Thursday, January 31, 2008

Becoming the mother that I actually am

When I originally went looking for wedding dresses I was actually looking for a dress that was long sleeves and went clear up to my neck. Why? Because I've shot a lot of Jewish Orthodox weddings and that's how they do it and I've seen some really gorgeous dresses even with such full coverage styling.

Despite my initial hopes to find such modest coverage though, I ended up going with something that is strapless. It's a very far cry from what I was going for but after having a terrible time finding a full coverage dress and trying on so many strapless styles, I couldn't not admit that strapless was the most flattering for me - pregnant and/or not! The first dress that I got was strapless and the second one that I was able to exchange the first one for is also strapless.

I'm certain that I've picked a wonderful and beautiful dress to wear. I do have a concern though - initially, when the wedding was at the end of April, having a strapless dress was no big deal! However, now that it's in a week during a time of February that I've always known to be notorious for incredibly frigid temperatures and snow and ice - strapless doesn't seem quite like the best idea and how nice would it have been to have found something that completely covered all of me.

The one thing that I can't stop thinking about is how I absolutely cannot be leaving the house without a COAT!!! That fact that I just got over a nasty cold - and this isn't fun because when you're pregnant you can't take anything for it - certainly adds to my neuroses of keeping all of myself covered but overall - I don't know - I just feel like this whole strapless and NO COAT business is ridiculous and what am I crazy or something???

My mother has thought the same thing and, when I was getting my 2nd fitting for my dress, INSISTED that I get something to at least cover my shoulders. In a moment of impulse we found something to do just that: a white faux fur stole! (picture and link courtesy of DavidsBridal.com)

The picture has a way of making it look a lot cheesier than it actually is in real-life but would you believe that that sucker cost about $79!!!! Uhhhh... Yeah. Seriously. It did. I didn't pay for it though so I'm not saying anything more about it other than the fact that for that much money it still doesn't cover that much. But it does look like a "Classic Winter Bride" -type accessory, eh?

Even after the fur stole was purchased, I've still been quite concerned about being better covered. So this evening I stopped by Target to pick up my "anti-nausea-and-morning-sickness" meds and lo and behold in the Liz Lange Maternity section I found THE THING that I have been looking for!!! (photo and link courtesy of Target.com)

It's not white probably like I should have and the black (the coat) and white (my dress) combination might end up making me look like a pregnant penguin or something but at this point, beggars can't be choosers! Also, it's a really cute coat that I will be able to wear AFTER the wedding too!!! To be fair though there is some white on the coat - like the piping and the little swiss dot design of the fabric so it won't look too crazy/ridiculous. The price was also very right at only $39.99. :) (Liz Lange Maternity for Target RULES!!!!)

And there's my big accomplishment for today - at least. Slowly but surely and GOD-willing, this wedding WILL happen.

Tomorrow's big mission? We will be getting our marriage license. Hopefully, there will be no snafus with that!

Diann Valentine...Wow

I recently had the unique opportunity to spend some time with Diann Valentine and a few of the country's most talented up and coming creative designers. Though not all of them were event planners, there was a glorious mix of creative souls that all came together to meld their creative juice and encourage one another.

For those of you who have been living under a rock, Diann Valentine is a west coast event and interior designer. She is creativity personified. Weddings hold a special place for her and she has designed weddings for some of Hollywood's hottest names including, most recently Usher Raymond and Tameka Foster in the Hamptons this past summer. (Oh, and she put the entire event together in 14 - technically 10 days!)I wanted to post a few shots of the gals and guys that made the trip to LA absolutely fantastic. Keep your eye out for all of them and the HUGE contributions they will be making to the worlds of Concierge, Wedding Gown design, Graphic Design, Wedding Planning, Event Planning, Destination Travel and Event Production. It really takes all that to produce a spectacular event.

Hugely Important Gown Sale

Brides Against Breast Cancer Wedding Gown Sale

Thursday March 20 - VIP Night 8pm - 10:30pm

**Donation of $50 for Bride and one guest / $25 each additional guest**

Friday March 21 - 10am - 8pm FREE event

Saturday March 22 - 10am - 6pm FREE event
At the Crowne Plaza Tyson's Corner in McLean, Virginia. www.cptysonscorner.com .

