Friday, October 31, 2008

A quick Hello!

Hello, Nearlywed ladies! Just wanted to stop by and let you all know that I was thinking about you all!!! At this time last year I was in the midst of my own wedding planning and (unbeknownest to me at the time) only a month away from the start of my baby planning!!!

Thought you all might enjoy a little "treat" in honor of Halloween...

Baby Bowie and I stayed in tonight as 6PM is her bedtime and she barely made it even that late tonight!

Hope you all are having a great time planning for your big days! I know how much work it is but... it really is all worth it once it's over. ;)

TLC Is Looking for Your Story

TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress" is kicking off its third season with a one-hour special featuring unique and heartwarming wedding stories, and we need your help. We'd like to hear your story and help you make your wedding exactly what you want. Is your wedding date in the next one to three months? Is your budget limiting what you'd really like to do, and you need help? Are you dealing with a challenging situation or a crisis that is affecting your plans? Has your venue fallen through and you're scrambling to find a new one? Have you found your dress? Did you find one...but it's not what you really want? Have you picked out your rings, or are you trying to do something special and different with them but don't know where to start? Having trouble locking in all the last-minute details?

Would you love for a family member or friend to be part of your day, but they can't afford to travel? Are you and your fiance and/or family far apart and you're doing all the planning yourself? Are you eloping...but you secretly want your family to be there too? Are you already married but would like to renew your vows? Want to get married in NYC and need a dress, rings and venue--and you want to do it as soon as possible?

These are just some of the stories we'd like to tell. What's yours? Is there something special or different about you or your relationship that you'd like to share? Send Mrs. Nearlywed your story by clicking the Email Me! button. You can also apply for the regular show or the special via the Kleinfelds website at http://www.kleinfeldbridal.com/tlc/index.cfm (indicate that you are applying for the "ONE-HOUR SPECIAL" in the special circumstances portion of the application).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Flexiblity & Meltdowns

One thing I have learned throughout this whole process of planning a wedding is being flexible. Flexible with your "needs" and your "wants". Flexible with places, people, etc. Flexible with the knowledge that the meltdowns aren't a matter of "if", but "when". Large or small, meltdowns happen.

Today I have also learned that I need to be flexible with blog monikers. For example, my name here is Miss JeffMemorial. Well Miss JeffMemorial is now just a name and not indicative of anything wedding related. Instead of the setting for a stunning outdoor October wedding ceremony for myself and the Mr., it is now merely a place I highly recommend to tourists. (Really, it's gorgeous. And don't forget the paddle boats!)

This is where we insert Miss JeffMemorial's meltdown of about two days ago.

It was a perfect storm when it came to the fruition of several issues at once... and it dumped all over my head.

Our wedding was initially set for October 10, 2009. Then we realized as we are wrapping up October 2008, there is no way we want to cram a wedding into the mix. It would have gone as follows: Our wedding on the 10th. Mr.'s birthday on the 18th. My mother's birthday on the 19th. MY birthday on the 26th. Halloween on the 31st. Plus throw in a birthday celebration for both of us with the Mr.'s family.

Needless to say, it was crowded. We were going to make due, though. Any later, and we run the risk of things being too cold, etc, and we didn't want to share our birthdays with the anniversary. October would just be... "filled with a little more extra love and stuff".

Then the hammer fell.

I can't even get into it. I was getting ready to submit our permit application for the use of the Jefferson Memorial's West Lawn, and tragedy struck. Tragedy struck in about eight million different ways and fell upon my shoulders at 12:30pm on a Tuesday afternoon.

No Jefferson Memorial.

I was panicked. I had no idea what the heck I was going to do. I tried to relax and think. After the haze of anger passed and I was able to lift my head up a little bit, I formulated a plan.

Mr. JeffMemorial and I attend an amazing church in the Columbia Heights neighborhood called All Souls. Literally, it's stunning. Have a look-see:

See? Stunning.

Now originally this was where we were planning on having our ceremony AND reception. (They have a hall in the Church.) We ran into a big financial issue and had to scrap it due to budget constraints. Since then we never looked back at the church, in spite of our love for it.

I started rethinking everything. We wanted a fall wedding. Well, October 10, while technically fall is still residing in that 70 degree zone, and the leaves haven't even turned yet.

With a hope and a prayer (What's up, Jesus?) I contacted the wedding coordinator at All Souls.

"Do you have November 7, 2009 open?"

And they did. We're meeting with the ministers this weekend, and somehow it's working out better than I expected.

So maybe, technically, I'm not really Miss JeffMemorial. What's great though is that I didn't realize how we're still ending up with the perfect wedding. We had written it off due to our budget but didn't realize that the only thing that was killing us was the reception cost. We didn't even see that this was doable.

Now we'll have the beautiful traditional indoor wedding, which I'm surprised to say I missed. I didn't notice, due to all the logistics I was trying to plan, that I really wanted to get married in our church. The organ. The big aisle. The grandeur and tradition of it. It sounds silly, but I remember there was a moment months ago when Mr. JM and I originally planned on getting married there. It was after the service, and we stood at the head of the aisle, where we would when we were getting married and it felt really right.

Anyway, while I was being sarcastic about learning to be flexible, I think I learned a big lesson this week: even if disaster strikes, it might be for the best.

