaped design, ribbon binding, small enough to slip into a suit jacket pocket or a clutch. Adorable!

Amy cooked up a few fun designs for us. Here's the one we chose:

We're working on the interior now, but I think once the insides are printed, I'll be binding them with these ribbons:

I always keep programs from weddings (this explains why I'm a packrat). But I love looking back at them over time and remembering the ceremony. I think these little beauties will definitely be keepsake material.

PS: I'll take photos of the real deals when we have them all assembled, and they will make my ever-expanding Detail Shots List for our photographer, too.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Incremental progress

Finished two things tonight that weren't even on The List (oops):

  • Name tags for the Welcome Bags. Had a freeing "let it go" moment deciding that our campaign sticker-adorned tags were just fine if I scribbled their accommodations and a personal note underneath their carefully printed (in our font) name, rather than printing everything. Letting needless details go right about.... NOW.

  • Booked our flights! Seeing "11 nights, 12 days" on the screen felt pretty awesome. And who knows, depending on how our super-pregnant Best Woman comes along, I might just have to extend my trip even more... And EEK, we leave three weeks from tomorrow!

Scenes from la casa

Just your typical pre-wedding day at our place. You know, huge Tiffany box and half-gallon containers of Skedattle and Mexitan. The usual.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I've got friends in [more artistic] places

My friend Sasha is a fantastic landscape designer and graphic artist, and is considering getting into the business of custom map-making with her friend Tawny. They're using our wedding as a guinea pig project to help finetune their future business practices. Our map will be a full illustration of NC's Outer Banks, dotted with sights to see, places to go, and the weekend's golfing and kayaking activities. Included on this map is a smaller, more detailed inset map that illustrates the weekend's official events, with both walking and driving directions included.

These fantastic maps are going into our Welcome Bags, and will set the tone (with our exact color palette and fonts, of course!) while also providing the practical information that guests will need as soon as they arrive. While Sasha and Tawny are hard at work on our full map, they finished the inset map early so that we could upload it onto the wedding website. With a title plopped on top just for Web use, the inset map works perfectly as a stand-alone explanatory map for guests trying to get their head around the weekend before it begins. I'm thrilled with how this turned out... and can't wait to see the full map!

By the time of the wedding, I'll post our custom map in full and will brag all about Sasha and Tawny as they unveil their new business website, so stay tuned! Don't you want them to make you one?

(click for full size)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Three years later...

The epitome of the perfect Sunday: sleeping in, making breakfast, slowly sipping coffee while digging into the Sunday Times, planning meals, buying the week's groceries and flowers, exercising, and then settling in for a night at home. Sigh...

We've been blessed to receive gifts in the mail nearly every day for the past two weeks. My favorite gifts so far have been gifts of family significance (goes without saying) or thematic gifts. For example, one kind person bought us every single vase off one of our registries, and in the card wished us a lifetime of flowers. One kind person sent us everything we'll need in order to roast meat to succulent perfection. Tonight, we're taking advantage of both things. We're surrounded by fresh flowers, and we're planning a very special dinner.

See, three years ago tonight, we met each other. Completely randomly. In a bar. Not really on our best behavior. Okay, not on my best behavior. But after being mentally manhandled all night, T inexplicably kissed me on the sidewalk anyway. And it was much better than I thought it (he?) would be. And just like that, the guy I'd probably never see again became the guy I had to see again.

You know those moments when you accidentally give yourself away, and then immediately hate yourself for it? That was me, slipping up and making a little sound in spite of myself during the kiss. Cover blown. Shell crumbled.

Two nights later, I called up that strange preppy guy in pink to announce that A) I had a bottle of wine, and B) I was coming over to watch baseball, which my non-cable-subscribing self assumed was on at a moment's notice to anyone who owned more than rabbit ears. There wasn't a game on that night, as it turned out, but it didn't even matter.

So three years ago tonight, I shared a couple of drinks with someone who in just four weeks from today, I will be marrying. To celebrate, we're using our divine roasting pan to cook a fabulous dinner and have a quiet night at home, surrounded by fresh flowers. We're opening a really special bottle of wine. And guess what's on TV tonight? Red Sox - Yankees.

April 26, 2006 - April 26, 2009: Life coming full circle.

