Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Adorable Flower Girl Dress

I have been looking for the perfect flower girl dress for way too long. I want something yellow, like the BM dresses. I want to be the only one wearing white one my day. I first saw the FG dress at my boutique in Richmond, but the price was more than I think a FG dress should cost.

The dress is by Dessy, and I recently found the dress at a boutique in Baltimore not far from my job, and I'm thrilled about it. You can even purchase a matching doll dress.

Isn't that the cutest thing you have ever seen?! I just love it, and I'm so happy to have such an awesome little lady in our wedding. I'm so excited to give her a doll with this dress that I may just give it to her for Christmas, so she can look forward to when she gets to wear this adorable dress herself.

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Engagement Pictures!

I never really understood the point of engagement pictures. I guess it captures the moment in time, when you got engaged, but it still confuses me. Am I supposed to use these for something? Mr. CP's friend and groomsmen, offered to take ours for us. He is just starting a business, and did an amazing job. We are so pleased with these pictures!!! I bet you can't tell is was the most humid, hot night ever. We decided on the Zoo, since this is where we got engaged and where we fell in love. Check out some of my favorites.

<--- This is my favorite picture from the day. It's the exact place where Mr. CP proposed!
What do you think of the idea of Engagement Photos? What do you use them for? Any idea?
(All pictures were taken by Groomsmen Jimmie Perkins)

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Hotel Wedding

Almost immediately after Mr. CP and I got engaged, I was overwhelmed with the planning. Where do we start? What should we do? I decided, we should begin with setting a date and picking a place, which go hand in hand. We knew we wanted a hotel wedding. Originally, I pictured gorgeous botanical gardens, and an outdoor setting, with mason jars of fresh lemonade, but with my hair frizzing in an ounce of humidity, our families not being local, plus that special something about stumbling upstairs after a wedding, we realized a hotel was perfect for us. So we looked at a few places.
We began with Cherry Blossom season. YES! Gorgeous! I loved this idea because it represents DC so well, plus, I had visions of beautiful bunches of pink everywhere.... However, my hopes and dreams were crashed when I realized this was not possible. See, we are Jewish, and a Rabbi won't drive to marry us until the sunsets on the Sabbath, which realistically puts a Saturday wedding, from the months of March-October, beginning at 9:00 pm. That didn't quite work for us. This caused a lot of arguments between me and my parents, about the level of religion we wanted in our wedding, but I did want a traditional wedding, and it meant so much to my parents, so I gave in.
We decided on a Sunday, May 24, 2009 (Memorial Day weekend) to be exact. The venue search began. On a Sunday, it is not "Shabbat," any more, and the Rabbi can come at anytime. Plus, we get an entire 3 day weekend to enjoy the wedding festivities. The only downside is people telling me it is rude to have a wedding on a holiday weekend. To them, I simply, say, "It's rude for you to tell me that." The conversation usually ends there. No, I am kidding, but people do say that to me, all the time!
The first place we looked at was in Crystal City, VA. Mr. CP loves Virgina, and even though I am a MD girl, I agreed to a VA venue. The first stop was a pretty hotel, the main room was gorgeous, but the "feel" of the hotel was more like a conference hotel than a wedding hotel. I had trouble picturing our wedding there, plus, they host "Rolling Thunder" Memorial Day weekend every year, which is Veteran's Motorcycle group. This led to endless jokes from my dad, "Instead of Black Tie, we can have Black Leather!"

(I took these)

The next stop was in Old Town, Alexandria and was on the lower end of our budget. I do love Old Town, and we know we could get some gorgeous pictures with the cute streets and the water. However, it needed a lot of renovations and wasn't in the best shape. The halls looked dirty and the main room was not so pretty. It was exciting that with the difference in price, we could do so much more fun details, but it didn't feel right.

(I took these myself)

The last place of the day, after much frustration, was another Hotel in Crystal City, The Crystal City Marriott. Almost immediately after walking in, I knew this was right. I saw vibrant colors in the lobby, and a long spiral staircase and could actually picture myself getting married here. Almost immediately after we arrived, the front desk person offered to help us. The service was amazing from the very second we got there, and only got better.

source for both of the above images

(I took the 2 pictures above)

Then we went to the ballroom. I love the hallway that leads up to the room, and at the time, thought it would be where the cocktail hour would be. I later found out, they have a totally separate room, but I still love the hallway.

