Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Gift for our Guests

I absolutely love receiving as well as giving gifts, so of course I want to be able to repay our guests for their kindness for attending our wedding, with a party favor. However... I really really don't want to end up giving out one of those favors that will just end up in the trash. (Hello, beer cozy with the wedding couple's names printed on it!?)

I feel like every wedding I've been to lately has gone the "edible favor" route. Those always seem to go over well, but we were hoping to choose something a little different (and longer-lasting than an edible favor!) as a favor for our wedding. Sticking with our "garden wedding" theme I immediately thought of a plant-related gift. I love those little grow-it-yourself kits that I see in stores and in catalogs all the time, and everyone could use another plant in their house or their office, right?

Enter some of the cutest little plantable wedding favors. Just add water and sunlight, and a beautiful flower will be yours after a few short weeks:

The Bloem Box


These cute little tins come filled with seeds that will grow up into the flower that appears on the top of the tin. The paper band that is wrapped around the tin reads, "Happiness held is a seed. Happiness shared is the flower." Also, as an added feature you can create a custom tag with a nice message to your guests, as part of your order. Too cute, right? ...and at $6.50 a pop before shipping these are also just too expensive.

The Microgiardini

This one comes in a little soup can. You pop the top off of the can, place the can on your windowsill, add water, and your seeds will sprout right out of the can. Easy peasy. ...but at $9.95 per can, alas this favor is not so easy on the wallet. Strike two.

Ok, so sadly both of these options are totally out of our budget. $6 - $10 per guest times 100 guests equals WAY TOO MUCH. ...and this now brings us to the point where a light bulb lit up in my head, and a little voice said "I can totally make these myself for way less money."

I am currently playing around with some ideas that involve a little bit of Etsy, a little bit of Michael's, some ribbon, our home printer, and a whole lot of DIY-ing. You'll have to stay tuned to see the finished products.

Are you planning on DIY-ing your favors? What kind of favors did you decide on?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The OTHER Wedding Events

If you'll remember, last fall the Architect and I moved 3,000 miles away from all of our friends and family to start a new life on the west coast. Since moving to California we have had many exciting adventures, and we have absolutely fallen in love with the concept of no winter... BUT... we're kinda lonely :-( Starting a new life in a strange new place is hard, and making a new set of lifelong friends is even harder. We have a great group of friends back on the east coast, and we miss them immensely. So a big part of why we're so excited for our wedding is that we're looking forward to spending as much time as possible with our family and friends, who we miss SO much.

So to maximize the amount of time spent with family and friends during our wedding weekend, we have planned a number of additional activities, on top of the wedding itself:

Group Hike:
Many of our guests are looking forward to taking some extra vacation time up in Bar Harbor, since they're already going to be there for our wedding. For our guests who are already in town on Friday morning, the Architect and I are planning a group hike. There are so many hikes to choose from, but we're planning on picking an easy mountain with some spectacular views at the top. After the hike, we will probably all grab lunch together somewhere in Bar Harbor, and then we can spend the afternoon moving on to other important things like the rehearsal... and getting my nails done!

The Architect contemplating the mountaintop on one of our many Bar Harbor hikes.
*Personal photo

Golf Game:
Independently, my dad is organizing his own event for Friday morning -- a golf game. Through our wedding website we have announced that all interested golfers should get in touch with my dad. He will then organize the group, and split them into sub-groups if necessary. All levels are welcome... and a lot of my parents' friends have already expressed interest in a rousing round of golf.

One of the golf courses near Bar Harbor. Isn't it beautiful?

Rehearsal Dinner:
Then of course there's the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. We have decided to have a traditional rehearsal dinner, so the only invitees will be the people who are going to be taking part in our wedding ceremony (along with their families). We briefly toyed around with the idea of having a "welcome dinner" instead, but with 95% of our guests coming in from out of town, this could get really big (and really expensive) quite quickly. Instead we are opting for a more intimate rehearsal dinner where we can give out thank you gifts, and spend more one-on-one time with our families and wedding party members.

Friday Night Drinks:
...but lest you think we forgot about all of our many guests who will be arriving from out of town... after dinner on Friday night we are planning a brief meet-up at a bar. We'll grab a couple of drinks (and no more than that!) with our other out of town guests before we hit the sack for a very important night of beauty rest.

On Saturday we have the wedding of course...

Sunday Brunch:
Then on Sunday we will have a low-key brunch at a local hotel for all of our guests before everyone heads in their separate directions. My aunt and uncle have graciously offered to host this event, and I have been assured that blueberry pancakes will be on the brunch menu. It is Maine after all...

Are you planning any additional wedding events on top of the wedding itself? Do you think we're crazy for planning so many activities, or will we be able to pull it off?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Of Cupcakes and Registries

This past weekend the Architect and I headed out to try to knock one of those nagging items off of our to-do list -- registering. I think that registering for gifts is supposed to be fun, but for some reason we had been putting it off for weeks. Well, a sunny day, and the promise of sweet snacks finally lured us out of the house and over to the mall.

