Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday Night Surprise!

Our Save the Dates arrived! The pictures in no way do them justice, but they're INCREDIBLE. Oh, the joys of Etsy. :-)

They're so amazing!

Even Mr. JeffMemorial got a bit misty and swoony over them. In fact, he was the one who noticed the design. He and I had been through mountains and mountains of designs, and this one just spoke to him for some reason.

Anyway! If you look in the first shot, you can see a bit of texture on the paper. The pictures don't really show how lovely the paper is. It's a heavy cream ivory linen cardstock.

Now they get put away, out of the reach of our Scottish Terrier, Horatio, until March or April. I think that's when we send them out... right?

I'm so happy. It's our first tangible real wedding expense.

The artist, PasaiiPaperie will also be making us coordinating invitations, menus, and favor tags. Oh! And a little guestbook!

Now if only I could figure out what the heck to do for favors!

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Friday, January 30, 2009

My something blue...is ME!

Ladies....I'm blue. With less than 4 months on the clock, and still so much to do, I feel like I have hit a wall. This week was a tough one. I spent all day Wednesday going back and forth with Mom CP, FMIL CP and Mr. CP on a rehearsal dinner guest list. I should say, we did an original list about 5 months ago, so to spend an entire day doing it all over was painful. I mean, I know its important, but can someone else deal with it? I mean, I am doing EVERYTHING else, and if not, can we please just make decisions? We are, by the way, inviting 70 people....to the rehearsal dinner! That's half the wedding! Siiiigh
I know all the moms think its helpful to not make decisions and are trying to make it easy and be exactly what I want, but seriously, I need help. What I don't need is 5 emails on which blue is best for my napkins.
Between the rehearsal dinner, the napkins, the brunch, the wedding classes were taking, the songs that have not been picked yet, only argued about and to top it off, were moving this weekend, I'm just OVER IT. I'm ready to elope. I still have so much to do and am totally unmotivated.
Anyone have any advice? I know it will be a wonderful day, its just 115 days before it that I worry are not so wonderful.

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Eco-Friendly Wedding Give-Away

Photo credit: Washingtonian

According to the Washingtonian Wedding Blog, the Washington, DC Couture Wedding Consortium is giving away a free GREEND (read: eco-friendly) wedding at the Decatur House at the DC Couture Bridal Show this Saturday. For more info, visit this link.

It Works!

(photo credit: milopeng)
I have found a foolproof way to lose weight before one's wedding. Or to lose weight at all, in fact. And it is ashtanga yoga. (The above pose is not one I can do, by the way.)

I'd been doing yoga in a halfhearted manner for about two years and then my fiance, who does an ashtanga self-practice, dared me to start. Being the kind of girl who takes dares, I accepted.

Ashtanga self-practice, also called Mysore self-practice, consists of a series of yoga poses that you memorize and do at your own pace. A teacher will correct you or help you if you need them to, but otherwise you're basically on your own.

(photo credit madame.furie)

The first day I tried it, in early December, I was so sore afterwards I could hardly walk. Now it's much easier, although I do make lots of mistakes and am generally sad and pathetic at it.

But here's the thing. I bought a couple nice pairs of pants in November that fit me perfectly. I wore them this week and they were so big I had to keep hitching them up all night! They were literally falling off my butt. I lost two inches! And I'm not really even dieting very much.

So I do recommend ashtanga yoga. I do it three or four times a week for about an hour. Plus you find yourself getting much stronger and it makes your skin softer, somehow. There's an ashtanga yoga center in NW DC, but there are a number of studios in the area that teach this style of yoga.

Beware, though: you will leave the studio in a very blissed out state and you'll be super relaxed for the rest of the day!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Angie and Estee in the Express!

If you spend any time on The Knot message boards, I'm sure you see the frequent requests for contact information for the famous Angie and Estee of alteration and dress-making fame. Well, The Express, the Washington Post's free commuter paper, did all Washington area brides a HUGE favor today by printing their respective numbers in the paper today in the special wedding section!
Apparently both talented ladies were a little hesitant about the publicity, but agreed to have their telephone numbers published. I won't show them here, but if you aren't a commuter or didn't pick up your Express this morning, today's issue is available online! Click here to see the print editions online. Archives only go two weeks back so hurry if you want their contact information!

Speaking of the Post, did anyone go to the bridal show tonight? I heard there were free cocktails, unfortunately (or fortunately?) we had our appointment to pick out the tuxes at Men's Warehouse tonight!

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Wedding Gifts

I'm not sure how the idea/custom began of the bride and groom exchanging gifts prior to the wedding, but I kind of like it.

FI - THIS IS WHERE YOU STOP READING. ;o) Thanks, Schnookie!