The ballroom doesn't have windows, so I know I will need to make the room gorgeous in another way. We need an exceptionally large dance floor so there is plenty of room for the Horah Dance! The wonderful staff at the Hotel, even offered to come in on their day off and set up the ballroom with 180 chairs, and a full dance floor, so we could see what the room looked like. When we got there, they even had chocolates and champagne for us!

Looks pretty big, right?

Then we got to see the rooms, and after this, it was a DONE DEAL!
Source for the above pictures

The staff was so accommodating, they made us feel really special. . They also gave us free suites and lowered the price for our parents. The food was great too! We are so excited to have our wedding there!!

Have you decided on a venue? Tell me what's important to you!

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Miss Cleveland Park

Hello Ladies! I am so excited to be a new contributor on DC NearlyWeds! I would love to share a little about myself, and Mr. Cleveland Park. I am a DC native, grew up in MD and am now living in Cleveland Park. I work in Human Resources and I am 28. Mr. Cleveland Park is from all over, CA, MI, FL and VA, to name a few places and is in Government contracting. We have been dating for a little over 2 years and have been engaged for about 7 months. Our wedding is May 24, 2009 (6 months from today!) and yes, it is during Memorial Day weekend...I am that bride. (reasons to come at a later post)

Here is our story:
How we met: How we met...We met each other on jdate.com. Yes, Internet dating is still somewhat Taboo, but when you are searching for someone with the same values and background as you, Adams Morgan may not be the best place. In fact, neither of us were paying members, but I paid just so I could talk to him. I had seen his profile and had a hunch he was a good catch, and when I say he was "online" I went for it! He says my first IM to him was, "What does a girl gotta do to get some attention around here?" After we had a few emails and phone calls, we planned a date. Mr. CP showed up on the first date with a container of speciality olives from The Italian Store in Arlington, which I had mentioned were my favorite. (They really do have the best olives) We went to a local bar, Aroma in Cleveland Park, and ordered Martinis (With extra olives!). I, who never get nervous, could not catch my breath all night. I truly think it was "Love at First Sight."

This is us. Aren't we cute?

I have to admit, I am a very decisive person, as is Mr. CP. We both knew right away this was right. We moved in together after 9 months and he proposed at a year and a half.

The proposal was like this. Mr. CP planned a big "date night," after months of my pleading for him to plan one. He took me to the Palm for dinner. Now, this is funny because as we walk to our weekly bar trivia, we pass the Palm, and I always joke with him that he should be taking me there. After a delicious steak dinner, we went to the Zoo. where I always say is where we first fell in love. (After a few weeks of dating, we both called in sick to our jobs and enjoyed an unseasonably warm day in December at the National Zoo. We basically had the Zoo to ourselves, and really enjoyed it. The zookeepers gave us special treatment and we just had an amazing day. We go to the Zoo a lot now, so it was a perfect place to get engaged) After realizing none of the animals were out, Mr. CP proposed by the Lion's Den. I looked behind me to find him down on one knee with a ring. According to him, I started yelling at him, but that's debatable :)

Here is our reenactment. He proposes to me daily, since then. (Not so much! ha!)

I can't wait to share all the fun and craziness I have dealt with, while planning a chic DC wedding.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Inn at Little Washington: New Event Space

One day, I swear, I will dine at The Inn at Little Washington. Chef Patrick O'Connell has received some of the greatest accolades in the culinary industry and I would love to stay overnite and revel in Chef O'Connell's mastery.

But alas, I don't have an amazing anniversary to celebrate (yet!), but one day we will have saved up to celebrate a special occasion there (according to this Washington Biz Journal article, it landed on Forbes's list of most expensive restaurants - sorry I can't find Forbes's original list.)
However, for those who are searching for the most romantic and delicious meal in our area, do consider The Inn at Little Washington. Or, better yet, reserve their new Ballroom for the "Meeting of the Families." After a special meal there, they'll be jumping at the next opportunity to hang out with their new kin. The new space can seat 36 for dinner or 30 for a boardroom meeting. (Thanks to BizBash Washington for the tip!)