Although I'm not gonna lie... I needed a strong drink after Tuesday's explosion. About three of them.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Video Titling

One of our wedding vendors, The Pros, just emailed to ask what we'd like to have our wedding video titled. I had never thought about this, but now it seems to be such a huge decision. I want it to be more than "Glen/Allen Wedding", but not quite so wordy as "True Love at It's Greatest Moment" a MIL suggestion. My thoughts so far:
  • The Day Forever Began
  • Endless Love
  • Lady & Guy. . . Always

What does everyone else title their wedding videos? Any suggestions?

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Save the Dates...the design

In my last post, I talked about my decision to make the save-the-dates myself. I don't think it'll be too hard and with Microsoft Publisher, designing them hasn't been too difficult.

I haven't really started, I still have to design the cardstock, but I figured I'd give you all a hint of what they're going to look like. Last night, after talking to the FMIL, I told Fiancé exactly what my plans are. I figure, we're going on a date on Saturday up to Georgetown so it's a perfect opportunity to scour out some supplies.

The magnet, will look like this:

It will be attached to a piece of white card stock, with a thin green border, wording on it, and a ribbon holding it all together. The envelopes will be navy with green lining, a white label that will be hand written by moi. I don't always have the neatest handwriting, but it's much neater than Fiancé's chicken scratch and I can make it look pretty if I try.

Where'd I get my inspiration you ask? Here's the save the date that I found on the web that I really liked, but figured it was simple enough that I could replicate and add a touch of my own style. Here's the weddingbee post where I got the inspiration for the ribbon and the envelopes.

It's all coming together, hopefully they'll be done by the beginning of December so that after the holidays they'll be ready to be sent out! Fret not nearlyweds, I'll share the steps as I go along. I should also mention that the FMIL recently acquired a Wedding DIY book from a friend, she's sending it on to me. Woo hoo!!

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A Monogram Brainteaser

Why do all things wedding place the bride's name first? Why can't the groom's name or initial come first sometimes? For instance, our 3-letter monogram (TPK) uses the same 3 letters as FI's initials (KTP), and if I put his name first, it becomes a monogram of his name (KPT), which I really like. I truly like our monogram modified in this manner, and I feel it ties in to the whole two becoming one idea. My initial (T) is still there, just on the other side. However, when I've explained that to somebody recently, they looked at me a little crazy. I figure it's our day. I know what I want the monogram to look like. I know it defies tradition, but I like it that way. What's the big deal about the order of the initials?


Monday, October 27, 2008

Geektastic Wedding Cakes

When we get married, we want to reflect our style, our personalities, and our interests.  Which is why, if you or your man are into Super Mario, you should check out this amazing wedding cake:

(photo credit: Cake Wrecks, one of the funniest blogs ever)

Look at the level of detail:

And, as you can see, Mario finally gets his woman, the Princess Peach.  (Aww.) This cake was created by Let Them Eat Cake, a bakery in California.

But let's say that Mario isn't really your thing.  You could just profess your love for all things Mac:

(photo credit: Geek Sugar)

At that point, though, you might as well serve everyone iPhone cupcakes:

(photo credit: Core77)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Venue Report: Newseum

I was lucky enough to attend not 1 but 2 receptions at the Newseum last week with my wonderful friend and former boss. The food, catered by Wolfgang Puck's The Source was delicious - despite it being "catered" -- of course! It's Wolfgang Puck!In addition to the wonderful tastes we sampled, we were privy to the spectacular view from a balcony reception room.

This is from the end of the balcony:
This is from the middle of the balcony:
And the balcony itself (think how beautiful she could look with some flowers, linens, and candles!):
The {breathtaking} capitol building at night:The adorably delicious dessert lollipops (stuck in sugar, not sand):I'm not the first (and I'm sure I won't be the last) person to blog about the Newseum as a possible reception space, but that view is definitely hard to beat! Reporters, journalists, newshounds, take note! Good food and good views.

Friday, October 24, 2008

36 Hours in Charlottesville

Attention all you CVille brides out there! The New York Times just published an article on what to do, where to eat, and where to stay when you have 36 Hours in Charlottesville. This would be GREAT to send any of your out of town guests (in our case that was everybody!) or include in their welcome bags. 

I'm also really happy to say that my reception site (and the reception site of Miss Charlottesville), The Clifton Inn,  was featured as an Editor's pick for top place to stay and top place to eat!  So if you are thinking of having your wedding there I think you might have just gotten a little more competition. 

And if you're looking for a place to do a mini-moon I highly recommend getting away to Cville. 


Save the Dates

I'm going to ignore the term "STDs" for Save the Dates, especially given the rather unfortunate connotation and move on.

Mr. JeffMemorial and I have complimentary tastes, but he errs on the side of traditional and I love hovering around that trendy-retro-polished area in my choices.

This difference reared it's only moderately ugly head again when we were choosing our save the dates. We've finally found one we both love:

From SavetheDateMagnet.com.

Has a touch of the traditional romantic, but has a nice polished fun look for me. I'm so excited. We have no need to order them yet, but I cannot wait to have them.