Ok, so as I was saying, I like this idea. I also have always wanted to give FI a pocketwatch, just a timeless, elegant gift. The problem is it's really tough to find a nice one in stores. I know I want a silver one. I also know that I want to be able to engrave small message on it for him. I also want to be able to see the actual watch movement. I discovered ExecutiveGiftShoppe.com. I'd researched pocketwatch designers, and they carry some of the best that I could find. They also have a wide range of prices. I've narrowed it down to my top 2.

The second one is not engravable, but it's just beautiful. I think FI would love either, but I'm trying to decide which I like better. I want to have it engraved (if possible), "Yours until the end of time."

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wedding S-Tresses

I don't know how it is for most, but for me, when I am stressed, my hair can be the hardest hit. I identify my stress spot as the back of my head, from ear to ear. My hair breaks there, and it's not a good thing. I'm not looking ill or anything, but it's just annoying. According to my hair dresser, psychosomatic/stress-related hair breakage can occur. Right now, I am applying to Ph.D. programs, being recruited for a new position, managing my current position as a corporate trainer, serving as MOH in my linesister's wedding (which is one month after mine), doing regular community service, trying to find time to work out, and oh yeah! . . . planning my own wedding. Yet, stress is a regular part of my life, so I deal with it. I will try not let it bother me too much as wedding day approaches. I originally thought of wearing my hair in an updo for our wedding, but now I'm leaning more towards a different look. I went to Barnes & Noble on a lunch break recently to look at some hair magazines, and I found . . . my look. What first caught my eye was this look, which would be perfect with my tiara sitting right on top.

I think I may like it a little shorter, and curlier. FI loves my hair curly. So rather than the loose waves of Lauren London, I think I'll have it a bit curlier, like my soror, Ms. Keys.
Basically, my wedding look will be a blend of the two styles. Yes ,this will involve adding length to my hair, which I'm not used to, so I'm going to test out these fabulous wedding tresses next month when I meet with my stylist in Richmond.

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DIY Invitations

All of my tireless research and labor (FI helped, too. Lol!) have resulted in these gorgeous invitations! . . . . Ta-da!

We are so happy with how our DIY invitations came out. The pocketfolds, backing layer, and printed layer are Envelopments products, which we purchased from EnvelopMe.com. Envelopments has very high quality papers, and although I researched several retailers, EnvelopMe had the best prices for the products we wanted, including our 4 x 9 pocketfold, which was not easy to find. The invitation envelope, RSVP card paper, backing layer and envelope are all from Paper Source. A new one opened in Annapolis, not far from Annapolis Mall. I designed the shape and text of the printed layer and RSVP card in PrintShop.

I learned how to assemble the invite by watching a tutorial video on the Paper Source website, and I figured 'I can do that!' FI and I have been hard at work for weeks, but we are both pretty pleased with the results, and I have discovered that my soon-to-be-husband is fairly crafty. Bonus! At first, we thought that by assembling our own invitations, we'd save money, but once we purchased all of the elements and supplies to make them, it pretty much equalled the cost of having them custom made. However, we don't regret making them ourselves, because we got exactly what we wanted. We had a project that allowed us to spend alot of quality time, and we're quite pleased with our work.

A few of key points:
  1. If you ever consider tackling a DIY project for your wedding, give it a shot, as long as you have the time to dedicate to it. You'll probably be very pleased with the results.
  2. Letterpress and thermographic printing are gorgeous, but home printing can be just as beautiful as long as you're printing on quality invitation materials.

  3. Before ordering invitation materials, be sure to request samples, which are almost always free, just to make sure the colors and weights are exactly what you want them to be.

Happy Planning!

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73 Days and Counting! Yikes!!

I just went on one of my vendor's websites, and they thoughtfully have a countdown of the days until our event, 73 to be exact. I may be a little wound up about this, but who wouldn't be? That's less than 2 1/2 months! My mind is racing thinking about what we still have to get done for our big day, like:
  • Order our toasting flutes, cake-cutting set, guestbook & pen. I love the Tara Collection from Things Remembered. I've been waiting for them to go on sale, but it's becoming apparent that they never will.
  • Mail our invitations. Pics are soon-to-come. We DIY'd, but they look great, and I'm so proud of them. They'll be going out by Thursday, to allow our international guests ample time to finalize their plans.
  • Order FI's tux.
  • Buy gifts for our parents. We have the gifts for our attendants.
  • Confirm the officiant. This is sort of a big one. For the longest time, FI wanted to use his lifelong pastor, but that man was so unprofessional, we mutually decided against it. We've asked my pastor to officiate, and we should have his response by Friday. My church is in MD, and he's just double checking to make sure he can officiate a VA wedding.
  • Order fresh rose petals. Our aisle is outdoors and super long, so we're opting for rose petals instead of a runner, but they have still got to be ordered.
  • Attend the menu tasting and final dress fitting. These have been scheduled for next month.
  • Get the marriage license. This can't be done until at least 60 days before the wedding in Virginia.
  • Get a flower girl basket and order her accessories.
  • Programs!
  • Schedule a wedding hair consultation.
  • Order wedding day foundation garments.

