Friday, April 27, 2007

Martha Stewart is coming to Michaels!

Well, not in person. But her crafts. Martha Stewart - Crafts

As a special Michaels Crafts Store customer, heh, heh, I've been invited to a pre-viewing of the Martha Stewart's crafts line that will exclusively begin regularly appearing on your local Michaels Crafts store shelves.

I'm strangely excited by this. Perhaps it's because I secretly idolize Martha Stewart? And now with her crafts within reach, perhaps some of her Marthaesqueness will rub off on me? We'll see.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Group Discounted Air Travel

My last pre-exams project was to nail down accomodations. I have negotiated my way to some great hotel block rates (due to the fact that we have such a large number of out of town guests), and now I've set my sites on airfare.

However, I distinctly remembered reading on a friend of a friend's wedding website, that select airlines had offered percentaged discounts for her guests travel. And you know me, always looking for that darn bargain!

So I started the search with the usual suspects like groople.com, sidestep.com, and travel buddy, but most of these type of sites wanted my guests to leave from the same destination, same time, same place. Cookie cutter travel.

Instead, I decided to contact the major airlines directly, and here are the results:

AirCanada: 10%
American Airlines : 5% - and they give you really cool inserts for your invites
Continental Airlines: 2-15% (varies with price of ticket)
United: Cookie Cutter
USAir: Cookie Cutter
Delta: Currently cookie cutter, but apparently about to change their program later this summer.

One tip, when calling the airlines to ask for rates, or to book agreements, ask for their meeting or convention group discounts. Apparently, they have different strokes for different folks....

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pregnant Bridesmaid

So, it is official! One of my bridesmaids is pregnant!

The conversation went something like, talking about random stuff, talking about wedding, talking about more random stuff, and then "OMIGOSH!!! - out of nowhere." "What," I said, "What's wrong?" "AM, I think I'm pregnant...." "Really??!!!," I shouted as I barely contained my enthusiasm. "Yea," she said softly, with slightly less enthusiasm. (This was not planned, they have just bought a house and were planning to get pregnant next year. So it took a little adjustment period for her).

This was us three weeks ago on the phone. She literally took the test while she was on the phone with me. Which, in hindsight, explains her absences during the call. LOL.

Well, she just had her first doctor's appointment, and it's official.

I was torn with being excited for her on a girlfriend level, but also knowing how taxing a wedding can be, not to mention all the spotlight, and wondering if she would still be able to participate as a bridesmaid. So, I left the decision completely up to her as to whether she still wanted to go through with it. And, it's funny, but she never even considered backing out.

We'll obviously have to make some special accomodations for her along the way, but I'm just so glad that she can still be a part of the day.

And every cloud has its silver lining: my bridesmaids measurement and dress payment procrastinations actually serve us well now, as we could still make adjustments to the maternity bridesmaid dress, I affectionately like to call it. The dressmaker suggests that we make my friend's dress an empire waist instead of the dropped waists on the bridesmaids dresses. Hey, whatever works - I'm all for it.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Photo Booths

While I haven't added many extravagances to my wedding, I have to admit that I've been harboring a slight desire to rent a photo booth machine.

Maybe it hearkens back to my early love of taking photo booth pictures, or frankly photos in general? Ok, yes, I'm a starlet and LOOOVE to take pictures. Or maybe it's just because I'm a sap and extremely sentimental, and LOVE to keep EVERYTHING - matchbooks from restaurants, movie stubs from movies, tickets to plays, 3 years later, every time Mr. AM and I go on a date, there's a memento that gets stashed away that night. Yes, I know I'm a little off.

Soooo, as I was reading the New York Times, I saw a photo of a couple who obviously had rented a photobooth at their wedding, and I got super excited, cause while I figured the guests would take photos in the booth, it did not register in my mind that WE could as well!!!!

How much fun would this be?

Well, that's exactly what I'm going to figure out when I research the pricing - after exams that is....

A Better Idea?

After many sleepless nights, including last night, agonizing over the details of the bridesmaids gowns, I'm faced this morning with another alternative. While visiting a local bridal store with one of my bridesmaids, I saw up close the dress I've passed and gazed at lovingly for months in the store window. I had looked at it with disappointment all those times I'd passed it because my sister, the MOH, had told me countless times that she did not want to wear a tea length gown. I had myself been convinced that only a floor length gown would do. That was until I sent her the picture of this champagne gown and told her how I had seen a girl wearing ivory shoes that would compliment it wonderfully, if only I could find out what they were. Never did I expect that she would respond so enthusiastically... about the gown.. in BLACK.

Can black work for bridesmaids? It certainly would look very nice with the tuxedos, I reasoned. Then I found the shoes I'd seen in the store on the stranger... in that exact hue.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

They really do seem to be a match made in heaven. They are certainly (both) re-wearable. Have I changed my mind? Have I finally decided on an ensemble I can commit to?

