Wednesday, March 31, 2010

why yes officer I have my registry

Kirk and I finished picking out the registry items by the time we sent out the save the dates, which has its pros and cons. One problem with registering early: our dishes and cordial glass designs at Crate and Barrel have been discontinued. They're available online still, but in limited quantities and I have no idea if people will buy them. I'm almost convinced I should just buy those myself, in case they run out! Suffice it to say, you run the risk of discontinued items when you're a little overeager about registering.

On the other hand, it was nice to work on the registry in chunks at my leisure. I looked at knives one day and bedding the next. I wasn't rushed to finish picking things out for an impending shower, so I really mulled over all the choices. Pros and cons, people!

Even though I had so much time, I was still stressed about one thing: price points. I'm from a very middle class Midwest background. The real or imagined threat of registering for an item that was "too much" was eating away at me. I don't want to look greedy but I also want things I'll use and like.

So I settled on this strategy: balance. I picked out a few high quality and essential items, like pots and pans, and then balanced the rest of the list with more affordable things. We went with the assumption that most people will want to spend about $50, some more, some less. So we populated the list with a lot of things that either as a set or alone cost about $50 and then peppered stuff in the price gaps. I even got my Midwestern mom's approval on the prices, so I think I did okay.

Did you have any strategies when you registered?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I'm not dead

Just trying to finish these freaking invitations.

I'll do a full recap of them once I finish, but seriously: DIYing invites is a terrible, terrible thing. I have to go finish re-cutting envelopes liners because mine are crooked.

Shoot me.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

sash wars

I just had my second fitting today, which means it's time for sash wars. Or, which is better, organza or grosgrain?

If I do choose the organza, we'll cut down the width by two or three inches -- so those tails won't be quite as wide.

Which do you prefer?

Friday, March 26, 2010

countdown anxiety

This is a crap post. Sorry.

I'm in the middle of finishing my invitations, which means all other wedding projects are on hold until they're sent out. It seems like March zoomed by and I have accomplished zero things.

So I get anxious. I worry. We have no wedding bands, no first dance, an un-finished cake topper, programs, menus, and table numbers to print, neck ties to order, and no flower containers. I still think my reception space is kind of ugly. I need to find a vintage tablecloth for the chuppah. We need to order chairs for the ceremony. Details that make my stomach churn.

I want it all to go away. Please. And then magically appear in June.

Monday, March 22, 2010

press the button: the highs and lows of square envelopes

When I decided over a year ago that I wanted square invitations, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn't know they'd cost more to mail and I sure as hell didn't know I would battle my printer for hours trying to print addresses onto them.

Let's backtrack, though. I've held hand-written envelopes in high esteem ever since I started wedding planning. But very recently, the reality of bad handwriting being anywhere near my lovely invitations started gnawing at me. I even tried using a nib pen to somehow dress my handwriting up, to no avail. I checked various etiquette sources and the preference for hand-written seems to stem from the amount of time and care it takes to write them. Well, that's easy to solve:

  • I'm hand-lining the envelopes
  • My address font requires choosing from a variety of glyphs for each letter, which is time-consuming
  • I designed the whole freaking suite
  • I'm hand-feeding the envelopes into the printer, one by one by one
  • I'm printing part of the suite at home on an inkjet, which is a form of torture
So it seems I have all of my bases covered when it comes to care and time.

For the addresses I chose Burgues Script, for its calligraphic properties. It has swooshes and curls and all manners of flourishes -- ideal for faking my way to a pretty envelope. Because I know no ideal way to do this, I created individual documents for each address, setting the page size to 6.5" x 6.5", the size of my square envelopes. I fed one of my test envelopes into the tray, hit Print, and then... nothing.

"Paper Mismatch, Press Okay to Cancel."

I went to the Print Setup and tried to set the paper size to my size, but it wouldn't allow custom sizes! Oh the humanity. I could choose A6, a standard size I shirked -- why, why, why did I do that? For hours, I sat there, trying to come up with novel ways to trick my computer into printing my square envelope. Finally I decided it was InDesign's fault and typed an address in a Word document. Print.

A printed envelope came out, albeit printed on the wrong end. I examined the settings, needing to know what foul Microsoft magic made it print. It was set on Letter. I was an over-complicating idiot the whole time.

The moral of the story is: if you're using square envelopes, use the Letter size setting!

