Monday, December 31, 2007

'Tis better to Give than to receive!

I seem to be planning an entirely different wedding now!!! Before we were doing a whole wedding weekend with 150-200 people that included such things as renting out Dave & Buster's, personalized chopsticks, a gourmet coffee barista stand, a full karaoke setup, and bamboo steamers with gourmet chocolate fortune cookies for everyone!

We are pretty much having none of that now. But that doesn't mean it will be any less great!!! We're just taking a much different approach now - that of which is making me SO Much happier because it's so much more of who husband2be and I are! I love how life works out like that. :)

We are having just 50 or so people now and most of them are immediate family and our best friends (in the whole world) who were already in the wedding to begin with. We have already cut out a ton of "frills" but I'd like to, if I could, leave in some of what we were going to do - like guest favors!

Vicky (the lovely mastermind "Mrs." behind this Nearlywed phenomenon!) sent a great forward out to us Nearlyweds that "pays it forward" by giving to charity in honor of the guests that come and share the wedding day.

Being the daughter of a mother who is a Social Worker, I've been raised to do everything I can to affect the world in a positive way. CHANGINGthePRESENT.org is an amazing organization that connects people who want to just this but aren't sure just where to start. You can give charitable gifts of money that help do things like sponsor chimpanzees (*swoon!* This one is my favorite!!!), provide hygiene kits, or help a disadvantaged woman "dress for success" by helping to buy her a business suit. Each of these causes are in the $15-$90 range which isn't that ideal for wedding favors for guests but they do have ones that still make a difference and cost significantly less like helping provide materials to international artisans who make their living off their craft, help build foundations for playgrounds, and help demine sports fields for people to play on in third world countries. Each of these are $5 donations if you prefer to do individual gifts rather than one large one.

I'm a sucker for helping anyway you slice it. The site is incredibly comprehensive and cool to look around to find what pulls on your heart strings the most and I'm just about sold on this for our guests!

Oh my gosh!!! I could help SAVE ELEPHANTS!!! *sigh* I'm an even BIGGER sucker to things having to do with elephants!

Luxe City Guides

Recently I've read in a couple of magazines about Luxe City Guides. These accordion style guides are small enough to fit in your hand and they give an inside look to everything that is hot in the city you are visiting.

What I like about the guides - 1) they are created by style editors who actually live in the city 2) they are updated online a few times a year so if you buy one you are sure to get the most current information no matter when you go 3) they have guides for typical honeymoon cites like Rome and Paris but they also have them for cool cities like Dubai and Chiang Mai. 4) The guides are only $9 each and they look beautiful. It would be such a nice and thoughtful gift. 5) You can buy customizable sets. So if you or a friend is going to China you can get guides to Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Beijing all together.

For maps of your city and a lowdown on history you should stick to good ol' standbys like Lonely Planet, but if you want to know which restaurant is hot in Bangkok, where the chic ladies shop in Paris, or what tailor to go to in Hong Kong then pic up a Luxe City Guide.

Posted by Picasa


Lush Lavatories

OK I get a number of brides who go overboard with the restrooms, baskets of toiletries which in actuality would accommodate someone getting dressed from scratch rather than meet the very basic needs of going to the bathroom.... I can't wait to give them this idea. COLORED TOILET PAPER, to match your color scheme. I can see their faces light up now when they order these rolls of toilet paper made by Renova and we run down to their venue to count how many stalls there are and create a formula to determine how many times guest will use the bathroom to figure out how many rolls to order ( of course accounting for those of us, who just use way TOO MUCH PAPER!)

I love it.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

You Guys are the BOMB!

wedding blog awards

Wedding Blog Awards

Congratulations Nearlyweds,

Your trials and tribulations and earnest hard work striving for the wedding of your dreams has not gone in vain. not only are your weddings going to be absolutely fabulous, but you have been awarded the designation of Most Comprehensive Wedding Blog by Abby over at Wedding Blog Awards.

It's what i have know all along, you guys are the bomb!!!

Congratulations to each of you, you make me proud!!

Thank You Abby!

Platinum for '08

Ok everyone, time to do a little horn tooting. I am a horrible publicist for my firm. It's no secret that I am a full time planner, but I actually own a firm that is making a name for itself.
I don't know if I mentioned this little tidbit here or not but my firm, holy matrimony has been named to the Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Platinum list.

Yes, the wedding Bible has had their eye on our work and gave us their stamp of approval.


