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?

Monday, January 25, 2010

To No A-veil

This is one bride who will not be wearing a veil at her wedding. And let me tell you, don't try telling that to any of the nice ladies who work at wedding dress shops, b/c they will look at you as if you have TWO HEADS. I was actually politely forced into trying on a veil on my first wedding dress shopping trip. But seeing as I found the dress of my dreams on that day, I guess the forced veil wearing can be overlooked.

While I do think veils can be quite beautiful, I'm not quite comfortable with some of the ideas that they represent. Keeping the bride all covered up and pure until her husband first lays eyes on her at the altar? Nope. I'm just not going for that. (As a side note, to all of you brides who are wearing veils, I am not attempting to place any sort of judgment on you. Like I said, veils are beautiful, and there are lots of other symbolism for the veil than what I just mentioned here.) In any case, I have made my decision that I will not be wearing one of these:

or these:

or these:

Despite the fact that they all are gorgeous.

But I still do think that my head is gonna need a little extra somethin' somethin' for my wedding day. Headbands and feather fascinators are gorgeous...

But I think that in my case, a hair flower might just do the trick. (Remember? Garden wedding? Flower? Yeah. It totally works.)

Perhaps a live flower:

...or in orange, to go with our wedding colors:

Orange mini calla lilies -- According to our florist, these flowers will stand up to the heat all day, and they won't wilt, so they make for some excellent hair flowers.

But recently I've started to lean towards a fabric flower, so that I don't have to worry at all about anything wilting throughout the day. Like maybe one of these:

...or these:

...or these:

So how about you? What will you be wearing on your head for your wedding day?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

No Longer a Michael's Virgin

Today the Architect and I went out for a quick shopping trip to cash in on some of the gift certificates that we received over the holidays. While we were out, we decided to stop by our local Michael's to see what all the hype was about.

Let's just say it was affordable crafting heaven over there. I scoped out several items that I will definitely be using in some upcoming wedding projects, including one very elusive item that I really wanted for our favors but thought I would never track down. I'll tell you more about that soon, I promise.

We ended up walking out of the store with only a single item in tow... although I'm sure we will be back for more soon. For only $8.35 I am now the proud owner of this lovely...

corner punch!!

And I am now resisting the urge to round the corners of every single spare piece of paper that I have sitting around our apartment. Hopefully I don't get bored b/c right now it looks like I will probably be rounding the corners of at least 70 wedding invitations, reply cards, and map enclosures over the coming months.

And now a question: What single crafting supply has been the most useful to you on your trip to the altar?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Final Installment of the Dress Saga

I told you last time about how I finally purchased the dress of my dreams. However, the dress story has one more twist that I have to share.

A happy bride-to-be walking out of Yolanda's (where I bought my dress!)

Just a few weeks after I purchased my dress I received a strange phone call from my mom. Actually, I was napping when she called (yes, I'm an adult who loves to nap!), so I didn't pick up the phone. But when I woke up from my nap I checked my messages, and heard my mom say something along these lines:

"You need to call me back immediately. Don't worry, nobody has died, but you absolutely need to call me back."

I'm glad she told me that nobody had died, b/c the tone in her voice was foreboding. I called my mom back immediately, and this was when she told me that she was watching the news, and the #1 news story was that Yolanda's (remember, the shop where I bought my dress?) was going out of business.

Closing? Seriously? But I had just put a 50% deposit down on my dress. I had heard all sorts of horror stories from other brides online, complaining that their wedding venues or caterers had gone out of business before their weddings, and they had lost their deposits. Plus they had needed to start their vendor searches again from scratch. But I had just found my dream dress. That was supposed to be my dress. How could the store be going out of business? Would I get my dress? Would I get my money back? I did what any normal(?) bride would do and started freaking. out.

My mom and I both tried to get in touch with the dress shop, but it didn't make matters any better that pretty much every single bride in the entire city of Boston was also trying to call Yolanda's at the same time -- trying to figure out what was going to happen to their beloved dresses. I wanted to know what was going to happen to my dress too, but I couldn't get through to the store. The phone lines were completely jammed. In the meantime, I was receiving emails from pretty much everyone who knew that I had bought my dress from Yolanda's saying "Did you hear that Yolanda's is going out of business??". Umm, yeah. Got the memo. Thanks.