Brides Against Breast Cancer™ gown sales continue to be an important fund-raising event for Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation. Our 32 yearly shows provide brides-to-be with a unique opportunity to find their dream gown at an incredible savings, while making wishes and dreams come true for women and men who are losing their fight against breast cancer. Most gown prices range from $99 to $799*, more than half the gowns presented during each event are NEW designer gowns that arrived directly from bridal shops, trunk shows and manufacturers. The Nationwide Tour of Gowns has something for everyone, boasting a wide range of styles and fabrics, in sizes 4 to 24. Slips, veils, shoes and other accessories are also available in select locations. *Exclusive designer and couture gowns valued up to $20,000 are also available at an incredible 25% to 75% savings.

Pre-register at www.BridesAgainstBreastCancer.org.

To shuttle or not to shuttle..that is the questions?

What is the answer? As I previously posted, transportation has been a big issue for FI and I. We have the bridal party/our transportation/and our parents transportation figured out, however its trying to figure out the "other" guests that the issue arrises.

Do we really need to pay $650 (the cheapest price we have found so far) for a large shuttle to transport guests from there hotel, to georgetown back to the reception. At first I thought YES of COURSE we do, but then I started to think. The hotels where we are looking to do a block of rooms at ( there are 3 seperate hotels) are ALL a mile or less from the church and all about 1-2 BLOCKS from the reception site. Now it's not like we are having our wedding/reception in the middle of nowhere, we are in the middle of a large city, where taxis are abundent and for the short ride, not that expensive! Also, there is some parking in the georgetown area, and our reception site has an underground parking garage available to guests.

The picture I posted above is of a DC Trolley, I thought would be a "cute" idea, but so far it seems like it cant be achieved for less than 1500---for 40 people....although a cute idea, I don't think its worth it for us.

Personally, I think this is a way for us to save some money-what do other DC brides think? With the abundance of transportation in the city do you find it necessary to shuttle your guests?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This is what it's all about

Today and tonight were milestones for me. This is because I finally started to understand what planning this wedding was all about and why it's all so important that things be just so in certain ways that they ought to be.

All kinds of things were scheduled for today that which included the FINAL fitting and picking up of my dress and figuring out and finalizing the ceremony plans with our pastor. We were also supposed to get information ready to send out invitations to the Dave & Buster's event the night before The Big Day as well and try and find a reasonable place to hold a farewell brunch on Sunday. There are packages that should be picked up ASAP at the post office and the local UPS hub as well.

The good news is that I picked up my dress and (barely) fit into it and it's hanging in the guest room (wedding) closet alongside all of the other wedding items that we are quickly amassing. Our pastor had to cancel our meeting because he has a nasty stomach virus but he emailed us a PDF of a tentative ceremony that he has designed expressly for us and he was nice enough to put it into a format that we can easily just print off right onto programs (another thing that will be able to be taken care of!).

And then all the other stuff. It's coming along. It's the tedium that we can't escape and we are drudging through it. But that's now what I was talking about when I started this post.

I had to go to AC Moore for some last minute items that I need to complete the DIY-projects that I am currently in the throes of completing. I rushed in after collecting my dress and then proceeded to rush around the store like a mad-woman. And then I stopped. And I forced myself to slow down. And I just took my time walking around and looking at this and stuff that wasn't even wedding related! And somehow I ended up in front of this display of items when I was struck with brilliance of what I am going to do for my husband2be for his "traditional" wedding day gift that we both had agreed we wouldn't do. *I can't discuss it here because he might read about it but I will tell you about it after the fact and hopefully have some nifty pictures from our photographers to help illustrate!* It was truly a thrilling moment to get everything I needed together for his gift and the more I think about it (now) the more excited I get for The Big Day.

And then after AC Moore I went to "Five and below" (just down the way) for various sundry items. And while I was there I found the socks that I shall wear (my something new!) for The Big Day that seemed like they were just waiting for me to find them. And for reasons that I will explain in another posting, they just about made me cry in the middle of the store because finding them was like another stroke of brilliance that made me feel like our wedding - no matter the mishaps - was really going to happen and everything was really going to be wonderful and okay.

I don't know why I'm posting this all. It's hardly wedding planning related but I feel like it's relevant just the same. I guess I just wanted to say that it's easy to get caught up in the fluff of the planning and if you can help yourself - even if you have to FORCE yourself - don't forget to slow down a little so that you can actually enjoy yourself and what getting married and having a wedding is really all about. Yeah - you wear the big pouffy dress and there's a big party and it's this big deal. But it's also about the other little stuff too that most people would never care to know about because they don't see it. It's about the stuff that YOU alone see and plan because it matters to you.