The advance copies of the magazine arrived the other day and yep, it's for real, we are there. And the mag looks fantastic. Get your copy as soon as it hits the stands and then TELL YOUR FRIENDS!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ringing in the New Year

First off, it's been a while. With the Iowa caucuses and the primaries on the horizon, I've been putting in major hours at work, not to mention all the social events and shopping that make the holiday season my favorite time of the year. Fiance and I have just returned from a beauiful week-long vacation in Ixtapa, Mexico and it's time to get back in to the swing of things.

In wedding news, we've chosen a wedding band pour homme. My fiance is not like most men when it comes to jewelry. He owns beautiful rings from Tiffany and Gucci and constantly begs me to let him rock an onyx pinky ring. He cannot wait for the day when he'll be able to show off his wedding band. I knew very early on I wouldn't get away with presenting him a simple platinum band. My man (just like us girls) is expecting diamonds...tastefully of course.

Being the bling fan he is, he did some extra recon while looking into the purchase of my engagement ring. Though he didn't buy my ring at Bailey Banks & Biddle, a Scott Kay men's band did catch his eye. Here's the one I ended up purchasing for him.

This band was pricier than my initial thought on what I would like to spend, however, I knew he had gone the extra mile to find the perfect ring for me. Scott Kay rings are well-designed and have the ability to match a personality to perfection. The diamonds are all high quality, these being in te E to F category. This particular band is availble in 6mm (first 2 photos) and 8mm (last photo) sizes.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Jessica Claire Giveaway!

weddingbee has already sounded the alert, but Jessica Claire is having her wedding photography giveaway for a lucky couple in 2008!! A renowned wedding and lifestyle photographer, Jessica shoots many of her peers' weddings as well--can't get a better endorsement than that! Check out the details of her contest on her blog: www.jessicaclaire.net

K.Amato Discount - 20% Off

K.Amato designs a wonderful line of reasonably priced jewelry that would make great gifts for your bridesmaids or for you to wear. Now they are an even better deal with 20% off. Just use discount code "PEOPLE" at checkout. She has a wedding line as well, but alas, it's special order and not avaliable for sale online.

^The Armitage. Originally $48, now only $38

^The Maple. Originally $60 now only $48

^The Barry. Originally $38 now only $30

^The Surf. Originally $70 now only $56
Posted by Picasa

Labels: , ,

The price of beauty

I'm 43 days from my wedding today.


Time sure flies when you change your wedding date and move it UP almost three months!!!

Let's not even get into the fact that invitations are... let's say... "in the works" still. *sigh* Cut me some slack! Argh.

Anyway, in addition to the dozen things that I still need to finish up (or even start to begin with!), my hair has been on my mind lately. I simply must do SOMEthing with my hair! I mean, definitely I need to do something for the wedding but I really need to do something BEFORE the wedding also. It's been since last April that I've had my hair trimmed - I KNOW. But I've turned into one of those types who just throws her hair in a ponytail or piles it on top of her head so things like split ends and limp locks aren't as easily noticed or fussed over.

If I could get away with it, I would TOTALLY whack all of my hair off in the way of a lovely little face-framing bob. I'm well aware of how trendy that kind of thing is these days but, but for the record, I was sporting that bob specifically starting in college and have done it every other year since so there! This year would have been my year to do it but the wedding is keeping me from going through with it just yet so that I can do one of the two following styles:

[both pictures taken from TheKnot.com]

I like the first style best but the bottom might go much better with my overall "look" as it's much more "princessy" than the more first more contemporary one.

I've been looking into stylists in the area and I'm likely to go with Up Dos for I Dos as recommended by my photographers. The prices are competitive and reasonable and the work I've seen of them has always been beautiful. The fact that they travel TO YOU on your wedding day at no extra cost is also something of a bonus. The only thing I wince at is the price - probably will end up being almost $300 with the tip with trials and final work!!! Dang! I thought wedding photography was lucrative!!! I'm in the wrong business!

The other option that I've looked into is going somewhere like Robert Andrew Spa and Salon in Gambrills. I've never seen any wedding hair of theirs and know them mostly from their work "servicing" the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders. Their services DO come at quite a price though and with a trial and final work would likely be over $300 and maybe even more like $4-500 (with tip).

Uhmmm... yeah. :-p

I'm all about looking gorgeous on my wedding day and this desire has been greatly inflated by the fact that I'm pregnant now and (as my older brother so "merrily" pointed out in his holiday wishes to me) quickly becoming "large and in-charge." Anything that I can do to make myself feel BEAUTIFUL I'm open to. But, call me a novice I guess, I'm just not used to paying so much for beauty treatments! Yes - in the past I've paid in the $50-$100 for a GOOD HAIRCUT but that's different somehow in my book. I've never experienced anything in the way of "spas" like massages or facials and I've also never had my hair professionally covered. I'm very inexperienced in that whole way.

