Sunday, January 31, 2010

What a Wedding Week!

Try saying that three times fast! I think I panicked a bit when we hit the "five months to go!" mark on Tuesday of this past week. I started contacting vendors like crazy and this week got real busy real fast.

In the last seven days, we've done something, whether it's major or minor, with the following features of the wedding:
  • My dress: buying it a year in advance finally caught up to me and I no longer fit very well in it! Luckily, it's from J. Crew, so I'm exchanging the one I have for a larger size. Cost a bit of extra $ unfortunately (I got the dress on sale the first time around), but what can you do?
  • Tuxes: signed, sealed, delivered! Well, not really, but Justin & I made a trip to Mens Wearhouse, picked out the tux styles, got him measured, and paid for his! Now, to let the other two groomsmen know . . . (to the Best Man, who is assuredly reading this, it's ok if you get yours when you get back from Russia!)
  • Cake: we met with a baker over the weekend, did a tasting, brainstormed an order, and pending parental approval & payment, that's done!
  • Transport: after emailing a local trolley company, got their brochure with pricing and decided it's fairly reasonable. Next step is to sort out details and book!
  • Honeymoon: will write a full post on this soon, but in short, we changed our honeymoon location (for the second time), booked the hotel rooms, and have already begun the honeymoon registry. Yikes!
  • Wedding night room: booked a deluxe room at a local, ritzy hotel for the night. Done & done!
  • Bridesmaid shoes: went back and forth with the ladies about colors, but have decided upon silver and will inform them this week and give them the go-ahead to buy.
  • Bachelorette party: the hosting b-maid emailed to get a final guest list and we began tossing dates around. This will probably get sorted in the next couple of weeks.
  • Day-of coordinator: decided to price day-of coordinators to minimize our stress on, well, the day of. Some were crazy expensive - I got a quote for $1600! - but some were reasonable. I'm having a phone chat with the $300 lady tomorrow.
  • Flowers: the florist left a message while I was at work on Thursday. Will call her this week.
  • Rental of dance floor, table, chairs, china, etc: we have to rent these things for our venue and are heading to the rental place tomorrow to scope out items and prices.
Whew! And all of this is in addition to my working three jobs, Justin attending school full-time, and the two of us hosting a game night on Friday and attending our nephews' birthday party on Sunday! All good & lovely things, but yikes - this week was busy, son.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why it Rules to Have a Graphic Designer for a Bridesmaid

Exhibit A:
The bridesmaid ensembles, with choice of two shoe colors (gold & silver), in visual form. Until this, it was all in my head. And she did it "just because" - I didn't have to ask her!

And exhibit B (done at my request):

My ensemble!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wedding Planning Update, Part Two (Electric Boogaloo)

My first (& most recent) update on wedding plans was back in September. Seems like it's time for another planning update, if for nothing else than my own peace of mind.
  • Days until our wedding: 152
  • Guests on the list: 232
  • Blog posts about the wedding: 49 (now 50)
  • Sites booked: 2 (ceremony & reception)
  • Vendors booked: 2 (photographer & caterer)
  • Vendors in communication with us but not yet nailed down: 5 (DJ, rental company, day-of coordinator, bagpiper, and ceremony-to-reception transport - a trolley!)
  • Vendors waiting to hear back from (but give them a break - I emailed them today!): 2 (baker & florist). UPDATE on 1/26: heard back from baker already!
  • Bridesmaid/groomswoman dresses bought: 4
  • Invitation ensembles chosen/designed & soon to be purchased: 1
  • Ceremony programs designed (all by our little old selves): 1
  • Table name signs designed & ready to be printed: 24
  • Deluxe wedding night hotel room booked: almost 1 (left a message for the woman at the hotel on Sunday - should be booked this week)
  • Tux ensemble picked out: almost 1 (trying on tuxes on Wednesday)

And boy, are my arms tired. There's probably more going on than this list, but I can't think of everything at the moment. Suffice to say that I feel we've gotten a lot done & are mostly on top of the next items on the to-do list. Considering tomorrow is the five month mark, I'm happy with where we are!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Church Search

So I haven't posted about our ceremony location yet. Actually, you also deserve a better reception post (the first wasn't very detailed), but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Part of the reason I haven't said anything about ceremony location is because it's changed a few times and has only recently become finalized.

At first, we considered an outdoor ceremony in a beautiful park near the ocean. I posted about the park on my other blog last June if you want to see photos. However, because it's a public park, we couldn't reserve a space to perform the ceremony. We'd also have to rent chairs & then transfer them from the ceremony site to the reception site. As one of my bridesmaids said, "That seems like too many moving parts."

Besides, as much as I loved the seaside park, I had always seen myself getting married in a church. I was raised in the church and though my attendance has suffered over the last decade of living on my own, I still want to say my vows in the beautiful space of a church sanctuary.