It is just one day.

But it can also be one of the BEST. DAYS! of your whole life if you don't let everything else spoil it. Seriously. ;-)

Love. Life. And Free Photography!

One of the many photography blogs I keep in my Google Reader is the blog for Love Life Images. Love Life is actually a group of 3 very talented photographers - Mary C. Gardella, Jennifer Domenick, and Stephen Bobb.

Well I'm excited to announce that they will be giving away a day of free photography to one really lucky 2008 bride! What will that include? 2 photographers, 8 hours of coverage, an engagement shoot, a snapshot studio at the wedding, online hosting, and proofs! This is literally worth THOUSANDS. These are experienced pros, not startup photographers.

What's the catch? Nothing---all they ask if for a little creativity from you. They want to see a photo of the "love of your life." And no I'm not talking about your prom pics...they want a picture that tells a story. They want to see how you see your love through the lens of a camera and to hear a little bit about why this person (or thing??) is the love of your life.

For all the rules and regulations check out their blog. The deadline is Valentine's day so get to snapping. They will pick finalists and then we can vote on who wins! Exciting....

^Image credited to Jennifer Domenick of Love Life Images

^Image Credited to Jennifer Domenick of Love Life Images

^Image credited to Mary C. Gardella of Love Life Images

^Image credited to Stephen Bobb of Love Life Images
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Gocco Anyone?

If you are a D.C. area bride and either have a Gocco or want to use one then be sure to RSVP to BearBride over at Weddingbee. She's organizing a Gocco Party! Don't know what a Gocco is? Check it out and see all the neat things it can do.


Paper Source Workshops

I've heard wonderful things about Paper Source, and have always wanted to check out the store. But really, what's the point when I know I'll be ordering my invites from Paperzest? Well, there's this one little factor called the FMIL. And mine, whom I adore, is a graphic designer and would love to take part in our paper projects in some facet. I let Christina at Paperzest know up front that there needed to be a few projects left for Mr. Shirlington's mom, and instead of trying to talk me into letting Paperzest do them, she told me to have FMIL email her if she had any questions at all. I've said it before, but this is yet another example of why I enjoy working with her.

So I've decided that I might drop in on one of these Paper Source workshops in Georgetown so when I offer to help FMIL, she doesn't find me completely devoid of DIY know-how. There are the three interesting ones:

Wedding Invites
Sun, Feb 10, 2-5pm GT

Paper Source requests the honor of your presence at this one-of-a-kind workshop on wedding event invitations. We will look at several examples to determine what style you prefer, then learn how to design and produce your own save-the-dates, shower invites, rsvps, and, of course, the pièce de résistance, your invitations! You'll experiment with several different papers and designs. In addition, we'll talk about how to "mass produce" your handmade treasure and learn different techniques for using ribbons to help you "tie the knot". A discussion of addressing and printing will follow. RSVP soon!

Beyond the Invitation: Wedding Event Invites
Sun, Mar 2, 2-5pm GT
Just as there's more to the ceremony than "The Dress", there's more to announcing the wedding than "The Invitation". Join as we go full circle in planning your special event: we'll start with ideas for Save-the-Dates; move into bridal shower, rehearsal dinner and bachelor & bachelorette party invites; then discuss RSVP options and accommodation cards. The emphasis will be on creativity and projects you (and your bridesmaids or groom!) can do yourself when developing an overall look that tells everyone just how special your day will be. With the techniques you learn in class, you'll be able to go beyond the invitation and make all of your printed pieces special with beautiful Paper Source papers.

Wonderful Wedding Album
Wed, Mar 5, 6:30-9:30pm GT
Whether you're the bride- (or groom)-to-be, a member of the wedding party, or just want to create a very special gift, this is the workshop for you. The starting point is Paper Source's medium screwpost album kit with pre-drilled and pre-scored pages that accommodate both horizontal and vertical pictures. You'll cover the boards with our glorious Japanese paper paired with one of our imported bookcloths and embellished with a ribbon trim. Add finishing details such as covering the exposed screwposts with matching paper and you'll have a treasure of an album. We'll guide you through every step of the process: cutting, gluing, folding and binding. The album you make will be as special as the couple getting married!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Petals Edge Floral Design..,

Momma Alexandria was in town this weekend, she actually had a conference in Charlostville, but she stopped in to say hi to her favorite daughter ( only daughter :) ) and to go visit a florist.