*shrug* Such is the price of beauty, I guess. I'll figure it out.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Hello! I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas! I am currently in Naples Florida, after getting up at 3:30am this morning for the plane ride from Rochester NY, I am pretty exhausted right now, but I am at my parents place and have access to the Internet for the first time in a couple of days, so I wanted to wish my fellow nearly weds a happy holidays :)

FI and I had our engagement party this past Saturday, it was amazing. We had the best time and I have plenty to tell, but right now I have to go unpack and fall into bed, FI is getting in early in the morning, but I will post more about the Engagement party as soon as I can!

In the meantime here is a Funny Wedding Commercial To keep you amused, hopefully this won't be any of us :)

Andrew Reilly Photography

I thought I'd mention who we've hired to do our wedding photography. A friend had seen Andrew's photos for a wedding she was in and was blown away. I checked out his website and blog and scheduled a meeting at his office in Baltimore. We had already met with another photographer and scheduled meetings with others, but we cancelled them after talking with Andrew and seeing more of his work. His rates fit comfortably into our budget (especially since we are not ordering albums) and we were able to piece together a custom package from his a la carte list. I liked that his style is multi-faceted but very natural. Here are some of his recent images:

Check out more of his work at http://www.andrewreilly.com/

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A rose by any other name

When we were going to have our wedding in April, I was going to carry a bouquet of Lily of the Valley and Cream colored roses. Now with our wedding in February, I'm thinking that perhaps I should consider some other kinds of flowers since LOTV will not be in season just quite yet.

I've always been a huge fan of bright and bold colors. Since the only attendants we are having will be our flower girls and ring bearers, I don't actually have to worry about adhering to any kind of color palette anymore. Kind of exciting, I think! Now I have been dreaming of a bouquet that is all Bright Pink and Orange:

I like the first bouquet but the second one seems so much more dramatic to me (and I love that) in the way of color. The problem with either one is that whole thing of them being entirely comprised of roses.

Did I mention that my wedding is about five days from Valentine's day??? Couple that with the fact that I'm going to be getting a BRIDAL bouquet, why don't I already start selling my organs off with the price I can expect to be paying.

I know. Spare the drama. But it's not something that can be ignored or denied. And though I Am only buying one bouquet for myself and maybe a half-dozen or so boutienneres and/or corsages, I'm still trying to keep the cost reasonable.

Perhaps I should consider tulips??? Tulips are pretty too.

Christmas Favors as Wedding Favor

For Christmas fiance and I basically asked for Crate and Barrel giftcards because we have a lot of things to buy for the new condo. My sister included a Crate and Barrel catalog with my gift card and yesterday I was browsing through and spied the below adorable gift boxes.

I've been torn about whether or not to do favors. Part of me feels it's a waste and most people just leave them behind. But I always kind of like getting something small at weddings even if it is cheesy. If I was going to do favors I had some rules 1) couldn't be expensive 2) had to be somewhat useful 3) couldn't look cheap. I told myself if I ran across something like that then I'd buy but, otherwise I wouldn't bother.

Well, I think the gift boxes fit the ticket. 1) They are technically for Christmas but they don't look exclusively Christmassy so they could be used for any occasion. 2)I think they'll look adorable at each place setting. 3)They are a metal box with metal ribbon and lined in black velvet on the inside so they definitely don't look cheap 4) They are somewhat useful as technically they are ornaments so they could be reused at Christmas. They could also be used to hold something small like rings, or they could be regifted to someone else. 5) They are only $5.98 for a box of 4 which averages out to only 1.50 each (down from $11.95 per set). That's pretty cheap as wedding favors go.

I think we'll put a small candy or maybe the traditional wedding almonds on the inside. As a side note, you won't find these on the general Crate and Barrel website. You have to search in the catalog section and enter the catalog number (K2069). They come in silver and gold and naturally quantities are limited.

Posted by Picasa


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Perhaps the worst decision ever

First of all:
And now back to regularly scheduled programming...

So, there was a time when I had decided on The Shoes that I would wear on The Big Day.

Well, that was then and this is now.


I think I might be wearing Crocs on my wedding day. I know how terrible of an idea this is in terms of aestethics!!!! I KNOW. But here's the thing, now that I'm "with young" I'm no longer all too concerned with the whole idea of trying to be the typical "princess" bride. Well, not that I was concerned with that to begin with but I was at least trying to play it up for as much as it was worth.