Friday, November 21, 2008

Sweet Tea Vodka

For Sig. Keswick's 26th birthday party, I thought it the perfect occasion to test out Firefly's new Sweet Tea vodka. Yes, Sweet. Tea. Vodka. My good friend, a North Carolina native, told me about it after hearing about it during a trip home. When we were buying the courvoissier for the baklava cheesecake, there it was right next to the cashier! It was fate.

Now, growing up, I didn't actually think I liked iced tea because I never had "real" iced tea until I had fresh iced tea at my friend's house in high school. I'm from a part of Virginia where, when you order "iced tea," they hear what the "Yankees" call "sweetened ice tea." You don't even have to specify "sweet iced tea" or "sweet tea." I'm probably not as much of a connoisseur as a gal whose mum made it fresh every day after school (oh the joys of being a first generation mix of the motherland and the new), but I know what good sweet tea should taste like.

So, how was it? The back instructs to mix 1 part water to 1 part vodka and a dash of fresh lemon. The verdict? Ridiculously delicious - dangerously so. It tasted JUST LIKE the real thing + an added bite from the alcohol. I don't recommend the 1:1 ratio for Sweet Tea vodka rookies. This is vodka, after all. And if you want this to be your one and only drink of the night, you'll want to cut it with some water - that's all you need.

Wouldn't this be something great to use for a personalized martini with a southern flair? Or you could serve it with some lemonade for at your bachelorette party! The possibilities are endless. I'm so excited to see what concoctions today's mixologists come up with this new development.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

To All the Preppy Brides...

If you're like me and planning on hitting up Vineyard Vines for ties and/or sashes, take advantage of this sale (hat tip - facebook) that ends on the 25th. Fiancé and I decided long ago we'd be having the groomsmen in navy suits with VV ties - we just haven't decided what style ties (bow ties v. neckties) and what pattern.

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When you know...

They say that for everything wedding planning "when you know, you just...know." This has been true for me in terms of dress, Reception Hall, Church, and now to add to that list, my shoes.

A few days ago I had talked about my shoe dilemma. Well my fellow nearlyweds, shoe stress BEGONE! I found the shoes. Now they're not exactly what I wanted but then again my wedding dress wasn't either but I just knew that it was the right dress. Just like I just know that these shoes are the right shoes.

It happened quite randomly actually. I got my new Real Simple Magazine last night and they had a section about holiday outfits. Then there they were. Paired with a sequin clutch and a red dress. Clearly they weren't all meant to be paired together.

They're taller than I wanted, they're not navy but tealish (though they could be darker. Photos are always deceiving) but they're opened toed and have the cutest flower on them!

They're beauts no? The heel is 3" but I figure by the time I get to the reception I'm going to want to kick off my heels anyhow. Worst case scenario if I find shoes that I like better sometime in the next few months - as long as the heel is the same height it'll be fine and I can return them.

I'm infatuated, they're in my budget and I'm convinced, despite the cons that these are THE shoes. I should listen to my gut no?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

To DJ or not to DJ

As fiancé and I have recently - finally - compiled a budget, we decided on a $500 budget for the DJ. It's not a do or die thing - I MUST HAVE A DJ - no no, it's not like that. I'd prefer one but upon some first searches, most of the DJ's I've come across thanks to DC Knottie Reviews and similar sites, is most are between $600-$1000 that I've seen.

So I ran the idea by Fiancé - we're paying for a dance floor but perhaps we could just do an IPod wedding. Perhaps it might not be so bad. Our planner at our reception hall offered to Emcee it for us if we so desired, and could put the IPod behind the bar so that we can't mess with it (because I know myself and I totally would) .

But do I want entire control of the music? We have our first song picked out, I have the father-daughter dance picked out, we haven't really talked about the mother-son dance, but really? I know what songs I want played. I'm just...nervous. What if the IPod dies? I could see that happening. What if it runs out of battery? Guh. There are too many what if's for me to concern myself with but then there's the bigger what if - what if we can't find a DJ in our budget? With our guest list still about 20 people over where we want to be, we don't really have the room to go over anywhere else in the budget. *sigh*

Does anyone have any experience with Ipod Weddings? What are your thoughts on the DJ v. IPod debate?