As I had mentioned in a previous post, I was 99% sure I had my florist, Barbara from
Growing Wild Floral , I just loved her, her flowers, everything was so beautiful I was sure I had found "the one". However, Mama Alexandria being the rational woman that she is, decided that we needed to at least explore another florist.

Keep in mind though, that since I am having such a large bridal party that my mom is going to make the bridesmaid bouquets ( she is retired and going to take a couple of classes before taking on this challenge) I will also inform you how this goes and the steps we take!

We met with Gerry from Petals Edge---Honestly, I wasn't impressed with her hospitality. She made me feel as if we were rushed ( the apt barely lasted 30 minutes while my apt with Barbara lasted an hour!) Also her demeanor was more "put offish" I can't describe it, but it was just a feeling I got. I also still haven't received her proposal, 5 days later! I know she could have been having a bad day, or in a hurry to finish an order , so this was just a personal experience that I had. Also , some vendors are more about the professionalism, not about being a friend, so that could also be the case! Other than that, I think her flowers speak for themselves, they are beautiful, and she is very knowledgeable on all types of flowers, what is available in what season, colors that come with different flowers. If you are in the Alexandria area her office is easily accessible ( it is walkable from my work) and I would recommend checking her work out, it is quite beautiful.

* All Photos Courtesy of Petalsedge.com

So Many Vendors, So Little Time . . . The Georgia Bridal Show!

Come out this Sunday, February 3rd from 12:30 - 5 pm for the Georgia Bridal Show! Meet with the area's top bridal merchants and get inspired by the looks featured in the highly-anticipated fashion show! This event will be a great opportunity for Atlanta brides who are looking for inspiration, vendors, and great deals for their big day. I'll be there, so look for a full report next week!

Tickets: $10 (cash only at the door or go online to http://www.eliteevents.com/ to purchase tickets for $9 or sign-up for a $2-off coupon)

Location: Gwinnett Center
6400 Sugarloaf Parkway
Duluth, GA

Hours: 12:30-5; Fashion Show starts at 4 pm

For more information: call 770-736-1979 or visit http://www.eliteevents.com/

Monday, January 28, 2008

Calgon - take me away (no, seriously - take me AWAY!!!)

In my case, though, it's Aveeno bath.

Anyway, I'm sorry for this double posting again. :-/ This time *I PROMISE* this is for very much for YOU!!!

+++Disclaimer: I'm not getting any kind of kickbacks for plugging this product.
It's just something that I've found to be wonderful in the midst of my wedding planning.+++

Question - What do YOU do to relieve your wedding planning stress? I, personally, take long steamy baths and read books (while taking baths).

I used to read wedding planning guides and more recently I moved onto pregnancy and baby planning books. Just tonight though, I kicked it back with a book that I shelved a few months ago - a book called Altared.

Now, let me just say that I'm a VERY picky reader. I will absolutely not read just anything. I will, in fact, read books that I love over and over again if there happens to be nothing new that I can find to read. It takes a LOT for me to like a book. But Altared? Is an AWESOME book!!!!

Unlike what has now become the "norm" of chick-lit fodder, this book about all-things-weddings that come with them is not a fictional "no-brain" read. It's a collection of prose and essays from some very noteworthy authors (Curtis Sittenfeld of the book Prep ring a bell?) that provides a very realistic and sometimes cheeky look at the whole wedding world. Rather than being ditzy - which it totally could be, it's a really "smart" book. And on top of that, you read it and can feel better about some of the drama that you might find yourself in with your own wedding drama. (At least that's how it works for me.)

I happened to pick up this book in the midst of buying wedding planning guides and it is truly one of the best buys that I have made of all of the books that I have purchased. Nothing beats a steamy bath and paging through a few of the selections of the book (it is in a form that doesn't require cover-to-cover reading) to make me feel like all of the things that might be happening at any given time are no biggie in the long run.

If you're looking for wedding (but not really) books to read to help you to "escape" from all of the drama but still provide lots of good advice and ideas read this! I highly recommend this book! It's completely awesome... *see?*

LOVES it. Obviously!

Play that funky music

We're comin' down to the line, ladies and gents!!! We are officially 12 days from The Big Day today. Hard to believe. And with it getting so close, I'm doing all kinds of juggling to make things happen. Today my boss actually said, "Maybe you should think about taking at least one more day off in addition to your other days so you can really be ready." Uhhhh... kind of a not so obvious hint, eh? I bet she thinks I'm going crazy with everything going on. Probably since I think I said so (verbatim) in the midst of the conversation.