We shall see!!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Details, Details....

Well, my final exams for my 1st year of law school start a week from today. Yet, all I can do is stress about all the planning that still remains to be done before my August nuptials. Should we just go ahead and sign the reception contract or wait to hash out every last detail? Where should we honeymoon? Should we go back to Turks & Caicos (the most beautiful place either me or M have ever seen) or should we go someplace NEW that we haven’t seen before and hope it meets our elevated expectations?

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And what church will we get married in? M and I are active members of an AMAZING church in VA called McLean Bible Church through which we attend Frontline (their young adults services) but the church is not a traditional church by any stretch. After spending enough to feed a small country in springing for my Melissa Sweet wedding gown, I no longer see a hotel as being the correct venue for our ceremony. I want a nice long aisle to drag my flowing train down. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket But none of the churches I’ve contacted will marry non-members. I’m beginning to worry we won’t have a ceremony at all if there is not some divine intervention soon!

And what about invitations? Should I go with the custom choice I had drawn up that cost a pretty penny more than I had hoped or should I keep searching for something more affordable now that I’ve used so much of my meager budget for a dress I will only wear once? (not that I regret the choice AT ALL.)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Sometimes I feel as though the details of the wedding are consuming my every thought. Last night I had to really take time to pray to God and just put all this worrying aside. Even in the midst of prayers, all those doubts started creeping back into my mind. Should I have waited to find a yellow bridesmaids gown as I had originally wanted? Was it a bad idea to put the MOH in brown and everyone else in toffee? Why do I care so much about every LITTLE detail that even my prayers can’t be safeguarded from the anxiety?

I’ve decided that I will pull back a little bit and just go with the flow. I will stop worrying. Wedding planning is supposed to be fun… not this much stress. I realize that I put too much pressure on the details, which surely work themselves out at some point. It’s time I had a little faith!

Now, it’s time to focus on exams… In the meantime, I’ll be waiting on the copious invitation samples I spent this week ordering and hope that my sanity returns sometime prior to August…. M and I are beginning a Preparing for Marriage class at our church starting next Saturday so hopefully that will remind what this marriage and wedding stuff is all about. It’s not just about ONE day…it’s about a lifetime. Perhaps focusing on that will get me through this rough patch. Now…. If only I felt better about EXAMS!!!

My grandmother often reminds me that “this too shall pass.” Hopefully I will, as well!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

As seen on Daily Candy: Maptotes

Maptotes are just what their names implies: Tote bags with maps on them.

They are made of cotton and a cute idea for Out of Town guest bags, as you guessed it, they already have a map of your wedding city on it!

Online at maptote.com.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

As Read on the New York Times

"A jazz lover and a saxophone player were immediately drawn to one another, despite their differences in age, race and profession."

He is 34, she is 51. He is black, she is white. He is a professional musician, she is a CEO of a large hospital. He lives in New York, and she lives in Miami - even after the wedding....

The aspect of their difference that struck me the most was their gap in age. Have do you feel about May/December romances? I thought 30-50, what a wealth of life experience that is simply missing from this relationship; what about children?; what do they have in common? where questions running through my head, and my mind continued to ponder the state of their relationship all throughout the week (whenever it got a free moment from mourning my computer's death.)

Because it's ohhh-so-easy to do when you're not a part of it....

But, it's funny, while I was originally struck by the age difference, as I typed the many differences between the two, I was struck by how much DIFFERENCE there is between the two.

So I leave this out there: How much difference is too much difference?

Venue Modification/Solution

We've managed to curtail the spacing issue, by a brilliant plan (if I do say so myself), to use the church's hall space as our "cocktail - minus the cocktails" hour space, and then use the reception space solely for the reception. This allows us to use all of the space to seat guests instead of parcellling up the venue between the cocktail hour and the sit-down reception.

Everyone involved loves this idea, and an added bonus is that it gives us an extra hour of reception time that doesn't get used up by the cocktail hour! Lovely, lovely!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Michael's Premades

I just received the Michael's weekly sale ad, and this item caught my eye:

For those that love gerbera daisies, or umm, whatever the second flowers is, these would be cute, inexpensive centerpieces, if they work with you colors.

They are on sale for $2.37 each until Thursday, April 21.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

I Found the ONE!!!

So after months and months (and I do mean to emphasize as I've been stalking Theknot.com and Brides.com for over a year now!) I've been dreaming about my perfect wedding gown. There was one that had stuck in my mind after I had tried it on during initial hunting but it didn't go with the theme I was pursuing then (traditional, ballroom-type atmosphere, peonies, etc.). The first time I referred to it (when I was 10lbs heavier), I called it the "straight-jacket" wedding gown, because it is banded with double bands that wrap around it and appear to tie in the back. During the winter months, I often thought about the straight-jacket gown and how beautiful it would look in candlelight. So you can imagine how eager I was to try it on again when I decided on a more modern approach with calla lilies as the flower of choice, in a candlelight-drenched room far from a typical ballroom!