My mom kept calling the dress shop, and after an hour or so she finally got through. And finally we got some good news. Yolanda would be sending a letter to everyone who had recently ordered a dress from her shop. The dresses would all be delivered as promised, but to another dress shop in downtown Boston. Also, while Yolanda's would be closing, Yolanda would still be reachable at her same phone number, for as long as we needed her.

Big. Sigh. Of. Relief. Crisis averted. ...and as you know, my dress came in over the holidays, as promised :-)

Did any of you have any similar drama associated with your wedding planning? Did any of your vendors (gasp!) go out of business in this dismal economy?

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Dress!!

Ok internet. Who wants a little peeky peek at my wedding dress?

Yeah, ummm, this is your cue to GO AWAY ARCHITECT! For the rest of you, please click below to see pictures of wedding dress loveliness.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Oh Brother Where Art Thou?

Here in our household we have spent the last couple of weeks waiting for a big box to arrive in the mail. ...and it finally arrived on Thursday. What was inside that box, you ask?

This amazing contraption:

A printer!! Specifically, the Brother HL-4070CDW. Yes, the Architect and I have been a bit slow to jump on the bandwagon, but we finally decided to purchase a home printer. And oh if you could only imagine the plans we have in store for this guy. Invitations, wedding programs, escort cards and so much more. It's gonna be a DIY bonanza. (Ok, and maybe it will be useful for other things relating to the Architect's work and whatnot.)

Have you made any major purchases to help you with your wedding DIY projects?

Saturday, January 16, 2010


While we are definitely planning a secular wedding ceremony, the Architect and I are still planning on giving a little shout-out to our heritage throughout our wedding. In particular, we (or more precisely, I) would like to honor my Jewish heritage. My parents chose not to raise me with any particular religious upbringing -- and I come from a family with both Catholic and Jewish backgrounds. However, I have always felt a strong tie to the Jewish culture. My family cooks brisket, eats challah, I try (and often fail) to eat no leavened foods for 8 days every Passover, and we celebrate Hanukkah along with Christmas. I even begged my mom to send me to Hebrew school when I was a kid, while all of the other Jewish kids in my neighborhood wanted nothing more than to get out of their Hebrew school responsibilities. I know. I'm a weird one. So I feel that it's important to add some Jewish aspects into our wedding ceremony. We will definitely be breaking a glass. We will also have a chuppah.

A what-ah? You ask.

A chuppah.

Remember the scene in "Meet the Parents" where Owen Wilson is carefully carving a wedding altar, and he shows it to Ben Stiller's character, stating that "your people might call it a chuppah"? Yeah. One of those.

I've read a variety of different explanations of the meaning behind the chuppah. This one is my favorite so far:
"The chuppah is supposed to represent the new home the couple is creating together. The lack of walls in the structure is meant to symbolize the welcoming of everyone into the home as well as the tradition of Tzedakah, or charity." -- Miss Trail Mix on Weddingbee

Here are some of my favorite examples of chuppahs:

This is pretty much the craziest, most awesome, most creative chuppah that I have EVER seen. I have absolutely NO idea how they constructed it. Our chuppah is certainly going to be a bit more modest than this one.

This one is from my friend C's wedding. They used driftwood to build a chuppah for their beach-side wedding.

...with flowers

Birch chuppah -- I think we're going to go with something like this.

In addition to having a chuppah, and breaking a glass at the end of the ceremony, I was really hoping to dance the hora at our wedding and have our guests raise the Architect and me up in chairs as they dance. Unfortunately, the Architect is totally not sold on this idea. He thinks that our guests will drop him. (I think he's crazy, since he's not too heavy.)

See? Nobody dropping the groom!

Oh well, you win some, you lose some. That's all for this installment of Jewish wedding traditions. Now we just need to figure out how to incorporate the Architect's cultural and (non-)religious upbringing into our wedding as well.