Friday, April 24, 2009

F-Word Fridays: Men in Skirts

Before my maternal grandfather passed away in 2001, he and his two sons had an annual tradition. They, along with whichever older male cousins were handy, would pose for a picture at whatever family function worked best. They'd all be wearing kilts, and the photo would inevitably become a joke holiday card which read "Merry Christmas, from Men in Skirts".

I don't remember there being much celebration of my mother's Scottish heritage in my youth, but somewhere along the way, her side of the family embraced it fully. There were trips to the Highlands for Clan Cameron reunions. An uncle used his spare time to work up a detailed family genealogy that went back generations, and predictably to Scotland. And most of the men were married (well, re-married) wearing kilts. I myself don't have one. My grandfather offered to have a kilt made for me as a college graduation present, but for one reason or another it never happened. Which is why I'm wearing his seersucker suit instead.

All this also explains why we're having a bagpiper at the wedding. Of all the elements we're incorporating into the weekend, this is the one that puts the biggest smile on my mother's face. He'll play "Scotland the Brave" when my groomsmen and I make our way to the altar, and he's going to play "Brown Haired Maiden" when we walk back down the aisle at the end of the ceremony. Since the ceremony is outdoors, he's actually going to march me and the groomsmen to the altar from about 50 yards away, and keep playing as he disappears over the dunes and down the beach. Later, after he's played us back down the aisle, he's going to lead our guests from the ceremony to the reception across the street.

I think the whole thing will be a nice touch, and memorable on a day that will no doubt be full of things worth remembering. Plus, it seems appropriate to have at least one man there in a skirt...

Feminists fall in love, too

Feministing is one of my daily reads. As such, I've come to admire and respect founder Jessica Valenti, now a published author and fixture on the college speaking circuit. Valenti has been engaged for several months now, and has written in several places about the process of being a feminist and planning a wedding, something that seems to many to be an oxymoron. In this piece for the Guardian, Valenti offers an eloquent recap of the process for her thus far, and the response her engagement has elicited from some conservatives ("You've Never Met a Bridezilla Like a Feminist Bridezilla") to fellow feminists who believed Valenti had compromised her values by wanting to be married (she "seem[ed] to find flaws with patriarchy, but fail[ed] to find a way to bring it down"). The value in having this discussion in multiple mediums is enormous, and digging into feminism, romantic partnership, and structural conditions is something that I could do all day long. What these serious discussions come down to is the same bottom line that fluffier wedding-based reads bring up for me: do what makes you and your partner happy. That's it. That's all.

Being a feminist and planning a wedding embodies much more than whether or not you're wearing a white dress (I am) or changing your name (I'm not) or being given away by someone (both my parents, thank you). Being a feminist and planning a wedding is about your relationship and your partnership, and incidentally how you choose to celebrate (both raucously and tenderly, for us, and with donations to a same-sex marriage fund in lieu of favors, because we feel extraordinarily lucky that we're able to marry at all). Trevor and I are equal partners through and through, and I think our wedding will celebrate that fact. Our campaign logo is fun and memorable, but is quite literal in the statement that it makes. Adams Hanger '09. Separate entities joined on a ticket. Distinct identities embarking on a journey together. (Remember a Council Between Equals?)

I like the kind of wedding that celebrates how stubbornly independent the two of us are, while not diminishing for a second that we're also madly in love with each other. I like the kind of marriage that kind of wedding will kick off. And maybe I do have a set of 12 glasses on my living room floor right now with an etched family monogram that will never be ours, sent by someone who didn't quite get it. These things will happen, and if I get fed up enough I can call my future mother-in-law, who never changed her name, for advice. That small hassle, though? Totally worth it. Because I get to marry the only person who's ever made me excited about the idea of marriage, and because he's every bit as equal-opportunity and well-adjusted and unpossessive and excited to be married as I am. Is he "garnishing his testicles" for "letting" me keep my name, as someone wrote about Valenti's fiance? Hardly. Trust me.

It's funny to me how much we can fuss about the way other people decide to get married. If we're going to fuss about it, let's fuss about those who aren't even allowed the option. That's the real deal. Me? I'm just a feminist co-hosting a big 'ol beach party and shacking up with her favorite guy for the rest of her life.

Congrats, Jessica. And you know what? Congrats, me! (Us, I mean us.)

