Saturday, November 28, 2009

How NOT to Think about Your Wedding

First of all, if you're not already reading A Practical Wedding, you should be. Meg, the author, has a uniquely grounded philosophy on weddings, wedding planning, and marriage. She began the blog for her own wedding and despite her wedding date having gone by this summer, she's decided to continue the blog, showcasing others' real weddings and discussing the concept of marriage.

A couple of weeks ago, she was going through her archives and reposted this gem. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Free Wedding Cake for the Military

Now, before I post this, I feel I should clarify that I'm not an "Army wife" by the normal standards of this role. I barely consider myself a military (soon-to-be) wife at all. Justin serves in the National Guard and until we received news of his deployment next year and this year's increased training schedule, the military only affected me about one weekend a month.

However, my family has a history of military service (both of my grandfathers and my brother-in-law served) and I've always been grateful for the sacrifices of American soldiers, whether or not I agreed with their military mission. And so, I wanted to note something I saw on the site DC Nearlyweds. A DC-area bakery has offered a free wedding cake to a member of the armed services serving in the DC metro area. I think this is a great way to help support service members - take something stressful like their wedding
and make it just a little easier (and cheaper!).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"The Thing that Started it All"

Also known as, my ring. For about eleven months now, this beauty has graced my left hand and I've been meaning to take some close-up photos of it for the same amount of time. This afternoon, the sun was shining in the window and I took advantage of it!

I used a lot of the tips in this article, posted by a photographer on Wedding Bee Pro. She suggests some good common sense tips like photographing in good natural light, using the macro setting on your camera, and not using the flash in order to get more detail. She also suggested shooting your ring on various interesting backgrounds/foundations. I took her advice and you can judge for yourself how they turned out. Here are my five favorites:

I think part of the fun was finding neat things to place the ring on. The top two, as you can guess, are mussel shells (collected at the beach with Justin and our best man over the summer). Then, a mini pumpkin we bought for Halloween, a mini globe that decorates our desk, and a pewter plate from an award I won in college. They all proved neat surfaces that helped show off the ring.

As for the ring itself, my honey picked it out himself at a local jewelry shop last winter. It's an estate piece and the appraiser estimated it to be from the late 1940s to early 1950s. My grandmother, who was married in 1950, had a very similar ring, so that makes sense to me. I think the side stones really add to the sparkle. I feel very lucky to have such a beautiful piece of jewelry with a bit of a history.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Engagement Photo Shoot Recap

We got our engagement photo CD in the mail today and they turned out great! We took them at Strawbery Banke, a museum in Portsmouth where I've worked for over two years. The site is about ten acres and has over thirty historic buildings on it that we used as great backdrops.

The photographer was a little worried about the brightness of the photos because we did them around sunset and it got dark very quickly. However, we ended up with 39 shots that had plenty of light and so we're pleased. I've picked out some of my initial favorites and posted them below. Enjoy!

This was our first shot, taken in front of the cooper's (barrel maker) workshop

Under an arbor by the strawberry patch. I do hearth cooking in the blue house behind us!

In front of the 1695 First-Period Sherburne House, one of the oldest houses in New Hampshire

And a nice shot as the light was fading, in front of the 1762 Chase House. I actually think I might use this image for our Christmas cards, as I think the lantern makes it somewhat festive!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Scots are Coming! The Scots are Coming!

Two lads anyone would want at their wedding, right?

The back story: I spent the fall semester of 2003 studying in Edinburgh, Scotland. On our first night out to the pubs, my new study abroad friends and I met the gangly gent on the right (David) and became fast friends with him in our time there. Months later, I went back to visit a friend who had spent the full academic year there and met the blondie on the left (Stevie), who was an old friend of David's. And thus two going-on-six-year-long friendships were born.

I've been back to Scotland a few times since and seen these guys (and some other Scottish buds, who will be mentioned later) almost every time. They've come over to the U.S. and stayed with me when I lived in Boston. Thanks to the wonders of the Interwebs, we've also stayed in regular touch via email and Facebook.

So when Justin and I were creating our wedding guest list, it was a no brainer for me to invite my Scottish lads. I wasn't at all sure they would be able to make it due to the long distance and expense involved, but I was really hoping they could. This week, I got pretty solid confirmation from them that they plan to be in attendance. As my silly soon-to-be husband is wont to say, "that squees me full of glee." And yes - in answer to your unasked question, those are the kilts they will be sporting in style!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Engagement Photos - TODAY!

In about an hour, Justin & I will be meeting our photographer to take our engagement photos!

It's kinda funny to me to be doing them now, when we've been engaged for nearly eleven months. However, the session comes free with the photography package we chose and who are we to turn down free, professional photos?

We're meeting Aaron (the photog) at Strawbery Banke, where I've worked for all of my time in Portsmouth and all of our relationship. The museum is mostly closed this time of year, but the grounds are open for walking and the historic houses are in all the same places. ;) I'll let you know how the session goes!

Monday, November 9, 2009

"her reaction of disdain the day he replaced the blue hydrangea with the climbing frame"

Flowers, flowers, flowers. Since the spring, I've been mulling over my flowers. Do we want to hire a florist or do them ourselves? Do I want Queen Anne's lace, black-eyed susans, hydrangea, or something else entirely?