For those of you out there, do you prefer the magnets or paper save the dates? And this can be from the perspective of the guests or those getting married.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Engagement Photo Panic

For the past two weeks I've been somewhat anxious about our engagement photo session becaus, naturally, I think I haven't a thing to wear. Not that I don't like any of my clothes our outfits. That's far from the case. I love them. They just don't photograph well. The cute pants don't go with the top, it's not formal enough, etc. etc.

Then, our photographer emailed me this morning saying it's supposed to rain on Sunday and asked if I wanted to reschedule. I started to think about it further, and I realized the Marine Corps Marathon is also on Sunday. . . and the memorial is smack dab in the middle of the course. According to godc.com, the road closures will end around 12:30 for the area around the Memorial, but now I'm worried about all the signage and rubbish left over from the run. But we also already paid for the park permit and the location fee ($100 total) so I'm not sure if we have the luxury of rescheduling.

And I thought an outfit was my biggest concern. Before, it seemed harder to find than a wedding dress!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Map It Out

I just discovered a free wedding mapping tool, Wedding Mapper, online.  You can use it to create a map of your wedding ceremony, reception, hotels, etc. for your guests.  Then you can share it on your website or print it out to include in your invitations.

I put together a map of Charlottesville in about five minutes.  It's really easy.  For my wedding, since almost everyone will be coming from out of town, I think it'll be much appreciated.


Making a registry reminds me a lot of people asking me what I want for Christmas. When people aren't asking me, I have a laundry list of things I want. When I am actually put on the spot, I am a sputtering fool left shrugging saying I have no idea.

Mr. JeffMemorial and I have dilly-dallied around in the arena of wedding registries. We've made quite a few actually, with only one or two actually surviving our picky tastes. To be honest, though, I never really focused on it. The registries were a stressful topic. I couldn't find anything I liked, and for some things, what I did like was just too expensive to put on a registry.

Needless to say, I sometimes ignore things that cause me stress, which is exactly what I did... until I started receiving e-nudges from friends, asking when I was going to be making our actual registries public.

With a sigh, I went back to the drawing board.

I think the thing that stressed me out the most was our wedding china. The reality is we don't have space for it and our lifestyle is not conducive to the safety of fine china. We made the decision to get a nice set of dishes (that will always be our wedding dishes), and then on our 5 year wedding anniversary (or perhaps the purchase of a new house) we will get ourselves a set of nice china to celebrate.

Thus a new search began, and I began knocking on the e-door of Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I was pleased with the selection and found two items that restored my faith in registry creation:

Classic Dots 67-Piece Dinnerware Set

While this is by no means $150/place setting china, it's stunning. I love the stark simplicity and classic look. I love that it's a large set of dishes that will allow us to throw dinner parties with a more pulled together look.

Tuscan Countryside 5-Piece Pasta Set by Mikasa

I am thrilled about this find. I love buying kitchen pieces that have such a social gathering aspect to them. I could just see setting up a pasta girl's night, watching movies, etc... or just having some friends over for a collective dinner.

I think what's really helped us get better at putting our registry together has been, quite honestly, living together. While we've known each other for years, we got engaged pretty quickly after we started dating, which was only a month or so after we started living together.

As time has gone on, we've been able to determine what kind of family unit we are, how social we are, etc. That's really helped put into perspective what we want in our kitchen, on our beds, in our bathrooms, and just for fun.

What are some of the best pieces of advice you've heard about when creating registries, or are you a den of wisdom when it comes to the subject?

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FI and I have been looking for invitations. We've looked high and low. We've gone to printers and looked through zillions of massive binders of invites. We looked all over the web for designs that we'd like which will be in our moderate price range, but that will also incorporate the features we've learned that we like. We like tea length invitations (4"x9"), preferably horizontal. We also like pocketfolds, but not with too many pockets, because with our wedding, reception, and guest accommodations being at the same place, we just don't have much information to put in all those pockets. We also like invitations that have our wedding colors of yellow, pink and platinum, or even just a few of the colors. It has been so tough to find invites that incorporate all of these elements. We only need 90, and we'd like to keep the cost under $300.

This is an example of the structure, I'd like our invitations to have. It's not actually a wedding invitation, but you get the idea.

I've been to all the wedding websites, the designer invitation websites and sources, and the things I liked that were customizable to include out colors, were outside of our budget. In my research, on the Paper Source website, I noticed that they had video demonstrations on how to create/assemble your own pocketfold invitation. Being a fairly ambitious DIY bride, I figure 'I can do that!', and I started looking at where I can purchase the elements from. That's when I stumbled upon Mountaincow.com. They sell all the pocketfolds, cardstocks, and special papers one could want when creating an invitation. They even carry the Envelopments line, which I love! Hopefully, my creation will be a masterpiece.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I love. . . our venue

I think I love our venue *almost* as much as I love my dress which is *almost* as much as I love Sig. Keswick (just kidding!). This weekend, I was excited to read the Washingtonian include it in a recent article of theirs: Grape Adventures: The Best Vineyards in Virginia and Maryland. (I originally discovered it in a Washington Post Travel article last spring and fell in love immediately.)