Happy Friday, everyone.

ONE MONTH countdown!


Let's check in with last month's list and see how the current To Do list looks.

To Do:
  • Rent/borrow tables for Welcome Cookout
  • Finalize Welcome Cookout decor
  • Finish ceremony "script" with Gene
  • Write vows
  • DJ guidelines/play/do not play
  • Reception timeline
  • Ask friends to take part in group reading
  • Program interior
  • Assemble programs
  • Finish Welcome Bags - ship product to NC
  • Napkins - cocktail and reception
  • Finish Hooray sticks (DIY HQ)
  • Finish votives (DIY HQ)
  • Make escort cards
  • Girls' hairpieces
  • Final dress fitting - ship dress to NC
  • Buy wedding perfume & pressed powder
  • Table assignments
  • Finish table signs
  • "Guestbook"
  • Talk through ceremony music arrangements with our violinist (my adorable music prodigy cousin!)
  • Pack (whoa)
---------------new additions---------------
  • Assemble invitations
  • Mail invitations
  • Finalize reception menu
  • First draft of ceremony structure written/planned
  • Picked ceremony music
  • Pick up rings
  • Finalize unofficial weekend activities
  • Pocket squares
  • Groomsmen socks
  • Fabric pomanders (DIY HQ)
  • Centerpiece cans (DIY HQ)
  • Tent lanterns ordered (DIY HQ)
  • Order campaign buttons
  • Dry clean groom suit
  • Flower girl accessories
  • Bachelorette
  • Welcome Cookout/Brunch dresses
  • Bar selections

"One month" image courtesy of Wordle.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A rose after all?

We're making progress replacing the dahlia in my full-figured red flower wish list. It's been tough, though, because the in-season red flowers in late May are either not red enough (peonies) or best used as accent flowers (ranunculus). I dislike standard red roses, so that was never an option, and red gerberas seem too simple for the occasion. That said, our floral/decor guru urged me to think about garden roses as a dahlia alternative. Although I initially bristled at even the word "rose" (Oh, how Valentine's Day has destroyed that flower - in red at least - for many of us!), she's right - garden roses are fantastic. And I don't think of lame once-a-year bouquets at all when I look at these. Whoopee!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

First glimpse

We've been making a ton of ceremony decisions this week, including a biggie: To see each other before the ceremony.

Our reasons are many: cocktail hour love, general timing, and also nerves. The thought of missing all of our cocktail hour is seriously stressful to me. First, all my favorite music has been relegated to that part of the evening (I am quite the mellow music lover). Second, my menu must-have - shrimp and grits - was transformed from an entree into an adorable hors d'oeuvre, and if I don't get to taste it, I'll be sad. Third, our photos will cut off some of the cocktail hour even if we do our own photos first, so we might as well speed it up if we can. As for nerves... I really don't like feeling nervous. I'm too jumpy and I blush easily if I'm nervous - not my natural state at all. But if I've already seen T, and we've already done our own "first glimpse" without a hundred pairs of eyes on us, I think I'll be really excited and calm before the ceremony instead, a state of being that I much prefer.

So far the schedule is looking something like this:
  • First Glimpse photos - Just the two of us
  • Groom and groomsmen, Groom and family
  • Bride and bridesmaids, Bride and family
  • Ceremony
  • Huge group photo with all guests (I'll explain this soon!)
  • Group family photos
  • Bride and Groom
  • Bride and Groom with wedding party
  • Cocktail hour and start of reception
  • Sneak-out at 7:30 for Bride and Groom sunset shots on the sound
  • Rest of reception
The more I've thought about it, the more romantic I think the idea of the "First Glimpse" is if it's done right. A private moment before craziness ensues, structured so that the expression everyone hopes is captured on the groom at the end of the aisle is captured up close and personal instead. Besides, I have a feeling my F-Word will have something photo-worthy for me during the ceremony even if he's already seen the dress. So to First Glimpse shots: see what I mean?

With This Ring's wedding

The program-opener

“I declare
that I shall love you always.
No matter what party is in power;
No matter what temporarily expedient combination of allied interests wins the war;
I shall love you always.”
- Edna St. Vincent Millay, from ‘Modern Declaration’

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Label dork

Guess what I'm doing while waiting for a conference call? Making personalized bug spray and sunscreen labels for our Welcome Bags, of course!