Actually, it's been a tad easier than that makes it sound. If you had asked me when I was 18 what I wanted for my wedding flowers, I'd have said daisies, Queen Anne's lace, black-eyed susans, and thistles. Now, I've settled upon hydrangea (both blue & white), Queen Anne's lace, and ferns (with a few others to-be-determined). That suits me just fine.

Moreover, I'm going to do most of the flowers myself. I'm planning to arrange the ceremony flowers, the reception centerpieces, and the bouquets for me, three bridesmaids, and one groomswoman. I might use Ambrosia Gardens here in Portsmouth for the boutonnieres and corsages, though. Those seem a touch beyond my skill.

I've been researching wholesale flower companies for months and tracking down the best prices on bulk hydrangeas. The masses and masses of flowers we need will come in a day or two before the wedding and I'll have to get down to business. It's a big job, but I think it will be fun, interesting, and has the potential to save us hundreds of dollars. Besides, when the dust settles and I'm walking down the aisle carrying a bouquet I made, in a church that I decorated, I can be proud of my handiwork!

This is something I like for the church aisles (assuming we get
married in a church - this is still unsettled. A post for another day!)

Lovely white hydrangeas on the reception tables
of the estimable Holly of Nothing But Bonfires

My trial centerpieces, completed last winter and a cinch to make! I love how big & full hydrangeas are - you really can get away with just one or two

The model bouquet for the bridesmaids and the one groomswoman -
should look lovely against their blue and black silk dresses

What I'd like my bouquet to look like, only a touch darker blue, with Queen Anne's lace interspersed throughout, ferns around the edges, and a lovely ribbon tied around the stems (with maybe a little keepsake of some kind tied on - I know that's trendy now, but as an historian, I love the idea of a little family heirloom or something there)

So that's the plan at the moment. I know it sounds a bit crazy to try to do the flowers for an almost-200 person wedding yourself, but hey - Justin and I got engaged after three months, people. Maybe we're the right kind of crazy for this.

(P.S. The title of the post is a line from a song by mewithoutyou, pretty much Justin's favorite band ever. I like them, too, and especially that line.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Caterer - Very Nearly Done!

So there's a solid chance that our "caterers met to caterers hired" average is going to be 1.000. That was a weird, awkward metaphor, but the point is . . . we may have our caterer!

Our venue typically works with four catering companies in the NH Seacoast/Southern Maine area. We could choose an outside caterer, but that incurs an extra $500 fee and I didn't think that was necessary. So I ruled out one caterer based on their product (i.e. they specialize in on-site clambakes and my best friend/one of my bridesmaids is deathly allergic to shellfish) and emailed the other three for info a couple of weeks ago.

One got back to me right away and suggested a meeting in the next few days. One got back to me a few hours later, with a completely overpriced estimate that involved no input from us. One never got back to me. So . . . last Sunday, Justin & I drove up to Eliot, Maine to meet with the catering director at Muddy River Marketplace, the first place to respond.

We were running late and I wasn't sure if we were going to do any tasting, so we crammed bagels with peanut butter and
travel mug coffee into ourselves on the ride up. However, I needn't have worried. In the course of a three hour meeting with the director, we had two cokes each and an assortment of their BBQ specialties, including "fowl balls" (smoked chicken wrapped in bacon), pulled pork, cornbread, baked beans, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, baby back ribs, BBQ chicken . . . There may have been even more, but I can't remember!

Now, I like BBQ. I like it very much. However, I was a little leery of doing an all-BBQ reception dinner. I know it's fun and casual, but my modus operandi thus far has been to attempt a wedding that is both fun and elegant at the same time. I wasn't sure that BBQ was going to do it for me. However, the catering director at Muddy River is a former executive chef and has catered at all kinds of top hotels. He can make pretty much anything you want, if you don't want BBQ.

So now we're looking at a proposed menu of:

  • Mediterranean appetizer display (above), including hummus, spinach dip, salsa, tomato & white bean bruschetta, sliced Italian meats and cheeses, marinated mushrooms, country olives, and assorted breads, chips and pita bread.
  • Three passed apps: Smoked Chicken Wrapped in Bacon drizzled with honey mustard (the "fowl balls"), Spinach & Feta in phylo, and possibly Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Summer tomato salad with fresh basil, mozzarella and virgin olive oil
  • Prime Rib carving station with horseradish sauce & au jus
  • Panko Coated Haddock Filet
  • Roasted New Potatoes with garlic rosemary butter
  • Roasted Vegetable Medley
  • Grilled Vegetable Dinners (the vegetarian option, which is a mix of marinated portobello mushrooms, asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, and peppers)
  • Hot dogs, chicken fingers, and baked macaroni and cheese for the kiddos
  • And for dessert (this might be my favorite part of the whole wedding!), a s'more station complete with fire pits, wooden dowels preloaded with marshmallows, and chocolate & graham crackers on silver trays (below)!

I know, right? I love this place. My parents have pretty much given us the go-ahead, but they want to be fed, too, so we're all meeting with the catering director again in a couple of weeks. After that, we'll put our deposit down, start finalizing the menu, and that's one more item off the list!