Why do I love Keswick so much? It's gorgeous without being over the top. As my mother said it, "It's stately." But one of the most important things about it: It doesn't require
we have a tent if we have more than 100 guests. It has a wonderful patio outside its ballrooms (accessed through several french doors) that overlooks their award winning golf course BUT in the instance of inclement weather, the doors can be closed and you won't even know that it's raining cats and dogs. It was really important for us to have the ability to welcome the out of doors - fresh air - natural scenery - into our wedding reception WITHOUT having to pay $4000 for a tent (money that could be well-spent on reception food). Plus, I didn't want to have it in a hotel (as I used to spend lengthy spans of time inside a hotel without any fresh air for days at a time in my old job) with padded walls and someone's bar mitvah next door next to and someone else's family reunion. Not that I have anything against people who have their weddings in hotels, I just wanted something more natural feeling for our wedding. And luckily, we were able to keep the guest list down (we hope) so that Keswick can fit all our guests.

The view from the back veranda:
The view when you drive up:
Isn't she lovely? How did you find your venue? What were your priorities when you were choosing determining where to have your reception or wedding?

One For the Money, Two for the Show

I think these shoes from J. Crew are fantastic:

The color is gorgeous, and the shape is beautiful.  But the real reason I love these so much is best explained by Elvis:

Just a little midweek fun.

Things I'm Pretty Sure I'm Not Going to Need for My Wedding (Part II)

You thought butt bows were bad?

Meet the gut bow. (Hat tip: Never teh Bride)

Friends don't let friends make their bridesmaids wear dresses that accentuate their bellies.

Down To Two Dresses

They say when you pick out the wedding dress you love, you'll just know.  Something inside you will say, "this is The One."  I have two The Ones.  I guess it's a good thing--it's better to have two dresses you love than not being able to find any.

Here's dress number one:

(photo credit Amy Kuschel)

This dress is so flattering.  You can't really see it, but it's got beautiful ruching on the bodice that really suits my figure.  The fabric is just a dream--it's silk chiffon and is so light and airy, it's like wearing a cloud.   I'd dress it up with a crystal belt to give it a little bit more pizzazz.

This dress is similar to dress number two:

(photo credit Michelle Rahn)

The skirt is straight and A-line shaped, as opposed to picked up like you see here, and there's less ruching on the bust.  What makes this dress (which unfortunately is hard to see in the picture), is the gorgeous hand-crocheted fabric on top of the dress. It's woven in all sorts of swirls and flowers, with glints of gold thread.  It really is a work of art.

I've been making my pros and cons list with both dresses.  Dress number one is easier to accessorize with a veil, jewelry, and cool shoes (I want to wear bright blue shoes at my wedding!) Dress two doesn't look as nice with a veil and is definitely more limited with accessorizing.  Dress one is easy and comfortable.  I'll worry about snagging dress two all night.  Dress one looks like lots and lots of wedding gowns.  Dress two looks like nothing I've ever seen, and I love the idea of being the bride that wears the completely unusual gown.  Dress one is flattering and pretty, while dress two is a showstopper.   Dress one comes slightly under budget, dress two s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s the budget a bit more than I'd like. 

At the moment, the pros and cons are almost neck and neck.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do.



I've been on the prowl lately. I've been searching all the websites in the world for adorable magnetic save the dates. Since we got a magnet last winter for my friend's save the date, we were convinced that we wanted magnets as ours when the time came. Well, the time's here and I like some of them, but I don't like them enough. It's more of a lukewarm like. Near ambivalence really.

So I made the decision last night, I don't quite recall if it was before or after I met up with Fiancé and his pal for a drink or two at the local pub, but I decided "screw this, I'll make them myself. It can't be that hard right??"

Right. I think.

Here's my plan. Our colors are blue and green and white. Much like the Hartford Whalers colors (RIP) which pleases fiancé. I want my wedding to have some preppy undertones - ribbons, candles, JCrew dresses (maybe. still undecided about the bridesmaid dresses), hints of argyle (if I have any say in it..) You know, our style. Because we're both kind of prepsters, and like things to look classy. Who doesn't? I make a template, stick it on the magnets, and make it pretty by adding something extra. What that extra is, I haven't quite figured out yet, but I have some ideas.

Okay. I can do this. I have in my head what I want. I can totally do this...Miss I can't really draw a straight line...mmmhmm. I can totally be crafty.

We're going to use one of our awesome engagement photos that a pal of mine took in Boston in June (I'll share those soon). I'll buy sheets of magnets, like the Associated Press How-To article says, and then add a touch of preppy kind of like this but not quite. With ribbons, more like this. And perhaps and green and blue border. Thank you Weddingbee for your endless inspiration. Seriously, last night I read 57 pages back in the DIY tag. Fiancé pretty much had to drag me to bed.

So this weekend, perhaps if time allows, I'm going to find a Michaels or other similar craft store, go to Paper Source in Georgetown, and get this show started - oh yeah, it might also helped if we bought some printer ink. I'm feeling inspired and while we don't have to actually send out our Save the Dates till January (we decided to send them after the holidays) I figure come Thanksgiving/Christmas, I'm hardly going to have the time to do this so I might as well do it now! Right? Right.

What did you do for DIY projects? Where did you find inspiration?

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Learning to Communicate

So this weekend Fiancé and I started Pre-Cana classes, a requirement to get married in the Catholic Church. Essentially for two and a half hours, we sit around and listen to the church's teachings on marriage and relationships.