Our actual product is on its way, and our little empty bottles are in wait at home. I sense a filling party in our future!

Cue the clergymen!

In the search for ceremony readings and program quotes, we've come across several we love but just aren't right for us. Here's one of them:

I'd be crazy to propose to her, but when I see that profile of hers, I feel the only thing worth doing in the world is to grab her and start shouting for clergymen and bridesmaids to come running.

- P.G. Wodehouse

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why we love our officiant

We're ordaining our friend Gene to marry us. We actually laughed about how great it would be have Gene as emcee before we were even engaged. He's The One for many reasons - he's an actor (presence!), a writer (great with words!), and a talk show host (knows how to manipulate a crowd!). But more than all of that, Gene just gets us. He was one of the first people to whom I admitted my burgeoning feelings toward Random Preppy Pink-Shirted Guy. And when random guy became regular guy became boyfriend stuck in the Never-ending Election Recount from Hell, Gene was the one who listened to me whine (I know, I know, why was I whining?!), and then bought me beers at our favorite spot and took me to the movies to get my mind off things. When I introduced Gene and Trevor at a backyard dinner party my best ABQ gals and I hosted, it was like they'd known each other forever. Couldn't have been more seamless. Plus, Gene might have used the phrase "epitomizing youthful love of today" about us once or twice. ;-)

Importantly to us, Gene is also freakin' hilarious. I can't wait to see what our crowd thinks of him. Today while Gene and I were chatting about some ceremony stuff, he summed up in one brief exchange why we've asked him to do this for us:

Gene: Oh my Gawwwwwwwd! The invitations!!!

Me: So fun, huh?

Gene: I swear to you, I couldn't even open the thing. I was just in awe of it and knew that what was inside was going to break my ass it'd be so powerful, so I just kind of carried it around with me unopened for a week.

Maggie: Wait, seriously? You couldn't open it?

Gene: No! It was going to break my ass! I couldn't do it! Had to just sit with it a while.

Maggie: You are hilarious. Should this story make it into your ceremony intro somehow?

Gene: Ha ha... noted.

Maggie: Only if you repeat the phrase "break my ass," of course.

Jillian is my homegirl

The first time I ordered a Jillian Michaels workout video, I did so secretly. I closed the door to my office and clicked through Amazon as quickly as I could, making sure no one saw the embarrassing '80s throwback symbol of desperation I was adding to my cart. You get the picture.

But now? No longer ashamed. In fact, I'm just going to admit it out loud: Jillian Michaels is my homegirl. She rocks. I love how mean she can be, but in the next turn empathetic and real; I love her Jillian-isms; I love how she knows exactly when your posture is starting to suck and you need her to yell at you and remind you that your ass isn't supposed to be in the air for that move; and I love that when I first saw a quick clip of videos I hadn't yet ordered, I was desperately afraid she'd gotten terrible highlights, and then hugely relieved to see in full that no, those were just light brown headbands. Whew! But mostly, I love that she has whipped me into shape the past few months for many things that life has in store for me, including, but not limited to, wearing a wedding dress. And I love that I feel stronger as a result, not weaker.

Here's the deal. I started with the 30 Day Shred around Christmas. At that point I'd been making a concerted effort to work out 3-4 times a week for months, spending 1-1.5 hours at the gym each time. I was getting nowhere. After just a couple of weeks with Jillian, I was getting more results in less than half the time that I'd been spending working out alone. Even better? I could work out in my own apartment where I don't have a lot of extra room, using hand weights as my only equipment. For anyone who doesn't know, the Shred is designed with three levels that you work up to over time. Each level has three circuits, which combine strength, cardio, and abs. It might not sound like much effort, but doing it regularly (at least four times a week) should have you seeing and feeling major results. In half the amount of time you could spend at the gym. Really.