Anyway, today I managed to do my job AND multi-task by getting some contracts and vendors confirmed in addition to making some major headway with our song list. Here's what I've managed to pull together within the last few days:

Entrance/Introduction - "At Last" by Etta James

First dance
- "Groovy Kinda Love" by Phil Collins

Father/bride dance - "Danny's song" by Kenny Loggins

Mother/groom dance - "First time ever I saw your face" sung by Celine Dion

Anniversary dance (we aren't doing the garter/bouquet toss) - "Everything" by Michael Buble

Kids' dance - "Baby Elephant walk" by Henry Mancini

Cake cutting
- "Young at heart" by Sinatra

Last Dance/Farewell
- "I swear" by John Michael Montgomery

At the start of the meal
- the typical rundown of jazz standards to include the following:
-"Cheek to cheek" by Ella Fitzgerald
-"Misty" version by Jane Monheit
-"Love and Marriage" by Sinatra
- anything Tony Bennett
- "More" by Bobby Darin
- "L-O-V-E" by Nat King Cole
- "East of the Sun" by Diana Krall
- anything by Sinatra
- anything by Michael Buble
- anything by Ella Fitzgerald
- anything by Harry Connick Jr.

Other songs that we would like to be played (if possible) - those with asterisks we definitely want:

- "Memories are made of this" by Dean Martin*
- "You Are My Only One" by James Taylor*
- "It had to be you" by Harry Connick Jr.*
- "Love of My Life" by Santana/Dave Matthews Band*
- "A love that will last" by Renee Olstead
- "To make you feel my love" by Garth Brooks
- "God blessed the broken road" by Rascal Flats
- "Stick wit you" by Pussycat Dolls
- "We are man and wife" by Michelle Featherstone
- "Gotta have you" by The Weepies
- "You've got a way" by Shania Twain
- "Come what may" from Moulin Rouge soundtrack
- "Valentine" by Martina McBride
- "The Gift" (duet) with Jim Brickman
- "Beauty and the Beast" (duet) with Celine Dion
- "When I fall in Love" (duet) with Celine Dion
- "At the beginning" duet with Richard Marx
- "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynard Skynard
- "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King
- "Shower the People" by James Taylor
- "Hips don't lie" by Shakira
- "Hey Ya" by Outkast
- "Brown eyed Girl" by Van Morrison
- "Build me up buttercup" by the Foundations
- "Ain't no other man" by Christina Aguilera
- "Material Girl" by Madonna
- "Blister in the Sun" by Violent Femmes
- "Brick house" by the Commodores
- "RESPECT" by Aretha Franklin
- "The Twist" by Chubby Checker
- "1,2,step" by Ciara
- "Sway" - Pussycat dolls
- "Little wonders" by Rob Thomas
- "Cause I love you" duet by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
- "Put your records on" by Corinne Bailey Rae
- "Zoot suit riot" by Cherry Poppin' Daddies
- "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins
- "Girls just wanna have fun" by Cyndi Lauper
- "Stayin' Alive" by Bee Gees
- "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi
- "Old Time Rock n Roll" by Bob Seger
- "Heaven" by DJ Sammy
- "Crazy little thing called love" by Queen
- "Shook me all night long" by AC/DC
- "Dancing Queen" by ABBA
- "Can't help myelf" by the Four Tops

Please DO NOT PLAY any of the following:
- "Love Shack" by B-52's
- "Macarena"
- Any "club" mixes/remixes/music
- Anything by Britney Spears
- Anything with profanity (there will be a lot of children present!)
- "Chicken Dance"
- "Hokey Pokey"
- "Conga"
- "Locomotion"
- anything by Hinder
- anything by Nickelback
- "Who Let the Dogs out" by Baha Men
- "My humps" by Black eyed peas

Not too shabby considering I got a major amount of this accomplished today alongside teaching "Read aloud strategies" and "Organizational patterns of informational texts." Go ahead - inflate my ego. I'm AWESOME.

*Not really but please let me humor myself because I feel a little guilty after just eating an entire half a block of cheese in about 10 minutes - eating for two right? I take this SERIOUSLY!*

Anyway, I'm kind of excited about our song list! I never realized that I have so many "favorite" type songs. I had a hard time getting started but then I googled for other people's play lists and took notes from them - especially with regard to the "DO NOT PLAY" portion at the end.