We missed the first class a week ago because we were in Connecticut visiting family and because I ran the Hartford Marathon, so this weekend we had to stay after an hour. In class, we talked about family traditions and afterwards, communication.

A point that was brought up that we talked about last night - how to make September 11th different from September 13th. Makes sense. We live together (despite the Church's wishes) so the jump isn't going to be as big for a couple who didn't live together before getting married. So we were talking and one of the biggest adjustments I think is going to be realizing that he and I will become a "we" in all facets - how we present ourselves to the outside world, our families. Learning to communicate our wishes as a couple, for instance "WE decided we wanted to stay in DC for Thanksgiving as opposed to traveling to Vermont and Connecticut." Instead of, "well Fiancé didn't want to travel blah blah blah so I guess we're staying." Instead of his family and my family, it's our families, and us. Which, if you think about it, really is a big adjustment.

On top of that, another useful thing we learned was keeping problems between us. Not bringing family members and friends into our own feuds. I can relate to this as a boy I dated in college would often rant to his family about our relationship, thus they never warmed up to me and I always felt I wasn't good enough. Another example could be a certain family member (aka MOH) who rants to my mother about her boyfriend, thus my mother doesn't think the relationship will last and has a tainted view of her boyfriend.

I was a little nervous going into pre-cana because I was certain it was going to be all about the church's teachings on contraception and pre-marital sex, and anti-cohabitation before marriage (there are...certain things about the Church that let's just say....I don't necessarily agree with) but while there is that aspect to it, the other aspects - managing finances together, learning to communicate, and making your own family traditions - are very helpful. Three more classes, and lots of homework to do, but it's entirely worth it.

Anyone else here getting married in a church that has requirements like this? If so what did you get out of it??


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Baked & Wired Report

At my job, we always conduct research on food we want to include at our event. As many of you in the DC Metro area may have noticed, we have had a rash of cupcakeries pop up. My first report will be on Baked & Wired, a great that started out focused on coffee and baked goods, but has really expanded its cake line. My wonderful boss was in Georgetown on Friday and surprised me with the latest issue of Town and Country Weddings and this adorable box:Inside were these little beauties: Red Velvet and Strawberry from Baked & Wired in Georgetown.Note the adorable pearl of sugar on the red velvet. Aren't they so sweet? I love the little paper "wings."
So, how did they taste? Delicious. The cakes were denser than some cakes I've had. The frosting not too rich.

Red Velvet had a cream cheese frosting that wasn't too cream cheese nor too sweet. His cake wasn't too sweet and rich like you'd be afraid some Red elvets would be.

Strawberry was very succesful as a Strawberry. Bits of strawberry inside her cake gave it an authentic fruit taste wihout being too fruity. She also was reminiscent of the red berries in Capn' Crunch Cereal - but in a god way.

All in all, very well done. I also love the presentation of the cakes. They'e not overly done up so that you'd question whether the goods were as good as their looks and the paper wrapper makes them easier to eat.

She-She Impressions Self-Inking Stamp

So, I've stumbled upon an adorable company that makes customized self-inking stamps. She She Impression makes fun stamps for all sorts of occasions. You can use them for your Save-the-Dates, as presents for your crafty friends, personalize them for your "We've Moved" announcements, gift tags, or a slew of other uses!Note how much detail they can include on a stamp. I already have one in my initial that was a gift, but these guys are just so darn fun to use. I'm trying to think of what other use I will "need" it for the most.

Photo courtesy of She She Impression.

Friday, October 17, 2008

20% off Sale at iomoi

Have you been to iomoi's website? I lurve all their adorable personalized products - preppy to punk, they have it all! I bought my boss a coaster last year for her birthday because she drinks a lot of Diet Dr. Pepper and coffee at the office and she needed something as stylish as her upon which to rest her drink.

And, now through Sunday, you can shop at 20% off! Just use coupon code "Take20" when checking out :) This coaster would make an adorable personalized favor for bridesmaids.
Their trays are also fun additions to your living room.

It might be a little late for Boss's Day this year, but the holidays are coming up!

All photos courtesy of iomoi.

Happy Friday!

Our Cake Topper....

From Beau-Coup.com.  I am in love with this place.  It's a fabulous resource for supplies, including favors, programs, boxes, and other little knick-knacks.

I'm in love with our cake topper.  Originally we were thinking of doing an M on top of the cake as Mr. JeffMemorial and I (even though I will be taking his name) have the same last initial. 

Mr. JeffMemorial wanted something much more traditional, such as a bride and a groom standing together.  I was looking for something striking and a little more modern.  Something with a fun twist.

With the above pictured cake topper, we reached the perfect compromise.  I got my fun striking modern yet-oh-so-retro cake topper, and he got his tradition.  In the end I think we got one that reflects us rather well, as a couple.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Miss Capitol Hill Wedding Recap - Cutting the Cake

In continuation of my wedding recap I'm going to move on to the cake cutting. We did things a little differently then most brides.

A full sized wedding cake was included in the food package we chose and our reception site has an excellent pastry chef, but unfortunately she was going to be on maternity leave during our wedding. So our site opened up the possibility for us to use an outside baker.

Instead of getting a full sized cake, we suspected (and were correct) that our guests would rather have a real dessert. So we got a house dessert for the guests and used an outside baker to make a small cake just for cutting. 