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Top Chef: Season 5 Premier at Good Stuff Eatery

This post is long overdue, but as many of you know, I'm still trying to play catch-up on my posts. Now, if you haven't realized by now from all my posts on food, I'm a little infatuated with anything culinary and the epicurean lifestyle. (I'm only getting started on register for all the kitchen tools I will actually be using and have expressed a need for in the last 2 years.)

Naturally, I am a major fan of Bravo's Top Chef. You can imagine, therefore, my excitement when Chef Spike Mendohlson opened Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill this summer - so excited, that I went there twice after its opening week: First, my new co-workers drove me there all the way from Ballston to try out the place and check out the space. Second, I met my former co-workers there after a reception on the Hill. It was wonderful and I won't even tell you about how giddy I became when I spoke to Chef Spike as he expedited the orders while I waited in line. He's very charming. Let's leave it at that.

So, of course I watched the premier of Season 5 of Top Chef in style last Wednesday at Good Stuff Eatery ! Spike invited me via email (and the rest of his restaurant's subscribers) as he was on Twitter for the show. Lauren and I arrived super early to fend off the non-existent lines (I mean, it was packed. I wouldn't recommend going ;). We sampled Ryan's Milky Way milkshake (divine). Then we shared the famed Toasted Marshmallow milkshake.

This little beauty was, seriously, a girl scout campfire in your mouth-minus the fire and the mosquitos. Somehow, you could taste the toasted outside of the marshmallow in the milky ice cream concoction - almost like you were slurping off the outside of the marshmallow and it turned liquid in your mouth. Heaven. Milky, marshallowy, heaven.

At 11 PM, Chef Spike offered beer on the house to all of us watching the show (they normally close at 11 M-F), but the premier went until 11:15 PM - super special. It was aroud this time that I summoned up the courage to ask him to sign my Top Chef cookbook that Lauren gave me for my birthday.

And, like the gracious host he is, he greeted all of his guests at the door. I will definitely be back for future showings - but I definitely recommend that you check out his place if you haven't. I'm not sure if the restaurant caters yet, but this would be a great little site to show your visiting friends and family that is unique to D.C.

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Engagement Session Follow Up: Part Due

Here they are!! The photos I've been waiting for!

The weather, as I said, was gorgeous and my fiance was a rockstar. We went with Robert Holley and he was absolutely fantastic. My fiance and I met with several photographers in the area and the decision to go with Rob was incredibly easy. He was one of the first photographers we met with, but I wanted to do our due diligence and we met with a couple more. He seemed to good to be true, but I'm so glad we chose him.

Because we booked him for our wedding, our engagement session was free - and we absolutely love the pictures he took! Unbeknownst to us, he made a short slideshow of his favorite pictures and sent it to us within days of the shoot. Both of our mothers AND our sisters cried! They watch it all the time and my fiance and I watch the slideshow just because it helps us relive (as cheesy as it sounds) how much we love each other (send me your email if you want to see the slideshow or the rest of the pics at the Jefferson Memorial).

Photo Credit

Rob focuses on capturing the emotion and feeling of the moment and he did such a wonderful job. (In the picture above, around the pillar on the right hand side were two little ladies and a little old man that would not stop taking pictures of us. I think they thought we were famous.)

In addition, I'm super excited at how much experience Rob has and his professionalism. My fiance's groomsmen are basically all his fraternity brothers and I'm not sure how many photographers would be able to tame a group as fratastic as theirs, but I have no doubt he will be successful and our pictures will be great.

Photo Credit

Monday, November 17, 2008

Favorite Online Wedding Resources

Just dropping in again! I'm having major computer issues right now and with Christmas right around the corner (and lots of sales at Best Buy) I'm trying to control my urges to get a new blogging device..er, computer!

I was putzing about on The Knot message boards today and I saw an old old old post (ok like 3 months old) about favorite online forums and sites for wedding resources. One bride listed the DC Knottie Vendor reviews and another bride responded saying she had never seen the page! My response: Whhhaaaaa???

But I forget sometimes that I too was once a naive bride, unknowing in the ways of DC vendor reviews, Knottie bios and boards, etc. So I wanted to share a few of my favorites and ask you to share yours in the comments section!