Some things that we are doing specifically are adding things like a "Kids' dance" since we are having a significant number of little chitlin's under the age of 7 in attendance and the "Baby Elephant Walk" is a personal favorite of husband2be and mine that has served as inspiration for the nursery theme that we are going with for our baby! I can't wait to see all of the little ones on the dance floor "bustin' their groove thangs" *yes - I said thangs!* to this very silly song. And you better believe that husband2be and I will be out there with them!!!

Another thing that we are doing is the songs that are marked with asterisks are all ones that were played as the "First Dances" for each of our brothers/sisters and parents. We don't expect any of them to get up and do any kind of spotlight dancing but we figure it's a good way to a) recognize them as family members, b) allow them to hear "their songs" because how often does that happen(?), and c) automatically get them out of the dance floor to "inspire" others to dance!

Husband2be sort-of helped to compile this list. It's been mostly me doing it but he's going to be looking at it and probably adding his own songs in there because I know he wants some George Clinton - he's mentioned this before.

I'd say we're pretty good to go though if this is what we end up going from. Not bad at all, I think.

Venue Alert

Fiance and I have been looking for a place to have our rehearsal dinner. In the midst of my search for a private dining room in the DC area, I came across this absolute jewel. I present to you the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The balcony has views of the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. This is, hands down, the most beautiful space I have seen in all of my wedding planning days. More information and photos of other rooms are available on the website.

*All photos from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution website*

O'Byrne Gallery

I also found some info on a Knot board. The O’Byrne Gallery is listed at $6,800 (wow). It accommodates 140 people, seated.

Constitution Hall Lobby

This beauty holds 1,500 people standing and 700 seated.

Calling Atlanta Brides to Blog for Atlanta NearlyWeds

DC NearlyWeds is expanding its blog to encompass the road to matrimonial bliss of brides-to-be in Atlanta, GA! We are looking for brides in the Atlanta area, or brides who are planning to wed in Atlanta, to blog on the site! The bride's blog will follow her planning process as she works with a professional wedding planner to navigate her way down the aisle! The Atlanta blog will be a great place for brides to get information about vendors, sales and events in her area.

Brides who are interested, please send an email to blogwithus at dcnearlyweds dot com. Each applicant should respond with a short recap of her planning process and vision, wedding date, and story of her relationship and engagement.

DC NearlyWeds Heads South!!!

Happy Monday everyone! DC NearlyWeds is expanding its blog to encompass the road to matrimonial bliss of brides-to-be around the country! First stop . . . Atlanta, GA! I am Ms. Atlanta, the new moderator for Atlanta NearlyWeds. I am a recent college grad with sincere and enthusiastic aspirations to become a successful Atlanta area wedding planner. As moderator, I will be bringing as many wedding-related resources the Atlanta area has to offer to our blog. This includes great finds for vendors, sales, freebies, bridal shows and informational tidbits to make your planning process as pleasant as possible!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I'm two for two!!!

I finished the favors that I posted on about two hours ago. In the midst of doing them - because the novelty did indeed wear off - I took care of the two little items that our flower girls will carry! The older one (almost 3 years old) will carry the basket and the littler one (1.5 years old) will carry the kitty.

For both, I used our colors of Dark Pink and Light Pink in materials that I got from AC Moore. Butterflies (for memoriam purposes) and the grosgrain ribbon were used for the basket and just the grosgrain ribbon was used for the kitty.

I wrapped the handle of the basket (only 25 cents - my mom found it! Go Mom!!!) with the ribbon and then took the butterflies and wrapped the wires that they came on around the handle at the base on one side - since I assume she will hold the basket close to her and don't want to risk messing up the butterflies (two were seriously injured beyond repair *boohoo*). The ivory ribbon was added to break up the "pinkness" and was leftover from the guest favors.

It came out looking a little more DIY than I was going for but it sure beats the heck out of paying over $20 for a flower girl basket - mostly the price that I saw for them. This one came out to probably a little under $5. The petals that it will be filled with will be light pink.

Then there's the kitty. She, of course, had to look "fancy" as well for the occasion. I considered doing the bow in the front but then shifted it to the back and off to the side because I think it looks better that way.

And because I did such a good job, I treated myself to a nice triple scoop of Black Cherry ice cream...

since I AM eating for two and all...
Pardon the mess in the background in my "office." Thanks! -Mgmt

Do I look like I'm carrying a boy or a girl?