I'm trying not to get freaked out about all this, and typing it up helps to calm me. I imagine that I'm not the only bride that gets a little frazzled by The Countdown. Aside from the things listed, everything else is pretty much done. I cannot believe my wedding day is 2 1/2 months away. This is so major!


Sunday, January 25, 2009

For You Spring Brides

One of my favorite things about wedding planning is looking for unique and fun decorations. As a Fall Bride, however, it's always a bit sad to see all the wonderful fresh colors typically used in Spring. (Then again, were I a Spring Bride, I'm sure I'd have Fall Bride-envy, as well. Sigh, are we never happy?)

Recently I've come across some very neat and unique centerpiece items, things that I think could be USED in centerpieces in Spring.

One of my absolute favorites that I've seen on Etsy from various sellers are self-sustaining moss terrariums. Sounds interesting, but not quite wedding friendly. Take a look, though...

Neat candle sticks that could be used in conjunction with the fresh flowers. A nice little touch of grass green. Not only that, but they don't require a lot of care, which is ideal since a lot of brides' lives can be so hectic in the days leading up to The Big Day. From what I've seen, basically you water once every 2 to 3 weeks and leave it in a place with indirect sunlight. The end!

I could just see it at a garden themed wedding, perhaps an outdoor evening wedding reception.

Paired with some red daisies, etc. It could be really beautiful.

There are some even with little mushrooms!

I just thought they were so adorable, and could seriously be a wonderful way to bring a bit of natural lushness to spring and garden themed weddings.

I know, you hear MOSS and it doesn't exactly scream wedding floral, but the colors are vivid and lush. Plus it's a nice unique touch! Definitely something for people to gab about at the table.


Made by Mavis - http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5836556
Tiny Gardens, Charlotte Cramer Designs - http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5371110
(terrariums with and without figurines added)

There are many many others, but those were the two that I came across. Man, almost makes me want to get married in the spring, hehe.

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Wedding Innovators Silent Auction

Hello Ladies and Lurkers!!
The Wedding Innovators Challenge and Bridal Show is receiving FAN-TAS-TIC press and support from the DC area's top wedding vendors.

Do you have YOUR tickets yet????? Head on over to www.weddinginnovators.com and get your tickets today.

Everyone purchasing a ticket today ( Sunday, January 25, 2009) that enters the discount code AUCTION can get their hot little hands on a ticket to the VIP Reception as well.

This is a great opportunity to meet and greet the vendors in a more casual atmosphere, sip champagne and hob nob with the judges. Great fun to be had, but you have to act quick. Deals like this one don't last forever, actually this one only lasts for a day!!

We have a number of great auction items for your wedding just waiting for your bid to include:
  • Personal Flowers for 10 ( bouquets, bouts, corsages)
  • A Groom's cake for 50 guests
  • Custom Tailored peignoir set for your wedding night or honeymoon
  • Photography Sessions
  • Autographed copies of some of the hottest wedding books
  • A Set of wedding bands
  • Chocolate Fountains
The list goes on and on, but you need to be in the place to get in on the deals. Head on over and get your tickets today. You might as well take advantage of the discounts, right?
Wedding Innovators (Discount code: Auction)

Recession Obsession

(photo credit daviddmuir)

I confess I've been away from DC Nearlyweds for quite a long time.  I'm really sorry about that.  I'm not dead, I promise.

It's just for a long time I didn't think this wedding was going to happen, because of the recession.

People who were formerly excited about your wedding are now demurring, saying "I don't know, I'll do my best, we'll see..." and how can I blame them?  Money is tight and people are afraid to spend.  What should have been an occasion of joy is now a financial burden.  I don't want to do that to people.  I almost feel guilty for inviting them to my wedding.  So because of this, I was pretty close to cancelling the whole thing.

Then my family received a huge financial setback, meaning that paying for the wedding that I was so excited about would no longer be possible.  And everyone felt guilty and sad about that. 

It seemed to me that it would have been better to just run away from it all.  I don't mean eloping.  I mean just closing my eyes and wishing everything would go away--the recession, the budgets, the planning, everything.  I just stopped thinking about weddings.  My vendors would send me contracts and ask questions and I wouldn't want to answer.  I just couldn't stop thinking of the massive unfairness of it all.  Maybe that's a bit Bridezilla of me, but I was so looking forward to spending this special time with the people I love best and it was slowly slipping away.

Finally my fiance and I sat down and really thought about what we were going to do.  We quietly asked the people who had received their save the dates and were committed to attending.  And their response was universal: "We love you, and we will do whatever it is you want to do."  If we had wanted to cancel, they would have understood.  If we wanted to have the wedding, they would have been there with bells on.  

So we've decided to still have the wedding.  We'll scale back on certain things, and the budget won't have much room to maneuver, but the love and support our families and friends showed us made us want to continue.  We will celebrate this union, recession be damned.  We'll put money back in the local economy. We're going to show confidence in the face of fear.  YEAH!