After Level 3 of the Shred became a little too routine, I was ready for new challenges but wasn't ready to part with Jillian, so I bought her other two DVDs (with my office door open! And while recommending her to friends!). For maybe three months now, I've been working out to both Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism and No More Trouble Zones, and let me tell you - I have never been a bigger Jillian devotee. Her philosophy behind the Shred is very much represented in these videos as well, but they're longer workouts and are each fairly different. BFBM is basically a kickass, heart-pounding-out-of-your-chest cardio killer, while NMTZ incorporates weights (she recommends 3 lbs, whereas I used 5 lb weights for the Shred) to target key areas that we all love to bitch about. Both will make you sweat like a pig. Both will leave you sore. Both really work. And like the Shred, being able to enjoy your progress over time is really gratifying. That move that made you feel like you were going to throw up two months ago? No problem. That move that left you unable to climb stairs? Bring on the stairs! Love it.

These days I alternate BFBM and NMTZ at least five days a week, putting Level 3 of the Shred on for kicks or if I don't have time for a long workout. I'm definitely firmer and somewhat slimmer than I was six months ago - there is less jiggle and more of what I love about my body now. My clothes fit better. I'm buying smaller sizes. But, and I will say this in bold, I have not lost any weight. What I hate about the weight loss industry are the loud claims of "Lose X pounds in X days!" Those claims are on Jillian's videos, too - and I love her and those workouts, but haven't lost a pound. That's just how my body works. I've been one of four sizes my entire teenage to adult life, yet have always weighed nearly exactly the same. So if you're obsessed with the scales (I don't own them), you might be frustrated if you were in my shoes. But I've never been happier in them. And I don't plan on starving just so the scales can reflect something arbitrary back to me.

So that's it. The only fitness-related post you will ever see here, because a few people have asked me to write about it. I'm a Jillian girl. I don't know if it's her attitude, her jump moves, her circuit combinations, or the fact that I can just put her on and turn my brain off for 45 minutes a day, but whatever it is, I'm a fan. She kicks my ass regularly, but respects my time in return, and I think that's a fair deal. End of story.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

More is more

First off, how FUN to shop with everyone else! Even if it means posting unflattering photos of myself online!

Second, in order to relieve everyone who'd be anxiously awaiting the outcome of my dress debate all weekend, allow me to announce:

My Welcome Cookout Dress:

My Farewell Brunch Dress:
Best of both worlds, yes?*

*to my checking account's chagrin, obvs

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dress shopping! (not that kind)

I've been on the hunt for a new dress to wear to our Welcome Cookout. The cookout, you might remember, is our version of the rehearsal dinner, only it's ultra-casual with bbq/beer/shrimp, everyone who's coming to the wedding is invited, and it's out on the lawn of the rental house that will become our honeymoon house, overlooking the beach. The worst mistake I could make with this outfit would be wearing something too dressy; it has to be paired with wedges or flip flops and be fine if it gets sandy/dripped on with barbecue sauce.

I headed over to Sak's today to see if I could make some magic happen with their Friends & Family Discount. The shopping conditions could've been more ideal: I forgot to bring along a strapless bra and had to get on my tippies to represent good shoes, which pretty much means every photo is blurry and a bit, um, saggy. Not to mention we're dealing with horrific department store lighting here. But in the spirit of letting it all hang out, and to kinda celebrate that I dropped a dress size, let's review the tape! (click for larger images)


I adore DVF, and try to make her work for every occasion possible. This dress needs nude heels and a briefcase, though. Sorry D!

This is Marc Jacobs and it's ultra-cute, but more suited to a fun restaurant than salty sea air.

This is Shoshanna and definitely has the most "rehearsal dinner" look about it. But since we're not having a standard RD, I think it's a tad dressy. But pretty anyway!

As you can see from my artful additions to the photo, this dress shows off one of my pet peeve areas. As many arm, shoulder, and chest exercises that I do, those areas continue to firm up and that smooshy area looks even worse by comparison. So no. But great color!

I originally wanted a red dress, and this tomato shade is great. This dress is cute and casual, but just not cute enough. It also has major tomato-sack potential in photos.

I knew this would look bad on me, but the print is so fun I had to try it on anyway. And yep, it's a green and yellow Juicy disaster.

Hell YES, but not for this event:

I only allowed myself to try on one dress in this category. It's a Nanette Lepore that I've been eyeing for ages. I adore what her dresses do to figures like mine. She and David Meister pretty much have the curvy girl market blanketed, in my opinion. This dress is in no way right for our wedding weekend. But while trying it on, I figured out what it is right for: My engaged friend Amy deciding to elope to an island and inviting a select small crowd at the very last minute, as her procrastinating self is wont to do. I will throw open my closet, grab this dress and my very favorite bright pink patent leather peeptoes, splash on some self-tanner, and run to the airport. Hear that, Amy?