Upon many recommendations we went with Teri Edwards of Cakes Unlimited. Like most things with the wedding I wanted something very simple and here are the adorable results-

All photos the the work of Linda Wallace

^The cake stand was from TJMaxx and we got the ribbon from a craft store

The other thing we did a little differently was the timing of the cake cutting. It seems like most brides nowadays put the cake on the dance floor and have the cake cutting sometime in the middle of the dancing. I specifically did not want this. I find that most people don't really pay attention to the cake cutting when its done this way.  I wanted to have the cake cutting right after dinner...before dancing and when everyone's dessert would be served.

I can't tell you how DIFFICULT this ended up being. Not for us but for the staff.  I had to say a million times I didn't want the cake on the dance floor and didn't want to cut it during dancing. And yet every time I got a diagram of the proposed layout for the wedding that darn cake table was somewhere on the dance floor. It was like no one could think outside of the box. I didn't think I was asking too much.  I was really worried that when I walked in the cake would be on the dance floor, but thankfully in the end it all came together. 
^I used the same knife my parents used to cut their wedding cake
^We put it on one plate
^And fed each other at the same time instead of one-by-one
^Mmm cake

So how did it taste?  Welllll that's a funny story.  I honestly don't remember the first taste. After that taste we had our reception site put the cake in the freezer and we were going to box it up and take it home with us.  Well the reception site never got the boxes to us before we left and we were so hurried when we left that we forgot to ask.

I was super bummed about this. I had visions of eating wedding cake all week long. It was something I kind of irrationally locked onto and I became a little annoyed at our site for not remembering to give it to us.  So after a week of sulking we ended up having them FEDEX it to us overnight in D.C.  Hehe

When we got it the cake was really bad looking. It definitely had a rough ride from C-ville. And I know the idea of eating a defrosted week old fed-exed cake might disgust most of you but you know what....it was REALLY good.

It was still incredibly moist and the icing was just the right level of sweet. The cake stayed moist in the fridge for another week as we ate off of it. 

So I figure if a cake that's been through all that can still taste awesome then imagine how good it would be under normal circumstances.  All the credit to that goes to Cakes Unlimited!

Vendors So Far:
Video- Monachetti
Photography - Linda Wallace
Hair/Makeup- Daphne Latham
Dress Designer - Vwidon
Shoes - Vera Wang new from Ebay
Bracelet- Carolee
Purse - Belk
Hair Flower - Ella's Alley
Ties - Wild Ties
Socks - The Gap
Bridesmaid Dresses - Maggy London from Nordstrom
Flower Girl Dress- Rare Editions from Dillards
Sportscar - Sports Car Rental
Reception/Accommodations - The Clifton Inn
Getaway Streamerthrows - Aerotechnic
Paper - Andbear

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Color Injection: Shoes & Hair

As I mentioned last week, while I wanted to err on the side of traditional, with our colors being red, black, and white, I wanted to have a little fun; I wanted to inject a little color into the days festivities.

One of the best ways to do that (that I've seen) is putting it into your own outfit, as the bride.  I was a bit stumped for awhile, though.  I definitely wanted a white dress.  While I do find some of the dresses with color very pretty, it just wasn't for me. 

Then I thought I should approach it like I do my daily wardrobe.  Simple base piece, in this case the classic white wedding dress, and then accessorize!

Last week you all saw my short lived foray into the idea of red SNEAKERS of all things for the wedding.  Thankfully I outgrew that idea pretty quickly as the idea formed in my mind that I wanted to have more of a romantic look... no matter how comfortable sneakers may be!

Then I spied these little beauties:

If you're a girl, you're familiar with Zappos.com.  If not, get ye to Zappos.com.  You can shop by color, style, size, heel height, etc.  It's a godsend for any shoe-shopping emergency.

Anyway, I saw these gorgeous little peeptoes and I fell madly in love.  

Then I started thinking about my hair.  I knew right off the bat that I didn't want a veil.  I think they're gorgeous on the right person, but they're just not for me.  I had resigned myself to a simple down-do. Wavy, straight...? Who knew?  Simplicity was going to be the route for me.

I had thrown out the idea of putting anything on my hair as an adornment until a friend inspired me with her own wedding... crafted floral pieces, such as the one below:

Made by Mikiye Creations on Etsy.com.  It adds an element of romance and you can either splash some color into your hair, or you can go traditional with white floral hair pieces.  They are all over Etsy, and definitely worth checking out.

Now I'm back to the age old question: Updo or downdo?  Not something I wish to figure out right now.  

When I decided I wanted all of this color, I realized something... the dress I had chosen, while stunning and amazing just wasn't for me.  It was just... too much.  Too much beading and embellishment.  The new one is perfect.