How has anyone else been affected by the recession?  Has anyone put wedding plans on hold?  

Thursday, January 22, 2009

BM Dresses (Minus 1)

My BM dresses have arrived! (minus 1 - more about that later) They are gorgeous and I love them. They are Alfred Angelo in sunshine yellow. When I decided on this dress, everywhere had samples in pink. So, when the dress arrived at the local boutique, it was the first time I got to see the dress in the actual color. My BMs and MOHs are wearing the same dress. To differentiate the MOHs a little I'm having a bit of embellishment added to their dresses. This is the dress. It's more sunshine-y in person. My pda camera does it no justice.

Now, back to the "minus one" part. My younger sister (23), for some unknown reason me is opting not to be in the wedding and has not ordered any of her attire, which should have been ordered in November. Everyone else's dress and shoes are here. It's bothersome that she's choosing not to be in the wedding, but what's also bothersome is the way she going about it. She's just not ordering her stuff, and not taking my calls. I had to hear that she has no intention of participating in the wedding from my baby (17) sister. Has anyone else ever had a situation like this with a member of their bridal party?

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More Red Carpet, Less Princess

So before I picked my dress, before I even got engaged, probably before I even knew Mr. CP, I picked my hair style. I know it sounds silly, but if you know me at all, this would not surprise you one bit. I am slightly hair-obsessed. Of course I tortured myself with thousands of other options, but I came back to the one I originally fell in love with. See, I have tight curls, that I have straightened since I was about 10. So it's not quite curly and not quite straight and super thin, plus it has never grown past my shoulders. This is my hair in its natural state. Am I not so cute? (My family finds it hilarious, that I was non stop chatting, as in these pictures, even at 3)

So I have always known I need amazing hair. In fact, to me, my hair has been a large part of my wedding planning. I pretty much planned the venue around not having to go outdoors in case of humidity. Sounds crazy, I'm sure, but not to a curly haired lady! My sister-in-law had an amazing hair stylist at her wedding. It is the only time I have seen every bridesmaid happy with their hair, including me. Here is me and Mr. CP at my brothers wedding, although the hair is a little hard to see. (Her name is Giselle Zlotnitsky and she is amazing. Her website is http://www.hairbygiselle.com/) I literally booked her the day we set our wedding date, and good thing I did! She has gotten 2 other calls for my same day! She is not the cheapest, but she is the best!

She used something called a hair pad to fill the low bun. I have thin, short hair. These "pads" gave my bun some fullness.


I was considering getting extensions. I have always wanted them, and what better time to get them? Plus Mr. CP LOVES long hair, which I don't have, and probably never will, and I want him to gasp at me as I walk down the isle. I was thinking something like this. (Yes, this is Jessica Simpson's wedding hair. Everyone loves this, including me)


Or this, which is super flirty and cute....


I love the idea of extensions. I have never been able to get my hair long and would be so excited to have it long. On the other hand, would I look like myself? I want to look like myself, at least a little.
So, I went back to my original idea. I am in LOVE with this hair style. In the end it will cost the same as extensions because I still need a lot of extra hair, and padding, but I think it will be worth it. I think I am actually more excited about this, then I am about any other part of my look. This is the hair, and I told Giselle, "More red Carpet, Less Princess." I think I am maybe obsessed with it. I had my trial (camera-less and extension-less) and will have another. It should look exactly like this. What do you think? (remember my dress, its a whole "look")


Is there anything in particular, you obsessed over? How did you pick your bridal hair?

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Doing Things Out of Order

We've been planning our wedding, as you know, since about last April. While this is wedding RELATED, this doesn't pertain to the planning of our wedding. I just had to share.

On Saturday, Mr. JeffM and I decided to have a nice romantic lunch at Harry's Tap Room in Pentagon City. I had Ahi Tuna Tempura and a side of their "Farm to Table" wild mushrooms, accompanied by some great white wine. Mr. JeffM had a bison burger and we closed the meal with some yummy after dinner drinks. He had chocolate Port (which is amazing) and I had some sort of white dessert wine. It was very good, but a little bit too sweet for me. (Seriously, the place is a bit pricey, but from the service to the food to the atmosphere... worth EVERY penny.)

We shopped around the mall for a bit. Mr. JeffM said he wanted to check out some video games at GameStop. I... decided I did not want to do that. 45 minutes later, we met back up and decided we apparently weren't done with wine and being romantic. No, no! We decided to trek over to Old Town to another of our favorite places, Grape and Bean.

We tried some different wines and had a cheese sampler platter. Even Mr. JeffM has really been into trying different wines and such recently. We talked about life, where we wanted to go and do. Things we wanted to accomplish. Who we wanted to go to the Super Bowl. How Horatio (our pooch) is devious, but we love him. We capped off the evening with two flutes of Champagne. (I also recommend Grape & Bean. Great romantic date spot or a nice spot for drinks with a gal pal.)