Tied for First:

So I found two dresses. Tonight, a fashion show to decide, and then this weekend, a sad return of one of them. Unless, of course, I decide I also need a frock for rehearsing, or getting our marriage license, or going to the post-wedding brunch. Hmmm.....

First up, Marc Jacobs. It's a great lightweight fabric, is a pretty blue with flecks of pink, and has an adorable reddish pink belt (I'd cut off those weird belt loops, never fear). Now I'm not wearing a bra in these pics, so we can all imagine an upgrade in that area at the actual event. I think this dress is cuter in person than in these pics, which might be a warning about its value as a dress that will be photographed.

The other contender is Alice + Olivia. In a word, adorable. The top feels like your oldest, comfiest cotton t-shirt, and then the skirt is a flowy little number that's ultra-cute. I wouldn't have guessed purple and yellow for myself, but I'm kinda liking it. The straight-across strapless neckline can be tough to pull off all the time, so I worry about the potential for unflattering photos, although in those photos I'd be damn comfortable even if I didn't appear to have dropped that dress size. ;-)

F-Word Friday: A Dollar and a Dream (Wedding)

I have two rules when it comes to buying lottery tickets:

1) The grand prize must be over $100 million
2) I never make a trip to the store with the express intent of buying a ticket

I'm a numbers guy, and the numbers aren't good. 1 in 175,711,536. Give or take. Having Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz burst into our ceremony like something out of a latin soap opera and ask Maggie to be their real-life Vicky Christina Barcelona, is hundreds of times more likely than winning the lottery. (If it happens, and Maggie decides to go, I'd be crushed but I would understand. I really would). Safe to say it's money you'll never see again. And sure the money goes to help fund public school improvements, but it's not even tax deductable. But there I was this morning, paying $2.75 for my ham, egg, and cheese sandwich, and suddenly staring me dead in the face: $109 million. So i took the change from my $5 bill and plunked down 2 bucks on a couple of quick picks.

So (because I'm a numbers guy), I immediately go through the thoroughly ridiculous exercise of figuring out what that payout would be (lump sum, after taxes, obvs) and decide roughly how much we'd spend and how much we'd give away and how much we'd invest and how much that would net us annually. It's an entirely subconcious exercise that just sort of tumbles through my brain.

And because I'm not much of a daydreamer, I don't often think about how we'd spend/give away/invest the money, but today I did, sort of. Because the closer we get to this little shindig we're throwing, the more the cost starts to come into focus. Budgets become bills, deposits become withdrawls, and the best laid plans of your life (finally) come to life. It can be scary, but it's also very, very cool. So I allowed myself a fanciful thought: if we won the lottery, what would we change about the wedding?

The answer is probably not much. Better alcohol. Maybe a more exotic tent lining. I'd push to hire a real coordinator so Maggie's mom is sure to get plastered. The guest bags would improve. Maggie would probably pay someone to proofread my F-Word Fridays to keep them from drowning in colons and other improperly used exotic punctuation. We still wouldn't pay $500 for lemonade out of principle. But it was a nice moment for me to realize that our reality is actually this good....that the stresses and frustrations that come with the planning process have been worth it, since we're really happy with almost every decision we've made so far. We're not there yet, but we're in the final stretch (five weeks from tomorrow?!), and it's going to be fantastic. For a couple of people who never had "dream wedding" fantasies, this one is still going to feel like just that.

But if no one wins tonight, I'll probably buy more next week. After all, there's always the honeymoon to think about...

Iron Drinkers: Battle Bubbly

Last night after an evening of deliciousness with some of my favorite ladies, we went back to Casa M & T for a beverage taste-off. Not just a random excuse to drink, though (because that would never do). This was a scientific process to help choose our bar selections for the wedding. Due to the exorbitant markups on food and drinks from our venue, let's just say that we'll be drinking brands that are quite a step down from our normal libations. Case in point: our venue prices our go-to "cheap" house white wine at $54 a bottle. Sigh... But rather than get depressed, I'm considering our alcohol challenge to be an adventure in value-drinking. Last night's taste-off, then? Battle Bubbly: Inexpensive Champagne v. Prosecco.