Are you trying to include traditions to represent your culture or religion while planning your wedding? What specific traditions will you be including?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

To Bake a Cake

Now don't you go thinking for even a second that I am the type of bride who will be baking her own cake. I am totally amazed by the brides who pull that off... and I'm more than a little bit envious of these very talented women. But, me? Bake a wedding cake? Not gonna happen. Unless our guests want to eat something that looks like this:

...and might just taste worse than it looks.

(On a side note, for those who are actually interested in baking and decorating their own cakes, check out the work of Miss Hamster on Weddingbee. She made her own fondant. Seriously. And it looks Ah-May-Zing.)

I however will be going the good ole' traditional route and hiring someone to bake my wedding cake. More expensive? Ok, yes. But (hopefully) guaranteed to taste and look great.

Before calling up bakers, the Architect and I sat down and had a little pow-wow to discuss what sort of cake (and potentially other desserts) we wanted at our wedding. We both LOVE cake, so it was easy for us to decide that we wanted a traditional wedding cake. We also decided that we wanted a second dessert choice -- something that screamed "wedding in Maine". So of course we decided to go with blueberry pie. ...or more aptly, a blueberry crumble with streusel topping, since this is a favorite dessert of the Architect's.

Blueberry crumble. Yum. Am I making you hungry yet?

Next I got to work on finding inspiration photos for cake designs. Like with every other aspect of our wedding, we're going for designs that scream simple-yet-elegant, and traditional-with-a-modern-twist. Here are some of the ones that I particularly liked:

Simple. Pretty. And it incorporates our wedding colors!
*This image, and all of the other cakes below are from theknot

Marzipan fruits. Yum.

Hmmm... uneven tiers are a thought. ...and I'm loving the use of our wedding colors here!

This cake, and the rest below are not in our wedding colors, but could be easily altered to include a bright pop of orange.

White buttercream and chocolate sticks. Really, how can you go wrong?

I'm loving the asymmetrical ribbon of chocolate that swirls around this one.

Square tiers = modern?

Yum, yum, and yum. Please don't tell me you're not hungry after seeing all of these cakes.

Any guesses on which one we decided to go with? And just for kicks, which one is your favorite?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oh Bugger!

We're getting married in late July. Outdoors. In Maine. On the coast.

To some this might bring to mind pictures of tranquility like this:

Does this image look familiar? It's the Asticou Inn, where we'll be getting married :-)

To others, who have spent time in New England in the summer, the idea of a coastal Maine wedding might bring to mind pictures like this:


That's right. Bugs. Mosquitoes in particular, and LOTS of them.

Now I for one would really like our guests to enjoy themselves at our wedding, and foster fond memories once they return home. Not memories of swatting away mosquitoes and scratching itchy red welts.

Enter our wedding bug control plan. I spent some time this afternoon scouring the internet for deals on individually-wrapped bug spray wipes. We are planning on providing a basket of these wipes at our wedding, with a cute sign encouraging our guests to use the bug spray or suffer the (itchy) consequences. We're also planning on tossing some of the wipes into our out-of-town bags, so that our guests can hit the trails for some hiking during our wedding weekend without having to first hit up a local drug store for a can of Off. I'm thinking 2 wipes per person in the OOT bags, and a single wipe per person in the self-serve basket at the wedding. That adds up to approximately 300 wipes, if we wind up at our goal of 100 wedding guests. (If you're wondering, we decided to go with wipes, rather than cans of bug spray, since most people will probably not want to get smelly chemical-filled bug spray all over their formal attire. The wipes are much neater, since you can just wipe the bug repellent on areas of exposed skin.)

Thanks to google's shopping results, this is what I came up with:

Tender Ben's tick and insect repellent wipes -- 30% DEET. $3.67 for 12 individually-wrapped wipes at

...and for those who would rather not use DEET:

Natrapel all-natural, deet-free bug spray wipes. 12 individually wrapped wipes for $4.94 at

We'll probably order a mix of these two products, since some of our guests will definitely prefer the all-natural bug repellent, while others are known to appreciate the stronger and more reliable version that contains DEET. For somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 for 300 individually-wrapped bug spray wipes, I'd say we've found ourselves a deal, non?

Anyone else have any interesting (bug-related, or otherwise) considerations for their outdoor wedding?