So for the next hour I sat on the floor feeding the envelopes into the printer while Kirk hit Control P. The result was glorious:

I already have an edit to make, which is this: I spelled "Crown Point" wrong on 12 invitations. The above picture illuminated this fact to me.So the real moral of the story is: order way more envelopes than you actually need. Sheesh.

Have you had any epic struggles with technology?

Friday, March 19, 2010

and more cupcakes

It was a little cold after we stood outside in front of randomness, so we took shelter in a subway station.
That was my displeased face. Here's my happy face. Aw.
But as is wont to happen in a subway station, the familiar smell of pee became a bit too much and we headed out into the strangest park I've ever seen!
There were top hats. And person-shrinking dominoes.
Have you ever played the game Sorry? I hate that game. But alas, there was a Sorry piece too.
As our time with Shannon of Fromage Photography was drawing to a close, we stopped for one more treat: duh, cupcakes, at Philly Cupcake.
I loved this experience for two reasons: meeting Shannon, who is adorable, and getting comfortable in front of a camera. We acted as naturally as we can - we're pretty awkward folks - and it definitely seems to translate well in pictures. If you have a chance to do an engagement session, do it!

How did you decide to get engagement pictures?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

we had cupcakes

The tease is over. Our engagement photos are back and Shannon, aka Fromage Photography, did an amazing job.

We started at Reading Terminal market in Philly and I spied some cupcakes.
There were details too.
Then we started fake-exploring the city. We had really no idea where we were. This was apparently funny to me.
We held hands because that's about as mushy as I can get in public.
And then we crawled into the underbelly of the city... stay tuned!

Did you wing your engagement photo locations?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

flower balls

Back in January, I made some fabric flowers. I won't post a full tutorial: I used one found on OnceWed and it does a nice job of explaining the super easy process!

For each color, I bought a half yard of cotton fabric, plus a half yard of chiffon because I was in a daring mood. This produced 110 flowers. I also varied the size by using both the spool, suggested by the tutorial, and the bottom of a glass. You can easily make bigger ones than that too. For the chiffon, which turns out to be evil, I had to cut large squares because I could not trace circles onto the fabric.

It is definitely time consuming, so I recommend using an assembly line approach. I enlisted Kirk and we spread the project out over several days, doing one color each day. I'd say it took over two hours to cut and sew a half yard, with both of us working simultaneously. Kirk took a bit of a shortcut and folded the fabric twice when he was tracing circles, producing four circles at a time instead of two. But seriously, it's so mindless. You'll become an expert at threading a needle and tying knots in no time -- because that's the most challenging part of this project.

If you have a ton of patience and perhaps an entire TV series to watch, these are great. I love that it's a way to completely incorporate the color scheme and a little girly. Now, how do I use these in my wedding? At first I wanted to do the garland thing, but I wasn't sure where to hang them without being forced to make even more flowers -- like the railing at the reception hall would need way more flowers. I'm ambitious but not THAT ambitious.

Then recently I had a duh moment. I have a giant candy jar that's too big for candy and a bunch of fabric flowers. I'm not yet convinced it looks good, but maybe it'll grow on me.

The entire cost was about $30 for a total of 2.5 yards of fabric. I didn't buy sale fabrics, so you could certainly cut costs there. I've ended up with over 100 flowers though!

Did you embark on a DIY journey with no clear use or application? How did you end up using your creation?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

engagement photos.. I tease, I tease!

Back in January on Kirk's birthday, we visited Philly for our engagement photos. One of the bees, Ms. Candy Corn, had advertised on Weddingbee that she was doing a few pro bono sessions to build her portfolio and I jumped at the chance. Our wedding day photographer, Heidi Geldhauser, is based in Atlanta, so we probably would have skipped these if it weren't for Candy Corn's generosity!

When it came to picking out the wardrobe, I will admit there wasn't much rhyme or reason. I wanted us to look coordinated, but not matchy matchy. This is the breakdown!

My outfit
  • Long-sleeved black onesie from American Apparel (necessary for the short skirt!)
  • Green faux taffeta mini from H&M
  • Black dotted tights from Express
  • Gold bow platform shoes by Coach, found at DSW 
  • Fuchsia coat from Express eons ago
His Outfit
  • White button down from J.Crew
  • Pink, Green, and Black plaid tie by Isaac Mizrahi for Target
  • Black v-neck sweater from H&M
  • Jeans from H&M
  • Brown loafers by Calvin Klein from Macys
  • Green and blue striped military watch from J.Crew
  • Black pea coat from Express
My hair was a total afterthought. I intended to wear it down and straightened, but at the last minute decided to curl it. Well, curling never looks right on me, so at the very last-last minute I put it up in a bun. It wasn't ideal, but I think it worked out well enough.