What can I say?  A girl is allowed to be fickle. Until next time!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I just had my first meeting with a florist and it was fabulous. I met with Shawn and David Cossette of Beehive Events from outside Charlottesville. Luckily, they were in town for another meeting and were able to meet with me at Barnes & Noble in Georgetown. They were a very lovely couple (originally from San Fran) and I really enjoyed meeting with them and brainstorming about possible flower (and non-flower combinations). I LOVE that they're thinking less traditional - we like flowers, but we also discussed mangoes and papayas (very Filipino), figs and grape leaves and rosemary (very Mediterranean). We discussed China berries, Dahlias, and lots of other fun elements. I was so nervous before the meeting just because I knew I had a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head and definitely needed to be reigned in. Plus I wanted her to like me! Signor Keswick asked, "Why are you so flustered?" I wasn't flustered! I was just excited and wanted to make a good impression. Here are some of the beauties we discussed:

Bursa Black Fig
Photo Credit
The China Berry
Photo Credit

Fuschia Dahlias
Photo Credit

Here's a great website I found when searching for flower images: Lani Elizabeth Fine Design in Flowers and Events

So, I lurve Beehive Events, but will I love the budget they propose? We shall see. How did you prioritize what you were going to do to decorate your venue? Are you doing anything different or personal?


Meet the Bridal Party!

So last night I finally completed my asking of bridesmaids. Mr. GP has a general idea who he wants in his party but I'm uncertain of whether he's clarified who's doing what.

In my party we have S - my older sister, who's playing Maid of Honor. Unfortunately, her and I haven't spoken in a couple months since we had a tift after her visiting, but taking away the title would cause more trouble than it's worth so while I'm still including her, I have no expectations as to her level of involvement. My mother suggested demoting her to a regular bridesmaid but m'eh, again, I don't want drama and my sister holds a mean grudge. Just like me.

Next, we have L - Mr. GP's younger sister who's a nice girl, she's a freshman in college outside of Boston this year. I don't know her too well but we have plenty in common including a great sense of style - she's about as obsessed with JCrew and Vineyard Vines as I am.

Then we have SL, TLB, and E three of my best gal pals from college. E I asked last night, we had a big fight this past spring and thus when I asked my bridesmaids we weren't speaking. Since we started speaking again, things have been ten fold better so I decided to ask my last girl right. I'll get to that in a few minutes. TLB and S and I have been friends since sophomore year in college. Those two girls are included in some of my greatest memories of college. Finally, I have N my 11 year old cousin who's my junior bridesmaid. Her and I are about 4 days and 14 years apart but she's got a spunky personality and I've adored her since day one. Not to mention she's probably the only cousin I actually speak to out of all 30 of them.

So big sister I asked over the phone, I asked L over dinner one weekend when we were up in CT, and then I asked S over the phone (I really can't keep a secret) but TLB I totally surprised by asking her in Boston at the end of June over drinks. She was absolutely surprised, which was awesome. Last night, I asked L over drinks, I bought her a copy of the "Bridesmaids Guide" and gave her a sweet card asking her to be a bridesmaid. I thought it was mildly creative, more so creative than being "wanna be a bridesmaid?" over the phone? I kind of dropped the ball on my other gals so I wanted to make up for it.

I'm pretty excited about including E in my bridal party especially since all my other gals are so far away and with an MIA Maid of Honor I need all the support I can get and since she lives down the road and I talk to her a rather...daily basis it works out. My mother and FMIL were a bit concerned that I was letting the bridal party get too big but I don't think it is, I have all the gals I want standing up there next to me. I could have been more creative asking them all, but with tricks up my sleeve, I sense I'll make it up to them.

How'd you ask your bridesmaids? How many are you having??

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Paddington Bear!

For those of you who don't know me, Google is one of my favorite websites. Today, they had the most adorable way to celebrate Paddington Bear's 50th Birthay. I looove it and it totally makes me even more nostalgic and want a way to incorporate something from my childhood in the wedding. Of course, this is a little hard when you're trying to plan a sophisticated soiree for (mostly) adults, but I swear I will be able to find balance. Has anyone else felt like they've been trying to do too many different things? How have you been able to focus your wedding elements?

Birthday bling

So, next month is Signor Keswick's birthday. I know some girls give their fiance's "engagement bling" (something for them to treasure since we will always love our ringts). I've been trying to think of something *super* special to give him since we just became engaged and his birthday is right around the corner, but I'm stumped! 2 years ago I gave him a remote car starter. Last year I gave him a really nice watch. I've considered cufflinks, but those are more like Christmas presents - not a "Oh my gosh, you got me this for my birthday? Sweet!" present. He has an Xbox, I have a Wii.

I've considered a GPS, but it doesn't really say "I love you forever." He loves tools, but he doesn't have space for a Craftsman tool set (yet).

Any thoughts or suggestions? Did you guys get your hunk a special something?
What were your thoughts about this new "tradition"?

In Which Miss Charlottesville Discovers She Is a Bad Bride

I stink.

A couple of weeks ago I went to take a tour of my venue, the Clifton Inn.  Miss Capitol Hill did a photographic tour of the Inn last year, which I found really helpful in thinking about where I wanted to have my wedding.  Plus, Mr. C-Ville was in London, and wanted me to take pictures of Clifton in September so he could see what the flowers looked like and where the sun was and all that good stuff.

I was in such a rush to catch the bus to Charlottesville that I forgot my trusty digital camera.  I called my mom, practically in tears, and she said, "Don't worry, I'll let you borrow my camera.  It uses film, but that shouldn't be a problem."  That's my mom, always prepared. (Say what?  Film?  What do you do with that?)