The thing of it is for as much as the love/hate relationship does exist in the general public - that of which I was a participant of the "hate" side - They are UNBELIEVABLY comfortable!!! You just have no idea. I got myself a burgundy Mary Jane pair and I have basically worn them done to nothing. And even though the puppy chewed off one of the straps, I STILL wear them to run about the house.

It's been my intention to replace them since I've worn down the treads because I practically have lived in them alone since starting my teaching job but that brings up the whole question of what color. Do I get another burgundy pair that go with everything? Or, now that the wedding is a MONTH and a HALF away (Oh my land I cannot believe it!) and I'm now that much more open to wearing Crocs with my wedding dress (with the incredible searching I've done to find comfortable shoes that I won't topple over in now that my center of gravity has changed), I'm thinking maybe I should get a pair that I could wear with my wedding dress?

Behold the silver Mary Jane Crocs that I found:

Even I don't have the impaired judgment though I am such a fan now after faithfully wearing them to note that these are... less than pretty.


(No offense to you if you own these or if you like these. Seriously.)

What to do what to do.

I just don't know.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'

Hello. I'm back in action! My doctors put me in the hospital on Thursday and I got out yesterday. For the next week, I'm on bedrest (doctor's orders) but at least my blood pressure is acting as it should. *sigh* This is just craziness.

Anyway, I'm going to try and get as much wedding planning stuff done as I possibly can. There are invitations that need to be ordered and SHOULD HAVE BEEN ordered at least two weeks ago - but, of course, it's hard to make this kind of stuff happen with everything else going on. But now that I'm bed bound and being waited on just about hand and foot by husband2be, the only options that I have to maintain my sanity and make me feel like I'm semi-normal are reading "trashCelebGossip" magazines (US Weekly and the like) and a little bit of wedding planning!!! I'm still working out the details of the wording for the invitations but that's because I have yet to really sit down and take care of it. And since I'll be spending so much time sitting down (well, laying down), things should definitely get taken care of.

On a more productive note, yesterday I think we booked a new reception site! My parents were up through our way to either 1) visit me in the hospital or 2) meet us for lunch and to give us our Christmas presents because we won't be trekking it up to PA for the holidays afterall with everything going on. Rather than meeting us at home, we decided to meet at the new little restaurant that we found to have the reception the other week!

It turned out to be a great meeting. We sampled some more food, put together our prospective menu, hashed out the details with the owner/manager, and got some great answers of how we will be going about this. Here's what we have so far:
  • Guests from 50-60 people and restaurant will be entirely closed down for us!
  • Decorations and whatnot however we like as long as we put everything back where we found it
  • DJ and karaoke setup not a problem!
  • 3-5 entrees buffet style and Pho service
  • Appetizers passed about
  • Serving staff
  • Some food items that aren't even on the menu!
  • Cake cutting and service
  • $20-$35/person

The owner was really nice and I think my dad actually "bonded" with him a little because they found that they are actually from the same part of Vietnam. Kind of cool! The only has been here in the states for only two years though and his English is good enough but he spoke predominantly in Vietnamese. He also noted to my dad that as long as we bring him the business/money he would normally make on a Saturday, he has not qualms about accomodating us in every way he can. :)

Contracts have not been signed and deposits have not been paid yet but this is pretty much a done deal from the looks of it. Things couldn't have been better had we not planned for them! But wait - we didn't!!! :-p

Friday, December 21, 2007

Treasure Rings from Takohl Design

I think these rings from Takohl Design Ltd. would make a great anniversary gift or a gift for the mothers in the wedding party. They are called Treasure Rings and you can inscribe the inside with anything that you want...wedding date, names, important phrases, inside jokes, even characters such as the heart sig (though I'm not sure why you'd want to do that). You can order a plain sterling silver ring with no stone for $495 or completely bling it out and get it made in a precious metal with a large diamond in the $5,000 + range.

Posted by Picasa

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Design You Own by Steve Madden

I'm not a huge fan of Steve Madden Shoes. Yeah the designs are cute but I swear every pair I've owned has been insanely uncomfortable. I might change my mind, though, thanks to their new Design Your Own line. They have about 45 different styles of shoes (boots, heels, sandals, you name it) that are completely color customizable. So if you really want to wear a pair of shoes with your gown that match your wedding colors or if your maids can't find a pair of shoes that complements their dresses they now have a place to turn.