  • DC Knottie Vendor Reviews-One of my favorites! This one was particularly invaluable to me when we first started searching for venues because I could see venues that REAL local brides used, what brides thought of the venues, and what type of wedding they had there. Along with the information from the venues themselves, DCKVR really helped Mr. Fairfax and I narrow our list down to just a handful of places we knew it would be worth our time to visit. I have continued to use it as I've looked for other vendors. I'm not sure how often it's updated or how frequently brides add their bios, but most of the reviews are less than 2 years old.
  • Wedding Wire-One of my married friends tipped me off about Wedding Wire. Personally, I prefer this site to others for searching for any and all vendors available for a particular service. It's a search-able database where you can look up vendors by type (florist, baker, etc) or name. You also type in your zip code so the search returns vendors near your location. Brides are also able to review vendors, but only AFTER using them, so the reviews are from actual customers, not people who "heard" this vendor was "great." The listings are simple, straight-forward and provide information without confusing fluff! I found my photographer and my florist using Wedding Wire.
  • Indie Bride Kvetch Boards- Love this! Mostly because it's very very VERY easy to search. These are real brides sharing information about all things wedding-related (and some things non-wedding related) with each other. If you're a do-it-yourself-er, definitely check this out as there are lots of crafty chicks on these boards. When we briefly considered getting married in the Outer Banks, this was my #1 source for info because it was one of the only sites I found where I could do a search for "outer banks" and return usable information and real advice from other brides. One of my favorite features are the "Repository" posts where brides share all information on a particular topic. Right now, since I've got invitations on the brain, I'm really into the Invitation Repository where people have shared photos of their invites. There's also a wording repository if you're looking for unique ideas for invitation wording. This board also has a community-oriented, happy-go-lucky vibe, and did I mention it's REALLY easy to search?
What are you favorite wedding resources online? Uh, and if anyone has an advice for how to search for Knottie Bios on The Knot, I'd love to hear it...I still can't figure that out!

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Bought a Wedding Dress!

After months of dithering, I finally went and bought my wedding dress.  I just loved the way I looked in it--I felt like a bride, rather than just a chick wearing a bride costume.  And it's so comfortable, I never wanted to take it off!   As my matron of honor said, "You're glowing."   Here  it is:

It's an Amy Kuschel strapless A-line gown, made of silk chiffon lined with silk charmeuse.  It'll be perfect for my late summer wedding.

The shop where I bought the gown, Gabriella New York, is featured in New York magazine's latest wedding issue.  If you're up in New York, you definitely should check out her shop.  They are so great there--they make the process fun.  

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ray's Hell Burgers

Recently we dined at Ray's Hell Burgers in Rosslyn for a quick Thursday night date. It was delicious!! The space is small, but the burgers are larger than life! Check out how thick that Swiss Cheese is!
The meat was cooked to perfection and they have several exotic combinations from which to choose.

I looove mini-anything to be served at our wedding reception, especially later on in the evening after many of the guests have been dancing the night away. I'm not sure if we'll try to do something like sliders and grilled cheese or more breakfasty - like Early Risers (fried egg and ham or bacon on an English muffin or bagel) and mini French Toast. I have a theory that sliders will be the cupcakes and mini-grilled cheese will be the new sliders. But until then, I will still enjoy them all.

Where are you getting your reception menu inspiration?


Cuisinart Contest!

I received this lovely email from Cuisinart last week. They're doing a video recipe contest.
The lucky winner receives 5 FREE Cuisinart appliances of their choosing!! I tried to make a video when I was making Signor Keswick's baklava cheesecake birthday cake last week, but I ran out of battery!

I still may try to enter. I think this would be a fun weekend activity and a great way to get a head start on kitchen appliance stocking!!

Happy taping and good luck!

Macy's Wedding Registry

I was a little anxious for our first real registry day. We had looked online and gotten ideas, but we hadn't been in the store yet. I've heard horror stories where the bride and groom got in a horrible fight over something one of them wanted to register for, which resulted in a silent car ride home, a night of sleeping separately, and they didn't talk until the next day at dinner.

I decided we'd start with Macy's. We definitely want to register at Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn (you can get store credits at either store if you return an item to one or the other because the companies are under the same umbrella company!!), but Williams Sonoma is usually more expensive than Macy's, despite having the same product. I thought I'd give our guests at least that luxury.