I actually know already - we found out about a week ago *heehee* but I can't tell you until we tell all of our people at the wedding reception!!! I know - how much of a tease am I??? I promise - I'll tell you as soon as I can!!!

Mind if I do you a cute little favor?

No? Then how about if I just put that in a box for you to take "to-go" then!

Let's start with a little lesson in arithmetic. *Pardon me if I'm a little bad at it as I'm actually a Reading and Language Arts teacher!*

Observe as I demonstrate for you:

mini gold takeout boxes from AsianIdeas.com

Hershey's Hugs & Kisses

red chopsticks with crane design from AsianIdeas.com

ivory satin ribbon from AC Moore

*Pardon the "shades" that I'm wearing.
I'm not so cool as to wear them all the time and just filled
in the glasses that I wear to conceal my identity - ooooooh!*

Here is a picture of a whole gaggle of favors that I have already finished. I am currently not even close to being done :-p but this picture makes me feel like I am:

The ideas behind the idea to come out with something like these were as follows:
  1. I HATE giving things that are not useful no matter what the occasion. Stuff shouldn't sit around the house *PERIOD* and if it does? It should be thrown away!
  2. Our theme (if you even have to categorize it) is "things that are Asian." *that kind of makes me laugh to say it like that because it sounds a little like a Family Feud category!
  3. I LOOOOOOOVE Chinese take-out boxes. No matter the size, I just love them and think they are so fun. Also the idea that the favors are something that a person takes with them when they leave....? Nevermind.
  4. My mother insisted that we incorporate chopsticks that people could keep somewhere in the wedding.
  5. Both husband2be and I are from Pennsylvania originally and I actually lived in Hershey for a bit when I was young so using something of the Hershey's family is very appropriate for us.
Each little box contains (12) assorted Hershey's Hugs & Kisses of the "with almond," "standard Hugs," and "limited edition cheesecake Hug" varieties. The estimated cost of each favor is a little over $2. Not bad (I think) considering how nice they look - not too generic, not too homemade/DIY.

I filled all of the boxes last night in a little over an hour's time and now I'm at the stage of tying all of the chopsticks on with ribbons. The amazing thing is that assembling these favors has become one of my three favorite things of wedding planning! (the others being trying on wedding dresses and planning the ceremony music with the church music director). Perhaps it's because it's kind of a "mindless" thing to just kind of sit and tie little knots on sweet little boxes? Maybe it's the delicious aroma of all of the chocolate. Who knows? And surely with regard to the novelty (as they always say) - "...this too shall pass."

Whatever. I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can for all it's worth. ;-D And if you were counting? I'm now 13 days from The Big Day!!! *oh my land!* I can hardly believe it!!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Paperzest and Jim Hjelm...my kind of day!

I started my day with an noon appointment with my amazing invitiation designer, Christina, owner of Paperzest. She sent me a few breathtaking samples a month or so ago and today we had our follow-up meeting. The Paperzest showroom is in Herndon and it's like walking into a gorgeous living room. There's something about Christina's baby blue micro-suede sofas and graphic area rug that makes me want to sit and chat all day. If I could translplant that room into my living room, I'd be a happy camper. And as much as I love the aesthetic of her meeting space, that doesn't even compare to her invitation talent. I conveyed to her a few simple things, and what I got back was a little package of smart details and a true match for my vision. She comes very highly recommended by this bride-to-be.

Christina herself is a warm-hearted and inspirational person, which is why I'm so happy to be working with her. Here is a look at the sample and direction we're looking to go.

Then, I headed to Ellie's Bridal in Alexandria. As Miss Capitol Hill commented on my previous post, their Jim Hjelm selection left much to be desired. They only had two dresses from the most recent collection. There were maybe 20 dresses total from the past few seasons. The up side of this was that I could try on a few that were more in my price range since they were older, versus more than 3k. The downside was that I was really looking forward to trying on my dream dress and several others from the Spring 2008 collection..and might have even upped my budget if they lived up to the pictures.

The service at Ellie's was okay. You can only try on 5 dresses, so you have to go through the store and choose your favorites. Here are the two I ended up trying on from Jim Hjelm:

The were both...incredible....so much that I would spend more than I originally budgeted. The first one fit like a glove and I never wanted to take it off. It was so classicly beautiful. The second one I also adored. It's much more risque than the first, but it's a true contender.

The last dress I tried on was an Exclusive by Allure. They don't release photos of the Exclusives line on the internet because they are copies of designer dresses, according the attendant at Ellie's. She was right. I couldn't find a photo of the dress, but the Knotties came to the rescue. They started a board to house photos of the gowns, so I borrowed this from there.