I feel so snooty going "wine" this and "cheese" that. Next thing you know, I'll be playing the harpsicord and letting go of my love for karaoke! (I kid... I could never abandon you, karaoke.)

Afterward, it was about 9 o'clock. I suggested we head home, but Mr. JeffM wanted to go down to the Waterfront. This surprised me. He is not a fan of the cold. Ever. He loves winter and fall (favorite seasons of his), but the whole being cold when he could NOT be cold and indoors is not something he particularly enjoys. It took a couple of minutes, but he convinced me and off we went. I was excited. The Old Town Waterfront at night is so beautiful with all the lights on the river.

We arrived, and the waterfront was, for the most part empty. It was quiet and romantic. We stood there for a little bit. He hugged me from behind. After a bit he pulled away and then he told me to turn around.

Mr. JeffM was down on one knee with this...

He asked me to marry him.

I couldn't help but cry. I'm a big weepy sap.

Now, I know there are cries from the audience...

"Miss JeffMemorial, I thought you were already engaged!"

You would be right, but Mr. JeffM was never happy with how our engagement went down. He always felt like he did me a disservice, because it was something completely unplanned, he didn't have a ring, etc. (For me, he could have proposed with a tumbleweed, and I wouldn't have even cared.) We did end up getting me a ring, but he never felt it suited me. It's a guilt that had been eating at him for quite some time.

Oddly enough, I always kind of knew he was never terribly happy with how things worked out when he proposed back in April. I could sense that it never sat quite right with him. He's a traditional guy, and I knew he had wanted it to be planned and special. I didn't know he was going to do something like this, though. It didn't feel less special because he had already asked. Not at all. So we cried. We kissed. We hugged. It was so picture perfect.

And the ring? Holy moly, it's wonderful. I know, not traditional, but I just adore it. It's me. It's completely me. Anyone who has seen it, that's been their reaction, and they're right. And I've always loved rubies. It's just wonderful. Here's another shot of it. It's unique. It's perfect. It's me.

What makes it even sweeter is that I had mentioned off handedly months and months ago about how I always thought the Old Town Waterfront at night was a pretty proposal spot, and that I need to find someone to recommend it to. It wasn't a hint. We were already engaged, and I, in no way, resented him or our proposal. It just slipped out!

Oh, and when he went to go to "Game Stop" earlier that day to go check out "video games"? He was picking up the ring from the jeweler, as it had been resized and was ready for pick up.


It was an amazing day with an even more stunningly surprising ending. I feel so lucky and blessed.

After all the kisses and hugging, we went to the Fish Market (our wedding and reception venue) for a celebratory drink and then headed home.

We're now just a bit over nine months from the wedding! Time to get in gear.

Although now I'm interested to see if the wedding bands I was originally looking at will even work with that ring!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Congraulations President and First Lady Obama

Congratulations to our new President and First Lady!!

Do you think they had a clue during the above photo that they would be here today??

Dream big ladies!! Your big day is just the start of your wonderful journey!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Engagement Party Madness: Secondo Parte

As relaxed and intimate was my parents' engagement party, the engagement party Sig. Keswick's parents threw for us was out of this world. His parents covered all the bases and hit quite a few homeruns in the process. These are the wonderful details my future family thought of:

It was at their home in Rochester, so they bought a propane heater for the back deck to expand the gathering space (even though we TOTALLY lucked out with the unseasonal 50 degree weather). They hired a professional pianist, bar tender, and caterer that made delicious, delicious food.

They rented small bistro tables and had ADORABLE centerpieces (with little mini-engagement rings from Michael's).

My future mother-in-law made a small album of us to share with the guests.
m&ms AND chocolates with our names and the wedding date on them (i'd show you but . . . they have our names on them), and a two-tiered cake perfect for a wedding. (Sorry I don't have a better one of the cake. ) Isn't the little present cute? For any Rochester Brides, let me know if you want to know the caterer and the baker. The cake was a moist sour cream cake with caramel & hazelnut praline filling.

Wedding Tradition Tip: When cutting one's engagement party cake, the bride makes the first cut on one side and the groom makes the second cut to complete it, rather than the two holding the knife at the same time.

And then during the toast, Sig. Keswick's parents almost made me cry with their sweet sentiments. Then they presented a watercolor of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the location where Mike proposed to me. His mother actually saw it the day after we became engaged, which was the same 8 years later that we first sat there with our when we met.

I felt so special during that evening and my family felt so welcomed and assured that their daughter was marrying into a wonderfully loving and caring family. I don't think I could name one favorite detail from the whole night, but if I had to, it would have to be the strong sense of family that permeated everywhere.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dressing the Boys

Fiancé and I knew early on that we wanted a "preppy-ish" type wedding. It wasn't going to be black tie optional, but it was going to have just enough class to make it us. We're not fully "preppy" but we try. We decided early on that it would be cocktail attire - which I think is easy considering our ceremony is mid afternoon and our reception starts around 5ish. There's a short 2 hour gap (more than we had wanted) between the two but that's enough time to get everyone across town from the church and get pictures taken.