All in all, the experience was great. Macy's has many partnerships with other brands, so you can get fill-ins from the brand (e.g. Vera Wang or Kate Spade) if they don't
carry it. Cheryl, the woman who met with us at the Pentagon City Macy's was very friendly and helpful. AND I got to register for a KitchenAid Stand Mixer!! I have been waiting for it for 2 years now! I'm not sure if anyone will get it for us, but now there's hope!

The minor disappointment from the day was Macy's china selection. Don't get met wrong, they had a lot of brands from which to choose (Lenox, Waterford, Kate Spade, Vera Wang), but neither Signor Keswick nor I were blown away or fell in love with any of the china sets they had. I checked online and it looks like Bloomingdales doesn't have any more than Macy's.

So what's a bride-to-be to do? I don't want to register for something unless we both love it - and china is going to be with us for a while. I know I should lean more towards traditional so that we don't get tired of it and it doesn't date itself, but still. Shouldn't we be excited to use "the good china"?
Where did you register for your china?

Friday, November 14, 2008

BM Attire

Half of my BMs have ordered their gowns and shoes, and I am so excited. I love their dresses so much! I even tried on a sample. (I wouldn't put my favorite gals in something if I wouldn't even wear it myself.) The ladies are wearing a sunshine-colored Alfred Angelo gown for our spring wedding in Richmond.

I may love the dress too much, because I've chosen to have the BMs and MOHs wear the exact same gown and shoes! All ladies will also wear pearl earrings and a necklace, which FI and I will give them as gifts during our rehearsal dinner. Yet, I still think I want to differentiate the MOHs just slightly. They will wear different pearls from the BMs. I've also thought about sashes for the MOH's, either pink or white, and Davids Bridal has some really pretty sash embellishments, so I've got a couple that I really like.

My concern is that I don't want to overadorn he MOHs and have the BMs look plain beside them. However, I'm pretty pleased with my decision so far, and the dresses look great on all the ladies.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Great FREE Guest Book Idea

Just had to drop in real quick and let you know about this offer from Oprah and Snapfish!
If you go to the Snapfish website using this link and sign in or sign up for Snapfish you can make a FREE 8x11 photo book courtesy of Oprah!

This would make a fantastic and unique guest book featuring pictures of you, your fiance and your families and friends. With a couple of fine point sharpies, your guests can sign the pages and make a truly special guest book and keepsake!

For you already married gals, this could be a great an inexpensive option for putting together some extra "Wedding Albums" in time for the holidays.

I've ordered prints from Snapfish before and been very happy with the quality, so I definitely recommend checking it out! Hurry up though, the offer is only good until Sunday, November 16!!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Like Your Shoooeeessss

Since I bought my dress, I've been envisioning my dream wedding shoes. I'm a shoe addict with no fewer than 30-50 pairs of shoes taking over half the closet floor. I always envisioned a beautiful pair of Kate Spade heels for my wedding day, figuring if there was one time to spend $300 on a pair of shoes wouldn't my wedding day be one of those?

When I changed my wedding colors from pink/green to navy blue/green, I decided I wanted navy heels. Not tall heels, more like kitten heels - I think 1" sounds good. Maybe 2". I loathe tall heels for long periods of time - my knees are bad from all of my running and 3 1/2" heels for 12 hours probably wouldn't help that much at all. Then I decided I didn't like the beads that many bridal shoes have. I wanted a bow. A simple bow. Additionally, I hate straps around my ankles or across my feet. Because our big day is in early September, I'd love to have a slip on, open toe type shoe.

Have I found said shoes? Not yet. I think I might be narrowing it down too much. Recently, after a few debacles on the internets searching for shoes where I found a pair that was either too expensive, too tall, too sparkly, or had too many strappy things, I found a few that I liked. Of course, the first one...too expensive.

Kate Spade Nordstrom.com $345

The next one? Too granny like.

Glint Anderson Nordstrom.com $90

Not navy enough/too expensive.

JCrew.com $100

JCrew.com $140
Way out of my budget.

I found a dream pair on Jcrew.com but upon looking at what I could afford and what mother GP can afford since she's buying the veil, shoes and has bought the dress, I figured, Huh, they're 30% off...maybe?? (see above. Pair 4 is the pair in question)

No Dice. "I'm not paying for shoes that are a quarter of the price of your dress" blah blah blah. *sigh* Thus eliminating the lovely Kate Spade shoes.