The shoes are a little pricey for Steve Madden - around $100 each. But at least you'd know that no one else would have your shoes! You can have completely different colors for the heels, the uppers, and any detailing.

I test drove the new line below with my own wedding colors

^ A cute platform heel that I designed in summery blue gingham

^The same heel in my wedding colors

^A kitten heel flat I designed in salmon with white accents

^The same shoe in my wedding colors

Hmmm o.k. so maybe my wedding colors don't make great shoes. But I bet somebodies wedding colors would look fab. You could kill a lot of time on the site just playing with all the different combos.
Posted by Picasa


Dinner & a wedding

You know what makes wedding planning harder than just being pregnant? How about being pregnant with complications that make you high risk. That of which I am because my blood pressure and heartrate/pulse seem to be anything but reasonable and controllable. I've got a good team of doctors taking care of me (if you ever need a referral - I have a great TEAM that I see!) though so it's working out. I'm just blogging now in the event that I have to admit myself to the hospital later to take care of some pressing issues as of today. *sigh*

Anyway, about the wedding. Asian wedding receptions traditionally are held in restaurants. I have no idea why it's like this but it is. It does make sense to do it like this aside from the tradition though as it means not having to rent a myriad of things that you do need for a wedding - dinnerware and silverware and glassware, tables and linens and chairs, a wait staff, etc.

We were originally going to have our reception in a local community "club house." With the turn of events of late and the mass reduction of our guest list, we can now be open to having it in a restaurant! Our original thoughts of going this route were to go to our favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Eden Center (like "Little Vietnam" of Falls Church, VA). It's called Huong Que or "Four Sisters" and it's just about the nicest and most well known restaurant at Eden. The problem with doing it there are many though:
  • Our wedding date is right around Chinese New Year. It's difficult getting reservations at times like Chinese New Year.
  • The restaurant is VERY popular and always busy. They are unwilling (and rightfully so) to close down to accomodate us.
  • The private room that they have can only be book two weeks in advance and also can't hold more than 25 people. We have twice that many that we would need to host.

So we looked at another option. That being a place called Pho #1 on the Baltimore Beltway. When I lived in Baltimore it was the one and only place I went to whenever I needed "home-cooking" - I grew up eating big bowls of Pho and other Vietnamese goodies like that. The problem with Pho #1 though is that it's all the way in Baltimore and we will be getting married in Bowie! It's not entirely undoable but it's something to consider ruling it out.

Last weekend husband2Be and I found a lovely little Vietnamese restaurant in our local area as I was craving some Pho. It turned out to be the best Pho that we've both had in MONTHS - even comparing it to the multiple places that we frequent at Eden Center! The owner barely speaks English and I only know enough Vietnamese to order food if necessary so my father will likely speak to him to work out details. So far though, the owner and his wife have expressed real excitement about the possibility of us using their restaurant AND it would hold 50-65 people!!!

Not sure where we will end up but the decision will probably be made BEFORE Christmas to help alleviate the stresses of this seeing as how we are just about a month and a half from the wedding!!! Oy!!!!

Now if you'll pardon me, I better go follow the doctor's orders and lie down until he calls. :-p


so the next big thing on my to-do list is to secure a florist. although my mind sometimes reels at the thought of spending so much money on something that'll wilt and die in a matter of hours, flowers (or greenery!) make a huge impact on the look and feel of an event. my color scheme will be black and ivory, with all red flowers. this certainly makes it easier to communicate the "look" I'm going for to potential florists. i first got the idea from martha's color scheme wedding issue last year (recently highlighted on weddingbee as well):

it's hard to see in that picture, but each container has one type of red flower with a covered base of silk dupioni. i'll probably opt to mix in different types of flowers to add some texture (and save some money). here are some other clipped pictures that caught my eye:

photo by Justine Ungaro for Janie Medley Floral

I'll start meeting with area florists in January; I'll give another update then!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas in Washington...

As I'm sure most of you are aware, The White House has a great tradition of creating a different Christmas ornament every year. This is something that FI and I decided we wanted to collect and start adding to our own tree.

My Future Mother in Law was thoughtful and bought this years ornament for FI and I as a Christmas gift to get us started on our collection. It just so happens that its the PERFECT ornament for us, and for any newly married or soon to be married couples out there too, especially us DC brides who are "neighbors" to the white house! The reason for this is that this years ornament is a depiction of Grover Cleveland's wedding at the White House, he was the only president to get married at the white house.

Each ornament comes with a booklet that gives the history behind the story that you see, its really interesting, it also shows what the wedding dresses looked like back in 1886!