So we knew early on that the groomsmen would be sporting Vineyard Vine Bowties. A friend of ours told us how fab they were, and when we told him he and his wife were invited, he was stoked because it gave him another reason to pick up another vineyard vines bowtie.

I was pretty stoked last night when I saw this gem while doing some online shopping last night in preparation for our excursion this weekend to the Woodbury Commons Outlets (home of the ONLY Vineyard Vines outlet store in the nation I believe)

Nice!!! This means we need six ties - five groomsmen and a ringbearer (though his is probably not on sale) and Fiancé - so we'll get two of them for free! Bowties, as we've decided they'll wear, are cheaper than regular ties at a nice $45 which is not too shabby for Vineyard Vines!

The ones we're trying to decide between?

whales, in our colors.

bloody mary - also in our colors.

Fiancé saw this one last night but it looks like they only have it in the regular neck tie not the bow tie...it would be very suiting if we could find it in a bowtie though.

Elephants necktie. $75.
We're going to wait to see: 1. if this sale is applicable at the outlet, 2. if not are the bowties cheaper at the outlet? 3. if yes - what styles do they have there?

Unfortunately, the tricky part about this is that we don't know what color suits we want the boys to wear - likely either navy or grey. But my FMIL and Mother are all "well won't navy clash with the dresses? You should bring a suit with you when you pick out dresses" and yadda yadda yadda. I personally am rooting for the navy suits - I mean name a dude that doesn't have a navy suit and how flipping hard is it to really see a discrepancy if the navy's don't match? Not to mention most navy suits look black so will those clash with blue dresses? I don't think they will, of course I could be wrong. But I think grey would be worse and while tan would look the best really? I don't want my boys to have to buy a tan suit that they'll never wear again. Plus it's a nighttime wedding - well afternoon/evening. I don't foresee tan doing well at an evening reception.

Thoughts? Suggestions? How are you taking advantage of super awesome sales for your bridal party??

[all images from vineyardvines.com]

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The Save the Dates are here...well...almost!

Originally, my goal was to have my save the dates sent out by the time we went to Connecticut for the long weekend. Well, this week...I've slacked. Not gonna lie, I've had plenty of time to get them done but I've spent my nights cooking dinner, and lounging with fiance reading on the couch till all hours of the night (my punishment? Lack of sleep.)

But Sunday night I did get motivated and if it hadn't gotten so late, I would have finished them. I'm half way done. However, I am bringing a couple of them up to CT to give to the people we'll see who are getting save the dates - yay for saving on ridiculously overpriced postage!


Here are the magnet, they were pretty easy to make, I used MS Publisher and had to set the margins specially because there wasn't a template. I sold myself ten short because I ruined a sheet in the printer by accidentally putting them through while still sticking together. Whoops?

The envelopes we got at paper Source, as well as the liner, as well as the template to make the liner. We spent about $60 on paper, envelopes and the liner. Another $60 on printer ink (which we were long over due for) and $30 on the magnets. Total cost (not counting the ink) $90.

The liners were tedious to make, i made 50 because i ran out of the paper I was using to line the envelopes. I certainly could have made more but m'eh.


On the card, which I belive is A7 from Paper Source, because I don't have Publisher on my mac, I used word but it's simple, just text so they were easy to print out (aside from the fact that our printer kept printing them crooked)

The magnet itself is stuck on there with a tad bit of sticky tack. You know, that putty stuff. The ribbon in the corner is held with a wee bit of double stick tape on top.

The ribbon was another thing I didn't check - it was sheer. I realized that when I opened it up (instead of seeing the "sheer" label on the package...whoops). I looped it around the top corner crossed it in the back and then tied a bow in the bottom corner.

The final product?


Yes I know the magnet is crooked. Whoops? All in all? They look great. Now if I could just get off my butt to finish them! They'll still go out by the end of January (which also gives me time to work on our website).

(x-posted at my blog)

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shake Your Junk to the Trunk Show!