My sister (the maid of honor) drove in from NY for the day to help me pick my wedding gown. Now, THAT is dedication!! We spent over 3 hours and were there till closing trying on gowns... not me, though... her! After trying two others (after I already tried on the ONE) I was decided. I had made my mind up and there was no going back. I have not regretted the choice since. The straight-jacket it was, or better said, Melissa Sweet's Nicollete.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

So, in the meantime, my sister found the bridemaids gown. It's very simple and understated. It is a long A-line gown with a double band that wraps around the top and has buttons down the back. Very elegant. We decided that she would wear chocolate brown and the other girls would wear toffee which is like a rich champagne/caramel type color that totally compliments the room we are having it in. So what if it is in August? Brown is such a striking color and very fashionable these days and who is going to tell me I can't choose those colors? The wedding police?!?

Anyway, in any case, I learned a very very important lesson. If you wait till 4 months before the wedding to choose a gown, you will pay through the nose for it. 300 dollars to ship the gown and it will get here only THREE weeks before the wedding. No added pressure!! Plus, I was not happy to find that it costs 500 or upward to alter this thing. I am under 5 feet tall so it will certainly need alteration.

All in all, I am very very pleased and I cannot wait until July 15 (my hubby's birthday) to see my beautiful gown and wear it again. I swear after the wedding, I'm going to wear it all around the house!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Spa Week!

I Looooove spa week.

This will be my first Washintonian Spa Week, but I imagine that it will be just as delicious as they are in New York.

Not to mention that it couldn't have come at a better time. Dealing with the death of my good friend, Elderly Computer, and getting through the last week of my law school semester deserves a spa visit.

And I'm sure you do too!

Details: April 16 - April 22. Participating spas offer treatments for $50
Check out: http://www.spaweek.org/

Meltdown update

My computer died.


Well, it's hard drive did at least. As with most things, the hard drive is replaceable. My information, however, is not. Hopefully, I should be up and running on Thursday.

*sigh* this will be another tough week. I'm hoping it passes quickly. I imagine that my fiancee does too, as he will be quite happy to have his computer back, minus all the new wedding links and searches that seem to have currently infiltrated his domain.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Meltdown - Life related

I had a semi- M-E-LLLL-T-D-o-w-n today.

My beautiful laptop is on life support as I write, (on Mr. AM's computer) and on its way out. Now normally this would be a traumatic event, particularly as nothing is backed up, but this is a life ending, earth shattering, I don't know how to go on event for me. I finish school in a week, and start exams thereafter. I want to die.

It's funny how the death of your computer puts your life on computer into perspective. All those shoulda woulda backups now seem so tangible, so full of purpose.

New losses kept popping into my head all day, Ohhh, our pictures from Miami, ohhhh, all of my wedding - scrapbook collecting what bouquet, dress, venue - I want pictures, OHHHH the wedding guest list, OMIGOSH the wedding guest list! AND addresses, OHHH NO!, And so on and so on. My mind is a whirlwind. All this after contemplating the horrific loss of my entire law school semester - of which I have exams in a couple of weeks - I think I mentioned that already, but it's a sore spot right about now.

I keep a chirpy, somewhat sated, denial like, zen mentality as my computer is currently at the the computer doctor, otherwise dubbed "Geek squad member" - who I told in very certain terms, "this is my life, you cannot let it die, at least not without retrieving all of my information first, as I literally put on the intake form, when asked what information I wanted retrieved: EVERYTHING!

So we'll see. I have faith. We've been through a lot together. Me and my laptop. I'm sure she'll pull out of this one.

And if she doesn't she'll grace with me her files at the very least. Please....I pray.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Venue Averted

Went to visit the "potential" venue this morning. However, it was not what we had expected. We've decided to stay with our aptly themed "cosy venue," and as will happen much in life, make do.

Next project. Uhhh. Floor plan design.

Wedding venue change

I know I posted about being a two-venue bride. Well, it may be a reality....

I'm in a possible conundrum - a slight tizzy if you will. I went to an event that my future aunt in law invited us to this weekend at my to-be reception site as a way to support her, and see what our site would look like all dressed up.


We have quite a large guest list. And, my worst fears were confirmed. The venue will be cramped, cramped, cramped. Soooo, my future AIL had mentioned a new site she came across in wedding planning for another bride (she's a wedding planner).

So, I am off to check out that site. I may just be posting the availability of my current site when I get back....


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Bridal Showcase - Hyatt Regency Baltimore

I am quite excited. I will be attending my first Maryland/DC bridal show today! After months and months of planning I've never actually attended any of the bridal shows. I went to one in NY before I moved, but never here.

I'm looking forward to it.

In case any one else is interested:

Hyatt Regency Baltimore
300 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

Doors Open 11:00 a.m.