The only problem was the film that she had dated from July 2006.  So the beautiful bright pinks and purples turned into sort of brownish red colors:

But I can't blame the film and the camera for the crappy pictures I got, because I apparently was posessed by the Spirit of Uselessness and decided to take some pictures of trucks driving away:

It's not even a good picture of trucks driving away.

I feel like I let everybody down.  I don't have good pictures for Mr. C-Ville, and the pictures aren't even helpful for me.  And what about if you're thinking about getting married at Clifton? I'd be happy to share blurry pictures of the swimming pool.

I had the best of intentions in this photographic mission.  But everything went awry.  

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chocolate looooove

I'm no where near deciding what we want for our reception food, but I've always loved the idea of a creative dessert bar - more interactive than say cute hurricanes filled with jelly beans and chocolates. Yes, I know. Martha does wonderful settings of them, but I feel like the guests will appreciate something more interactive - and the tastier the better! Behold, Exhibit A:
Vosges Haut-Chocolat is has added a special events division. How fun are these adorable shooters and truffles? I lurve anything mini or in shooters. Tres chic! They also make chocolates in exotic flavors, like chili peppers and spices! And they can do tastings and pairings. Mmmm.

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Say "I Do" to the Open Bar

This beer's all ready for the black-tie wedding!
from beeradvocate.com

I am fortunate in life to have wonderful friends with many and sundry unique talents such that I never want for advice or assistance when life presents me a problem. Helping me with all my alcohol problems (haha, beer humor) is my friend and bridesmaid, A. Not only is she a beer enthusiast, but also a beer professional as she works for a national distributor bringing delicious beverages to your favorite watering holes. She asked if she could share some of her knowledge with all of you via a guest post and I jumped on the opportunity...so without further ado:

Dearest DCNearlyweds,

I am a bridesmaid in Miss Fairfax’s wedding next October, and have really enjoyed reading all of your posts these past few months (every workday needs a distraction!) There was one post in particular, from Miss Gallery Place, about her concern over providing an open bar on a small budget. Let’s be honest, weddings are less fun without open bars. I myself have been to five weddings already this year (with another one this Sunday!) and belieeeeeve me, nothing says “I Don’t” like paying for drinks.


Not only am I a bridesmaid, but I also work for a beer distributor here in DC and do lots of event planning. And when I read Miss Gallery Place’s post – I begged Miss Fairfax to let me provide everyone with a little beer math in the hopes that at least some of your wedding planning pains might be eased. The main question you have to ask is – do I want liquor at this event, or just beer and wine? I personally think that liquor is a little trickier (and makes guests a little sloppier). But here’s a suggestion:

My boyfriend’s sister got married last year - and they just went to the ABC store in Maryland (go there, it’s cheaper because alcohol isn’t regulated by the state like it is in VA and NC) and bought x-dollars worth of liquor and told the bartenders at the reception to pour until it ran out. After that, you were out of luck. They also had light beer (Miller Lite cans).* And they didn’t run out. There was a small corkage fee at the reception hall, but nothing compared to the total cost of allowing a reception hall to run your open bar. Yikes.

Now, if you’re just into beer and wine, think of it like this:

The estimate I came up with is based on Miss Gallery Place’s 80 person count, this can be adjusted for your guest count, and a budget of $800.00.

If there are 80 wedding guests in attendance, and you are also serving wine, assume about 50 guests will drink beer. Be generous with your guests (especially the guys) and assume that everyone will have a maximum 6 drinks apiece. Therefore:

50 guests x 6 drinks = 300 drinks

300 drinks / 24 (beers in a case) = approx. 13 cases (I rounded up)

The five most common beers served at any reception are Miller Lite, Yuengling, Corona, Blue Moon, and Sam Adams Lager. Twelve-packs of these brands should be available for under $15.99 in the District (Corona has the lowest pricing here in DC than in any other market in the country) and in some cases will be even less (like $10.99 per twelve-pack).** For the sake of math let’s say you buy 26 12-packs (13 cases) in an assortment of flavors:

26 (12-packs) x $15.99 (per case) = $415.74

$415.74 + $37.42 (9% sales tax) = $453.16

This leaves you roughly $350.00 of your $800 budget for wine and non-alcoholic beverages (if that isn’t already included in your per-plate total). Harris Teeter carries an excellent white Mediterranean wine for about $6.99 and Trader Joe’s has a great red wine (a cab-sauv mix) for $5.99 a bottle.***

The conclusion to this novella of a post? Open bars are soooo do-able, and for relatively cheap. I hope this helps – good luck everyone!

*Don't dis the can! It's the perfect excuse to offer your guests the wedding favor of choice for all the young prepsters down south, the WEDDING KOOZIE! And as my dear friend who has quite a collection advised me, "don't forget to order enough to give out at all your showers, engagement parties, and reception and also send the whole bridal party home with 15 after the wedding."Koozie and matching programs from clared23 on flickr

**While Costco is not always cheaper, doing a price comparison with your local grocery store can be worthwhile. Costco is also a great place to get your N/A bevs like water and soda.

***If you have a neighborhood wine shop, check them out too. They may be able to assist you by finding a distributor that supplies a wine you like at a price point that fits your budget. We love Unwind in Alexandria, and have already been in to talk to Vanessa about wines. She's going to help us find wine and Champagne at our price point. More on this later...

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