Carine's Bridal Atelier is hosting a bevvy of Fab trunk shows. Hightail it on down there and get your booty into tres luxe gowns and indulge yourself in the experience. You won't regret it!
Carine's Bridal Atelier is located at 1726 Wisconsin Ave NW, 2nd Flr Washington, DC 20007 (202) 965-4696
Monique Lhuillier Trunk Show
Thursday, January 22 at 4:00 pm – Saturday, January 24 at 6:00 pm

Washingtonian Bride & Groom: Unveiled Bridal Show
Sunday, January 25 at 11:30 am - 3:00 pm
Featuring Monique Lhuillier Runway Show Presented By Carine’s Bridal Atelier
The Park Hyatt, 1201 24th St. NW, Washington, DC

Reem Acra Trunk Show
Thursday, January 29 at 11:00 am – Saturday, January 31 at 7:00 pm

Jenny Lee Trunk Show
Thursday, February 19 at 4:00 pm – Saturday, February 21 at 6:00 pm

Melissa Sweet Trunk Show
Thursday, March 5 at 4:00 pm – Saturday, March 7 at 6:00 pm

Monique Lhuillier Trunk Show
Thursday, March 19 at 4:00 pm – Saturday, March 21 at 6:00 pm

Carine's Bridal Atelier is open Monday-Friday from 11am-7pm and Saturdays from
11am-6pm. All viewings are by appointment only.

Calling ALL June 6 Brides!!!!!

I am so excited I am absolutely about to burst with the great news. Two of my absolutely favorite photographers Jennifer Domenick and Mary Gardella of Love Life Images ( They happen to be loved by most of Washington as well as they on the tops of EVERYBODY's List when it comes to wedding photography) are looking to GIVE AWAY photography coverage for THREE WEDDINGS ON JUNE 6, 2009.

Should I say it again!! Top DC Photographer is trying to GIVE AWAY Wedding coverage on June 6, 2009!!

As part of a Momenta Workshops and Love Life Images partnership, they are searching for three couples to participate in a wedding photography workshop (Wedded Bliss 2009) they will be teaching at their Savage, MD studio the weekend of June 4-7, 2009. The weddings chosen must be held on June 6, 2009 and be within the MD/DC/VA area and have at least 150 guests. If you are a couple that meets the above mentioned requirements, please contact them directly at workshops@lovelifeimages.com or call us at 410-491-5433.
This is a fabulous opportunity to have incredible event coverage at no cost, and in return you will help them teach others the amazing world of Wedding photography.

What are you waiting for??

Can I come to your wedding?

Over the past months, we have had numerous people ask if we will invite them, all of which are not being invited. First, a close friend's mother, who even offered to buy me an engagement gift, if it meant an invitation. (Is that not bribery?) I shrugged it off with a chuckle. Then it happened again. I am close with my best friend's family, all of them, and through her younger sister, her younger sister's close friends asked me if they could come. Actually pleaded. And showed disappointment. Whats even funnier is when I told my best friend's sister, she said, "Eh, its ok. One of them can be my +1" To which I literally laughed aloud, "+1???" A few days after that, someone scolded Mr. CP in public, "I can't believe I am not invited!!!!!!" Do people not realize how difficult this is? I mean, is my wedding really that exciting for everyone else? All of these were minor compared to what I just dealt with.
A cousin of mine asked me today if her boyfriend was invited. Now, the story behind this is that she is separated from her husband, not divorced for kids sake, and she has been dating her boyfriend for over a year, but no one in the family has met him, and they are planning to live together before my wedding. Well to make a long story short, she used some Jewish guilt and some threats and said she won't come without him. (DISCLOSURE: she is really sweet, and meant it in the nicest way possible, but won't travel this far alone) On one hand, I feel for her. As talked about before, I have been invited to a wedding without Mr. CP and was sad I couldn't show off my great boyfriend (and we were living together), but on the other hand I feel like she really backed me into a corner.
Did you or are you having similar stories? How did you respond?

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Bella Bridesmaid

So I had finally decided on the flower girl dress, and Dessy design. The next step was to find where had it for the best price. I wanted to make it as cost effective as possible for her parents. On the Dessy website, I found about 5 boutiques in the area (MD, DC, & NoVA), and I started calling. I found the best price at Bella Bridesmaid, located in Baltimore (Federal Hill). This Sunday, I went with my flower girl and her mom to have her fit for the FG dress. The place was very cool, great atmosphere. I'm kind of picky about where I go for wedding-related services. Because, I'm only getting married once, I want a nice experience throughout this planning process, and part of that experience is the environment in which I do business. Bella Bridesmaid was great. We found parking with no problem. The store was very chic, and the owner Tammy, was absolutely wonderful. She was friendly, fully knowledgeable of the designers, the sizes, and her inventory. The store carries bridesmaids dresses by designers such as:
  • Dessy (incl. After Six, Alfred Sung, & Lela Rose)
  • Elon Michelle
  • Eve & Ellie
  • Melissa Sweet
  • LulaKate Bridal
  • Priscilla of Boston
  • Vera Wang
  • Twobirds

For brides that love tea-length, BM dresses, I noticed a wide assortment of tea-length dresses in gorgeous designs. What was really great about Tammy was that she has a little girl, too, and while fitting my FG, she really made her feel like a little princess. She was just so sweet, tied ribbons in her hair, and gave her a fresh flower to practice her FG duties. My 5 year-old FG was too thrilled! She did this all while taking care of business, and giving much needed guidance on our fabric choices, and what size to order that will best fit this growing child in 3 months.