So the search for the navy shoes continues. It doesn't always pay to know exactly what you want. Just so you know. For now I'll continue looking not just for dyeables, but for navy shoes. That don't cost $300. *sigh* I'm hoping for better luck with all the holiday sales coming up.

What are you planning on doing for shoes? Are you going traditional with white? Or trying to spice things up with a color of your choice?

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Carine's Bridal GET THERE!

Huge Designer Wedding Gown Sample Sale – Up to 75% Off – December 7, 2008 at The Ritz-Carlton Tyson’s Corner

Featuring sample wedding gowns from premier designers including

Carolina Herrara, Melissa Sweet, Reem Acra, and Platinum Collection and more!

Carine’s Bridal Atelier, the District’s leading couture bridal salon, will be hosting a special event at The Ritz-Carlton Tyson’s Corner on Sunday, December 7, 2008. Sample wedding gowns from premier designers, including Carolina Herrara, Melissa Sweet, Reem Acra, and The Platinum Collection and more, will be on sale at up to 75% off retail prices—a fantastic savings for brides! Gowns will be priced at $999, $1,299, and $1,499.

All 2008 sample dresses must be sold to make room for new 2009 sample gowns. Carine’s Bridal Atelier offers custom alterations onsite in their Georgetown boutique.

Special Event Details

Date & Time: Sunday, December 7, 2008 (10am – 7pm)

Location: The Ritz-Carlton Tyson’s Corner
The Plaza Room, 6th Floor
1700 Tysons Boulevard
McLean, VA 22102
(703) 506-4300

Additional Important Information
  • Sale is first come, first serve
  • No appointments taken
  • No merchandise hold policy
  • Designer labels include Angel Sanchez, Carolina Herrera, Jenny Lee, Junko Yoshioka, Karl Lagerfeld, Melissa Sweet, Platinum Collection, Reem Acra, Rosa Clara, St. Pucchi, and The Vineyard Collection
  • All shopping and “try-ons’s” are self-service
  • Sales consultants will be available to answer questions and provide assistance as needed
  • Entire ballroom will serve as an open dressing room; brides welcome to try-on gowns anywhere there is available space
  • All brides are recommended to wear bras, lingerie, shorts, and underwear to try on gowns as entire ballroom will become a dressing rooms
  • All sales are final (no returns allowed); gowns are sold “As-Is”
  • Cash and credit cards accepted. NO checks allowed

About Carine’s Bridal Aterlier
Carine’s Bridal Atelier highlights the artistry of design in bridal fashion, and combines unrivaled expertise with the largest collection of couture designers in DC. Carine's tailors bridal fashion to a body type, personality and destination. Currently, over 100 of the best dresses from today’s top designers are onsite at the Georgetown boutique. Carine’s also offers veils, accessories, and onsite custom alterations.

Regular store hours are Monday through Friday from 11am to 7pm and Saturdays from 11am to 6pm. All viewings are by appointment only. Contact information: 1726 Wisconsin Avenue NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20007; Tel: 202.965.4696; Email: info@carinesbridal.com; Website: www.carinesbridal.com


Friday, November 07, 2008


I remember one of the saddest moments I had once I realized how small our budget was for our wedding was the fact that we couldn't go to some crazy off the wall to die for destination for our honeymoon.

We spent weeks and weeks thinking about where we could go that wasn't just settling. We wanted somewhere nice. We we realized we were only going to have a four day honeymoon due to cost and time constraints, we wanted it to be memorable.

Then it came to us.

Colonial Williamsburg.

Just a few hours away. Absolutely stunning and romantic in the fall. Affordable, but it's a real vacation that is unique. Not only that, but since it isn't too far, it is a place we can go back to for vacations and romantic anniversaries.

I highly recommend it, because not only is it gorgeous and historical, you also have the brewery and Busch Gardens right in the area.

We'll be staying for four days and three nights at the Williamsburg Lodge.

Some of you might ignore this place because it seems geeky and silly, but check it out:

Colonial Williamsburg!

It's definitely not what you think! Unless what you think is awesome, in which case you're right on the money.

**Sorry for my absence. Between the election and work, things have been hectic around here for this bride.

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A Heart Attack in Waiting

We got an email from our planner at our reception hall (well, restaurant) yesterday. He started the email by saying "this is worst case scenario, we can talk about all options next week."