This dress was gorgeous as well. The silk is so soft and the lace is very high quality. I would love to wear it with a vintage lace bolero or a satin ribbon at the waist to set off the bodice. It's half the price of the Hjelm gowns.

What do you guys think?

Ad*dress* the issue...

In a twist of fate, my dress didn't work out. There are a million details that I could go through and let myself get teary-eyed, so I'm not going to. What I will say though, was that the only good part of the whole situation was how accommodating TLC Bridal was...and understanding. I will remind you that I had ordered my dress and it had arrived when this twist of fate took place.

So the following weekend, a dear friend took me on a dress marathon. The point wasn't to buy something that day (I'm totally still mourning the loss of my old dress). The point was to make room in my mind for something else. And she was a gem for making me do it. I tried on some amazing dresses at White Swan Bridal in Vienna. The concept of the store is great. They have every dress on a mannequin so you can get an idea of how it fits, how the fabric lays, the details, etc. before you even try it on. You are free to walk around, point out the ones you like, and the attendants bring them in to you. I must have tried on 12 or so dresses. There were no photos allowed, so here are the dresses I tried on. I can’t find my favorite one anywhere…so I snuck a photo. Don’t tell! The first one is a Pattis Bridal, the second is Val Stefani Couture and the third is Casablanca.

Today I’m going to Ellie’s Bridal in Alexandria to try on Jim Hjelm dresses. Though they are out of my price range, I figure I’ll never have another reason to try them on for no reason. And there’s also part of me that wonders if I look out of this world, my dad would offer to buy it for me! Jim Hjelm has always been my favorite designer.

In other issues, my grandparents are really urging me to ditch my whole wedding plan in DC and have it on the beach at their house in Destin, Florida. It would cost half what my wedding is going to be here. They’re obviously not young and it’s going to be hard for them to travel here. I never thought myself a beach bride..but Grandma did mention floating candles in the pool…and I love that. Who knows…

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A whole lot of nothing

Perhaps I should get my hand slapped for doing little to no wedding planning stuff tonight - especially after the wonderful Mrs. Nearlywed and her mister showed up last night to bail me and the husband2be out of a pretty significant disaster - but... I'm sorry. I just gotta take a break. At least tonight.

As of today we are 16 days from the wedding. There are a number of things that remain on my to-do list and a bunch of things that I could go ahead and finish up (for the most part) right now:
  • Prepare and package the guest favors
  • Work on the programs for the ceremony
  • Figure out the seating chart and table numbers/names
  • Find pictures of make-up examples for the hair and make-up team (per their request)
  • Make appointments/reservations for the manicures and pedicures for the bridal party before the ceremony
  • Find some sexy maternity lingerie (what an oxymoron!) for the honeymoon night
Obviously, especially with regard to the last one - I'm really in no state to really get anything accomplished other than eating a huge bowl of Black Cherry ice cream, eating three slices of pepperoni pizza, and chugging a glass of Concord grape juice - all things I have already done but could no doubt repeat if I'm so inclined since I AM eating and drinking for two, right?

Anyway... yeah. It's almost 9PM now and that's almost my bedtime. Technically it's my bath before bed time so I should probably be getting to that.

Hmmmm... maybe I'll drink a cup of mint chocolate hot cocoa. Mmmmmmmm :-p

*being a pregnant bride is AWESOME if only for the fact that I HAVE to gain weight (as ordered by my doctor) rather than make sure that it stays off to be able to fit into my dress* ROCK ON!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

And The Bride Wore....Cotton??

I recently stumbled across a really unique line of bridal dresses called The Cotton Bride by designer Chris Cole. Most of us dream of silks, satins, tulle and organza (nevermind most wedding dresses are polyester blends nowadays) but the entire Cotton Bride line is made out of earth friendly natural fabrics...and the majority of the dresses really are made out of Cotton!

Looking at the dresses it's amazing what can be done with "the fabric of our lives." The cottons are from all over the world and a lot of attention is paid to details. These dresses are ideal for the "green" bride who wants to minimize the impact her wedding has on the world or even for destination brides (unlike polyester, cotton breathes in 100% humidity). The styles are modern, feminine, and flirty (say goodbye to hippie stereotypes).

The best thing is a cotton dress can easily be dyed after your wedding and turned into an entirely different dress.

I love the detail shots below.

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