So - once we decided that, the church search was on. I wanted to find a local Baptist church due to my upbringing in an American Baptist church in Massachusetts. And conveniently, there is a Baptist church right around the corner from us! I contacted the minister in September about hosting the wedding. However, he was regrettably out for surgery this fall & things have been hanging fire since then.

We did get to meet with the minister last week, though, and he's put our date on the church calendar so we're pretty much good to go. There are a few more details to sort out (like fees, which hopefully won't be huge because I'm still an American Baptist Church member). We also got to check out the sanctuary with the minister & ask him about how ceremonies usually run. He gave us some good tips & I feel much more prepared now.

The church is really pretty inside & out, but one of the best things is this - we can walk there from our apartment! We're planning to have my side of the bridal party get ready at our apartment, then have Justin's side meet us here, take some photos (we live in a lovely brick 1860's house-converted-to-an-apartment-building), then have everyone walk down to the church. Can you imagine the fun photos?

Without further ado, here's is our church - both inside & out:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hair Trial Update

My hair trial was supposed to be last night. Unfortunately, the hairdresser was unable to make it due to a family issue. Luckily, it was scheduled to be at my sister's house and so Justin & I ended up just having a nice dinner with my sister, her husband & sons, and my parents.

We also passed around the eight (!!!) pages of images I had printed, so everyone could see what I was thinking for hairstyles and offer their two cents. I was surprised by the interest that my father, brother-in-law, fiance, and even 4-year old nephew took in the wedding hair!

Thanks to everyone's help, I've narrowed the bridal style down a bit and gotten some sense of a style for the bridesmaids. Below, I've posted the "crowd favorites." I've lost most of the photo IDs, but the bulk of them came from The Knot or Project Wedding.



Friday, January 15, 2010

One of these things IS like the other . . .


This post from the Smithsonian Museum of American History blog reminded me of the wedding dress exhibit I talked about earlier this week. The post is about the dress above, from the costume collections at the museum.

This dress was made (by the bride) from the parachute her husband used in 1944, jumping from a plane in a night bombing raid over China! Very neat story.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

NH Seacoast Bridal Show

If any of you wedding-planning readers live near the New Hampshire Seacoast, the University of New Hampshire is hosting a bridal show this Sunday, January 17th. Follow this link for more details.

I considered going, but ended up making other plans instead. Besides, there are not many vendors we have left to book (DJ and baker), so I didn't feel that I needed to go. However, I am disappointed to miss the exhibit of historic wedding dresses that the UNH Museum is putting on to complement the bridal show.

As an historian and museum professional, I love when modern things give a nod to the past and historic things insert themselves into the present. In fact, the day after Justin and I were "informally engaged" (said we wanted to marry each other, but no ring & formal proposal), I worked my job at a local historical society and remember being so pleased to sit and look at the 1899 wedding dress on display there.

You can read more about the wedding dress exhibit at this weekend's bridal show here and here.

(cross-posted on Museophilia, with some revision. It's my professional blog, after all!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Unrealistic Expectations

A few weeks ago, I read the following in a wedding blog which I like (and will not therefore name): "I bought a dress . . . that was beautiful and cheap and made my mom cry - but it didn't make me swoon."

And my jaw dropped. "Come on," I cried aloud to the empty air (Justin wasn't home at the time), "we have to literally swoon in order to know we like our wedding dress?!?!?"

A bit of a harsh reaction, I know. It was more out of disbelief than disdain, I swear. However, I still think the foundation of that reaction is sound. Even after spending the last thirteen months in the trenches of wedding planning (with five more to go!), I cannot process the idea that a women must see an flock of doves descending from heaven in order to know that her wedding dress is THE ONE. Isn't it our new spouses that deserve that kind of heavenly sign? ;)

All kidding aside, I worry about those who put too much pressure on themselves and their weddings to fulfill every dream they ever had of a fairytale wedding. According to the quote above, the dress was beautiful and cheap and made the bride-to-be's mother cry. Why can't that be enough?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Bridesmaid Dresses - In Person!

Ta-da! Here is one of my bridesmaid dresses, hanging in the changing room of the J.Crew store in SoHo. I was in NYC for New Year's with one of my 'maids and we headed down to the store on Saturday afternoon. She tried on the Sophia and liked it, so she ordered one.

I loved seeing the dress in person (clearly, since I took a picture with my camera phone). I have a swatch of the Mediterranean Blue color and I know what the fabric is like, since my dress is made of the same. I've also seen a photo of my sister in her dress. But, until this weekend, I hadn't ever seen the dress itself in person.

I was also a tad concerned about the color. A friend who is getting married this spring/early summer bought this dress for her maid of honor and didn't like the color when it arrived. I can see where she's coming from - the dress is definitely darker in person than online or in the swatch. However, I like this darker blue quite a bit.

As of now, I know for a fact that three of four bridesmaids/groomswomen have bought their dresses and am waiting to hear back from the fourth. With under six months to go, I'm happy to know that those ducks are almost all in line!