110 people. Open bar, roaming appetizers, and steak for entree's for $13,000. I did have the heart attack as our planner suspected I might. But then I thought about it and in all reality isn't that horrible. Especially considering I know people who have spent $50k on weddings.

Unfortunately, my budget is much much smaller than that. I'm blessed with a father who's giving us a decent chunk of change, unfortunately that chunk is not even half of the $13,000. I have a mother who is trying to help, future in laws who want to help and well...Fiancé and I are just trying to pay down debt and save. The two aren't exactly helpful...but it's what we got and we've gotta make like Project Runway and "make it work."

We managed to look at the proposal last night, the options we were given, and knock it down to around $4500 not including tax and gratuity. Not too shabby. Of course we're also knocking a chunk of our guest list down, inviting about 100 people instead of 120 and expecting about 75 because about 90% of our guests are from out of town. This is down from an original guest list of about 150.

Earlier in the week, I was about to have a major bridezilla moment if I didn't get that proposal, considering we expected it back in September. Luckily, I kept Bridezilla GP in the box and tamed myself. Glad I did because despite the fact that the planner has been slightly MIA over the past month and a half he's a good guy and wants to make this into exactly what we want. Awesome. It is entirely doable, we might not have a lot of appetizers, but we've been at weddings where the appetizers were all devoured, at weddings that had a sushi chef, various carving and pasta stations as well as a stir fry sous chef - while it's all lovely, I could barely eat my meal after that and was so stuff I could barely dance. I don't want that at my wedding, maybe a nice cheese spread, maybe. Knowing my family, they'll all be crowded around the bar anyhow. But for me it's an extra $2,000 that well...to be honest, we can't really afford.

My family members from Vermont aren't exactly... super classy. Many of them are borderline...hillbillies, bless their hearts, I love them to death but they are. My family (either side fyi), have not had the classiest of weddings over the years. For example, of the weddings that I've been to of family members; one of my cousins wedding was in her mothers back yard with my younger cousins getting drunk in the basement (I was 19 and no, I was not in the basement, I was driving). Another cousin's wedding, which I was a flower girl in at the age of 4, ended up with two family members in a fist fight. My grandmother's wedding in 2001 (yes my maternal grandmother remarried at the age of 70) had my uncle and cousins doing jello shots. So I don't think appetizers are a deal breaker in whether my family has fun or not. Fiancé's family is a bit more classy than mine, but I think the FMIL would rather invite ten more of her friends (that the room won't fit) than have appetizers - if it came down to that option (which it won't). I'm not a scrooge here, or even a "bridezilla." I just know that my family, at the very least, will likely all be getting down on the dance floor with their Miller Lights not enjoying the baked brie or crab dip during the "cocktail hour."

What about you all? Are appetizers - roaming or a spread - a necessity at your wedding or just an added cost that you don't want to deal with?

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Bella Rosa Online Wedding Catalog

Ok, so everybody knows that I'm just crazy about my bridal boutique, Bella Rosa Bridal, in Richmond, Virginia. I purchased my wedding gown there, and will hopefully visit it soon when I fit for alterations. I was just on Bella Rosa's website, looking at the samples for sale, when I noticed a new link. Bella Rosa now has an online wedding catalog of fabulous items! You can find veils, jewelry, shoes, bridal party gifts and more. I'm so excited about this, and so far I've found several pairs of earrings that I love! Now, I need to choose just one pair to wear on my big day.

Originally, I wanted dangly chandelier earrings, but then I saw this pair, and I love them! These Anna Bellagio earrings are my top choice right now. I think they'll look fabulous with an up-do.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Why I Love My Venue, Part II

One of the many nice things about the Clifton Inn is that for a small property, there's a lot to do and explore.  It's really fun to wander around and discover new things.  

Here's their pool area, with the infinity pool that pours over the edge in a waterfall:

They've got a grill and a seating area there, so you can relax in the outdoors:

Not only is there a pool, but there's also a hot tub (you can see it behind the flower urn).  Whoo!

There are lots of trails to explore on the property, but my favorite is the little path leading down to a dock on Clifton's private lake.  Perfect for photographs.

I love the lake.  It's so lovely and serene down there.

I can't wait to get married here next September!