First we powered up with some oh-so-yummy cupcakes from the famous Sprinkles.

The Architect contemplating his cupcake

Yum! Red velvet.


"Do I have any cupcake on my face?"

Alright... once we had consumed sufficiently large quantities of sugar, we headed across the mall to Macy's to look at dishes and flatware. The Architect and I had already looked at our dish options online. We had even managed to narrow those options down to only a couple of sets that we were really interested in. Yet somehow, it took us almost a solid hour to decide which set we ultimately wanted to go with. Here are the contenders:

Vera Wang's Wedgewood Dinnerware in 3 colors

We liked the "graphite" color the best. For some reason the "white" and "khaki" colors just weren't doing it for us.

Dansk "Classic Fjord" dishes. We liked that they're not quite round, but not quite square... but they're definitely cool.

We went back and forth about a million times. We really loved the Vera set in gray, but we ultimately decided that food just doesn't look as appetizing on gray plates as it does on white plates... so our decision was made, and we decided to go with the Dansk set instead.

At this point it was time to talk to one of the nice employees in the wedding registry section at Macy's to actually set up our registry. Luckily one of the women was free, and she got right to setting us up and telling us everything we ever wanted to know about registering at Macy's. Along the way I may have also been talked into signing up for a Macy's card. All I can say in my defense is that they give you 5% back on everything that your wedding guests end up buying off of your registry. Ummm, yeah I'll take a Macy's card. Sign me on up! They even gave me a free tote bag for signing up. (Oh Macy's you know me so well. Give me a canvas tote bag in a bright color, and I will do whatever you ask of me.) After the free gifts, we were given our scanner, and off we went!

All ready to go with my new tote bag and scanner.

We immediately scanned our dishes. Btw... as a side note, we made the decision to not register for any fine china -- only nice everyday dishes. We're just not the "fine china" types. Plus, we don't have tons of extra cabinet space for an extra set of dishes that only gets used once or twice per year.

After we scanned our dishes, it was on to silverware. The registry department at our Macy's (and perhaps at all Macy's?) had a nice little table set up, where we could lay out our place settings to see how everything would look together. We took full advantage of this option, and laid out sets of our dishes along with our top contenders for silverware. The whole thing felt kind of like playing house, and the Architect and I were pretty amused.

Our setup. First: Dansk dishes with Kate Spade "Malmo" silverware.

Next up: Dansk dishes with Nambé "Glacier" silverware

More of the Nambé "Glacier" silverware

...But laying out place settings actually helped us to visualize what our dishes and silverware would look like together, and it made our decision a whole lot easier. We decided on the Nambé "Glacier" flatware to go along with our Dansk dishes. The perfect funky modern place setting for the perfect funky modern couple. (That's us!!)

I have to say, that after the experience of choosing our dishes and silverware, we were entirely worn out! At this point, the store was about to close anyways. We took a quick peek at some pots and pans before returning our scanner and exiting the store. Luckily, it's really easy to add more items to our registry online. I don't think we had any more shopping in us... and we still had two more registries to set up aside from the Macy's one. More on that next time.

How was your experience registering? Stressful? Fun? Overwhelming? Exhausting? I think ours was a little bit of each...

*All photos are personal photos unless otherwise noted.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

6 Months 'Til Go Time!


This is it! It's officially 6 months until the day when I will marry the Architect. An it is time to Stress. Out. Initially, after the Architect's proposal, when faced with 14 whole months until our wedding day I was the picture of calm. Sure planning a wedding is a huge undertaking. Sure it might be the biggest event that most people will EVER plan. But hey, I had 14 months. It was easy to keep my calm when, as of last July -- just over a year before our wedding -- I had already booked a venue, booked a florist, booked a band, asked my nearest and dearest to be my bridesmaids, found a dress, and was only several weeks away from booking our photographer. (Yes, I really did ALL of that more than a year out from our wedding. We knew we would soon be departing from the east coast, so we rushed to get all of the big details nailed down before we moved.)

But oh have the times a-changed. Since moving to California, let's just say that our wedding planning has slowed down a bit. Or a lot. Yes, we've made some progress. We designed a website and sent out save-the-dates. My bridesmaids have purchased their dresses, and we may have some leads on a rehearsal dinner location. But that's pretty much it for tangible progress. It doesn't help that we're getting married in a vacation town that pretty much shuts down over the winter. Most of my attempts to make phone inquiries about things like hotel rooms and restaurants have been met with answering machine messages implying that I shouldn't plan on having my call returned until the late spring. Grrr.

But seriously, this 6-month wakeup call signals that it's time for one astronomer to get back up on the wedding planning bandwagon. We don't have a rehearsal dinner location. We don't have a cake baker. We don't have a Sunday morning brunch location. And let's not talk about all of those DIY projects that I haven't even started, since it always just seemed like the wedding was so far away. Oh... and I haven't spoken to the wedding coordinator at our venue since October. Yep. It is time to start whittling away at this to-do list fo' realz.