The final result?

More to come, someday. How did you decide what to wear for your engagement pictures?

Monday, March 8, 2010

press the button: invites

When last we met on the subject of invites, I was working out some kinks. Suffice it to say, the kinks have been worked out because I got the letterpress portion of my invites in the mail last week!

I never revealed the final design, so here it is.

So I packaged this design in InDesign and sent it off to my letterpress printer, Lucky Duck Press. He's reasonably priced and easy to work with, so it was a pretty simple process. About a month later, I got my 50 invites and envelopes back. Without further ado, my invites.

I'm refraining from a full reveal because.. the rest of the suite isn't done! I'm flat printing the other components and I have yet to do it. Let's just hope they're done in a month.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

the not bachelor

I'm putting this out for the world: I'm uncomfortable with the concept of bachelor parties.

The tendency toward debauchery as a final send-off before marriage signals one thing to me: that marriage is a dead-end for sex and fun. If someone has to "live it up" before he gets married, why the f is he getting married?

Here's a particularly salient quote from on the bachelor party:

"Nothing says, 'I'm looking forward to my new life of monogamy!' like having a toned, naked, purring woman grind against your crotch."

Indeed! I know the knee-jerk reaction here is "you're obviously insecure and have trust issues." No, I don't actually think the majority of soon-to-be-married men cheat at their bachelor parties. That's not the deal here. It's the message of "I must get really drunk and look at many different types of boobs right before I get married," that bothers me.

Let's face it: my fiance hasn't been a "free man" in years. The last hoorah? That train left the station way before he proposed.

We're living in an age where marriage is a choice, not a foregone economic conclusion. We're not paired off because we have more dowry, have a better family, or can simply work a plow. We choose who we marry because of intangible reasons. In doing this we're saying I choose you over all other possibilities -- which is amazing. But for me, that also means the concept of a naked women-filled send-off is bogus: no one is marching these men to a marriage they don't want.

I'm not against the male bonding and "man" activities. The adventure variety of bachelor parties where they camp and hike and drink are pretty cool. I'm just over the idea that a man can only get married if he licks whipped cream off of a stripper's fake boobs.

I know I don't seem forward-thinking, that I probably sound repressed, and I must be a huge nag. My fiance hasn't even expressed an interest in strippers. I just wanted to stand up for everyone a little or a lot uncomfortable with the traditional stripper-tastic bachelor party.

So where do you stand on bachelor parties?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

unveiling the veil

Where veils are concerned, I don't have a clear vision at all. The only veil I've ever worn was my communion veil, which I will admit was pretty exciting as a third grader. Still, having no veil ideas, I gathered up my options.

At first I was really enamored of the look of dropped veils; they're so romantic. But since I'll be wearing my bangs down, I don't want a smooshed-bang situation caused by a veil laying on my face. Pretty, but no dice.


Then I ever-so-briefly considered a chapel length veil. It had drama, but more easily contained drama than a cathedral, which is such out of control drama I'd totally fall on my face. Drama. However, because I'm getting married in a garden ceremony and the guest list is pretty small, I was a little worried a chapel veil would be too LOOK AT ME, MARVEL AT MY GRANDEUR.

I have some self-confidence issues pertaining to veils to work through.

Finally, I settled on waltz length. The reason? They're sometimes called ballet veils, which obviously meant I was supposed to buy one.

One thing I'll note is I decided all of this over the internet. I didn't buy my dress from a bridal store, which sort of precludes me from waltzing into one and trying on different veils with my dress. I'm sure they'd let me try on veils sans dress, but I really like the safety of shopping from my desk.

So of course I turned to the internet for purchasing. First of all, googling "wedding veil" nets you surprisingly crappy results. The few online retailers that appeared had such unsavory-looking sites, I nearly gave up there.

A couple of weeks ago, though, I was browsing through wedding links and came across Tigerlilly Jewelry. I knew they made sassy birdcage veils, but I didn't know they made traditional ones too. Their ordering process is pretty nifty and hassle-free. You choose the length, color, edging, and one or two layers. My ivory waltz veil arrived about 1.5 weeks after ordering, at a total of $60 with shipping.

I really like it... but I don't think this is waltz length! It hits right at my butt/fingertips, when I was expecting it to hit at about my knees. I'm perplexed.

What's your ideal veil length? More importantly, is there a consensus on how long a waltz veil should be? :)