Now I'm a big prosecco fan, but the F-Word is a more traditional champagne drinker. We decided that calling in some fellow bubbly lovers to help us make the decision was in order. While we spicy crab-encrusted sea bass'd our way through dinner, T was at home chilling the contenders. When we got there, the scene looked like this:

(Ooh, breaking in our new Dorset flutes!)

In my mind, it doesn't get any worse than bad champagne. I think of cheap champagne and I imagine the worst headache possible the next day. Not fun at all. But prosecco, on the other hand, is almost always pleasing. Looking at the bar list, we skipped over the first few cheapest champagnes immediately; it would be cruel to do that to ourselves and our guests. T selected a champagne that he thought could be the most drinkable value champagne to purchase, and we were able to find it easily in a local store. We couldn't find the exact prosecco on the bar list, but bought the closest one for the taste-off.

The result? I was surprised - the champagne won! Both were pretty good. Prosecco is always sweeter, so it's perhaps more of a crowd-pleaser for non-champagne palettes. But for only $2 more, the champagne was traditional and also really yummy. It received a unanimous vote.

So champagne it is! And, you know, at the wedding it'll be only $20 more per bottle than we bought it at the local liquor store yesterday. GRRRRRRR. But at this point? I'm just loving making decisions and moving on. Seriously.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Those age-old wedding planning questions

Time for the nitty-gritty decision-making. Here's where we're (still) stuck. Wanna help us out?

1. We're throwing the biggest party we'll ever throw, and making people travel to an inconvenient location to attend. When it comes down to it, are we cheaping out if we don't have a full bar?

2. I've been to too many weddings where guests wish they'd been assigned a table and spend five minutes nervously deciding where to sit. Therefore... table assignments! So should we be social engineers and create a lively mix of people at each table, or just play it safe and put folks who know each other together?

Update: I'd love to hear your thoughts and reasoning behind your votes, too... As always, comments are open!

Fun kudos!

I woke up this morning to some fun news: The Blissful Bride raved about this crazy wedding we're planning! She used our weird election party as an example of a successful theme. Thanks, Amanda! I could pretend we've been confident we could pull this off all along, but I would be lying... so thanks for the assurance that this is coming together!

A few weeks ago when our invitations debuted, we also received some very kind words from Oh So Beautiful Paper and Once A Bride, two other really fantastic blogs and great women (I squarely blame Oh So Beautiful Paper for my yearlong letterpress obsession; I was up all hours last night shopping for letterpress cards, Nole.).

It's really fun to begin to see all these small decisions we've made over the last several months come together as a cohesive whole. And it's still shocking to me when other folks can see what we're going for and not run in the other direction! We must be doing something right.

On that note, here's another photo of my mom's famous fabric pomanders... something very right indeed:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Our table signs

As everyone knows by now, we are total nerds. We might have met in a bar, but if not for politics, it never would have happened. Three years and three hundred Adams-Hanger '09 campaign stickers later, our guests have been invited to a wedding that will cement our "own perfect union," a play on The Constitution of all things. This gibber-gabber serves as context to set up our table signs, which I must say are awesome.

Each table will be named after a political figure. Yes, we've taken pains to match groupings of guests with particular political figures. Yes, it's all under wraps until May 24. But the table signs are making me so happy right now, I just had to post one as a preview. I used components of our invitation suite to build them.

Introducing... THE DUKE!!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dress Fitting #2

40 days out today, whoa. I've been enjoying a mental wedding break during all the bachelorette hoopla, and it's been really good for me to let things be for a while. But now it's time to face reality/make remaining decisions/finish projects... so back to it!

In that respect, this afternoon I'm going to my second dress fitting with my bridesmaid Heather. I'm not nervous at all this time, just excited and ready to dig into the details of how the dress is fitting. In other words, it's time for some serious arm and back inspections...

On that note, did everyone see Kate's wedding reflections post today? Great gems there, including why you shouldn't obsess over how your arms and back appear in your wedding dress. Hmmm.....

By the way (and completely unrelated), Drew Barrymore is totally wearing my wedding makeup here. Yay Drew! Looking forward to your incarnation of Edie.