Did the shadow of your impending wedding help to jump start your wedding planning? How far out from your wedding did the reality really set in? For me, the 6-month mark is scary. I can't even imagine how I'll feel at 3 months. ...or 1 month. Eek!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Engagement Ring

Oh my gosh, I must be the WORST wedding blogger ever. I just realized that I have never given you an up-close-and-personal look at my ring. I know I have shown pictures of it from afar... but I've never shown it up close in all of its blingy glory.

But first, a bit about my ring. I'm going to be honest. Yes it's a Tiffany. Yes, it cost far more than I will ever be comfortable with. And yes, I love it to death. It's simple. It's elegant. It's the perfect size of stone for my hand IMHO. And even though it's a really simple solitaire (which is exactly what I wanted), it's also something just a little bit different, due to the cut of the diamond. I'm not going to defend our purchase of a Tiffany ring. I realize that we could have probably gotten twice the diamond at the same price (or the same diamond at half the price) somewhere else. But I fell in love with this ring when I first tried it on. I was very clear with the Architect that I didn't expect him to get me this ring. But he decided that he was going to do whatever it took to get me the ring of my dreams, and I thank him profusely for that. I do admit though, that I usually go to great lengths to avoid telling people where the ring came from. Mostly b/c you never know what kind of reaction you're going to get. I don't want people to think that we're filthy rich. (We're not. At all.) I don't want people to think that we went into debt to purchase this ring. (We didn't.) I also don't want people to think that we're elitist or extravagant. (We're not. We're usually pretty simple people, although we do both enjoy the nice things in life.) I never meant to fall in love with a Tiffany ring (and btw, the cut is freaking patented, so we couldn't just go out and get the same stone somewhere else). It just kind of happened that way.

Ok, so that's my ring spiel. Now it's time for the pretty pictures:

Where did you find your ring?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Poet (and she didn't even know it)

Even though I update this blog regularly and write way too much about my wedding all the time, I have a confession to make. I HATE writing. I was that student in school who ALWAYS put off writing papers until the night before they were due b/c I just couldn't stomach the idea of sitting down in front of the computer to type. I would do every single other piece of homework first, before my writing assignments. Yet somehow, I am the daughter of an amazingly talented writer. ...and not just any kind of writer either. My mommy is a poet.

This is my idea of writing a poem:

"Haikus are easy. But sometimes they don't make sense. Refrigerator"

Whereas my mom writes beautiful poems like this:


wind's indian burn
around a missing arm
manic spiral
the fury-bottle shatters
oak-corpses fall like pick-up sticks
spoons plates forks
spray over the beach
the light wood bathhouse
wafts across the road
the road itself rises
straight up
to a jagged edge
exposing pebbles
all that makes a road

i'm dorothy
lifted over flung islands
hens-and-chicks we call them
martha's vineyard
up over cloud formations
over europe

through violet-tinger mists

to Laguna de los Cerros

the jaguar thunder-god's bled
so much rain onto the earth
all the pyramid-hills
are covered by a moss of trees

-by my mommy
From the book "Do Not Give Me Things Unbroken"

I love that my mom's poems use tons of imagery as well as all of the great literary sound effects -- cacophony, assonance, dissonance, you name it -- to really create images, sounds, and emotions. (Yeah, I totally paid attention in high school English class... even if I did procrastinate on my papers!)

So of course when it came time to figure out what we would do in terms of readings (and readers) at our wedding, it was a big no-brainer. We would ask my wonderful mommy to read a poem :-) I am delighted that she has agreed to write a new poem especially for the occasion of our marriage, and I'm sure we will absolutely love whatever she comes up with.

Are you having any special readings at your wedding? How did you choose them? ...and how did you choose your readers?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Meet the Groomzilla

Photo by Ashley O'Dell

Some men don't care too much about wedding planning. They let their fiancees make all of the decisions b/c honestly they just don't care about how to decorate the venue, what the cake should look like, and what kinds of flowers to incorporate into the bouquets. Some men think their job during wedding planning is to make sure that there is an open bar, an awesome band or DJ, and a fabulous honeymoon afterward (with lots of time to roll around in the sack). Some men are not designers. My fiance is. He cares about all of the wedding details. He wants everything to look just so. As do I. And I appreciate that fact. Usually.

But sometimes I get annoyed.

Because I spend hours researching floral arrangements, and I finally zero in on the perfect ones. But once I make my decision, the Architect checks out the pictures and tells me that I have it all wrong. "No, a single-color bouquet looks much better... and what's with all those accent colors anyways?"

Or because he won't hire a cake baker b/c she can't make The. Exact. Cake. That he saw online, and that's the ONLY design that will do.

Or because he is now just DYING for letterpress invitations, even though those were never in our budget (and there's no money left for them now).

Of course at the end of the day, I still love my fiance. He is wonderful, and I would never have him any other way. I love that he cares. ...even about the small things. And we will sort through these wedding planning issues, and be stronger for it. It's just one of those little bumps in the road that we are now walking down together.

Photo by Ashley O'Dell

What's your wedding planning dynamic? Does your fiance care about ALL of the details of wedding planning? ...or could he care less?