Though I walked into the store knowing exactly which style FG dress I wanted, she showed me another dress option, with the same price, which was helpful, and let allowed me to make an even more well-informed purchase decision. Tammy and her store manager kept us informed of the designer's shipping dates to ensure that we had an accurate idea of when the dress would arrive, which allowed us to get to the store just in time to have the dress shipped in good time for the wedding.

Overall, I had a great experience at Bella Bridesmaid. My FG felt like a princess and was so excited, it made me very excited about the big day. The 3 of us (FG, me, and her mom) were so glad we went. Though we went in for just the dress, I even ordered the doll-sized miniature of the dress to give FG as a gift at the rehearsal . I was surprised to find that I could order that sort of accessory through the store. I'd been planning on ordering it directly from Dessy online, but this way, I didn't have to pay shipping, and it would be cut from the same dye lot as the dress. I can't wait for both to arrive!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Engagement Party Madness, Primo Parte

Over the holidays, my family and future family squeezed in their respective engagement parties because that was the only time both my sister (maid of honor)and father were going to be in the country until this summer (sister is dancing in London and father is at our ranch and farm in the Philippines). Needless to say, it was a bit hectic, but what are the holidays for?
Signor Keswick, my sister and I arrived at 4 AM Sunday morning from DC after picking her up from Dulles and driving all the way to Southwest Va. Because we knew we couldn't have a traditional cocktail party, Mom and I got creative and had our friends over for a proper afternoon tea. My sister brought marmalade and proper tea (English breakfast, Mango, and Vanilla) from England and we hired a caterer for finger sandwiches, scones, dessert, etc.

At 2:15, I'm getting ready for the party and ask my mom what time the caterer is supposed to arrive. 2:00. She calls. At 2:20PM, he's still THIRTY minutes late! I almost had a meltdown (well, everyone else says I did. I don't think it was that bad, but to each their own). The caterer arrived 10 minutes after our contract's "event time" and he didn't even apologize! I was very disappointed with their professionalism (or lack thereof) and will not be using them again. Luckily, we were able to plate everything as the guests were arriving. As an events person, it was actually very difficult for me to stay out of the kitchen and greet and mingle with the guests when I knew there was a minor emergency happening "backstage."

It was a small gathering (30ish), but it was all the people I really wanted present to share this special time. Sig. Keswick put on the game for some of the husbands and I visited with the ladies. We tried to stay together during the party as the celebrants, but it was harder for him because he barely knew them and he was very new to this. I knew everyone, and I knew which guests would probably know fewer people, etc. All in all, it was a good dress rehearsal for my future mother-in-law's engagement party, which was going to have over twice as many guests. We had good practice juggling all the guests and we had really great quality time with all of them.

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Housing Crisis (not the economic kind)

So, I'm starting to get a little anxious with our housing block. I contacted the Hilton Garden Inn in Charlottesville in November 11 regarding a housing block. I received a proposal and we liked it, so I went ahead and asked her to send me the housing contract. I never received anything, so I followed up again early December. I thought I'd give them sometime over the Thanksgiving holiday. The Director of Sales responded within an hour and said she'd "send" it that afternoon. Still nothing. I emailed this weekend and called today. Nothing. Does anyone have any advice or thoughts? I'm getting worried it's taking this long to get a contract, especially given the economic climate. We wanted to go with the Hilton Garden Inn because the hotel's super close to our reception venue. Thanks for any insight or advice!

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Sharing the Love

Since the fabulous Mrs. Nearlywed has been sharing bridal shows left and right, we all know it's that time of year again.

My mother and FMIL are both constantly on me to GO! GO! GO! "You never know...you could win your honeymoon!" Yes. I'm sure that's highly likely. Of course the first bridal show I went to, I did win a nice little two night excursion to the Crowne Plaza in Old Town which Mr. GP and I went to for our two year anniversary/one year out from the wedding (they were two weeks apart).

So I got a wee bit excited when I saw this on facebook yesterday and saw it in the DC Scout email this morning AND THEN a friend of mine asked if I had seen it (most mornings I go through email without opening a lot of stuff) Now if you don't get the DC Scout emails? Get on it. They're awesome and share all sorts of deals and stuff in DC.

Here are the details obtained for said email and the facebook page:

Check out the Express Wedding Expo, where you can meet wedding vendors, sip cocktails and nibble hors d'oeuvres!
WHERE: The Washington Post building, 1150 15th Street, NW
WHEN: Jan. 28, 6-8 p.m.
And it's totally FREE!

[Source: DC Scout Facebook invite]

Now I don't know about you all - but free cocktails? Tastings? I'm down!

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Our song...

Ok Nearlyweds, I need some help. Here we are, about 4 1/2 months from our wedding and we cannot pick a song!! I know it sounds like such a minor issue, but we really can't decide! Mr. CP and I have very different taste in music. Let's just say, if it were up to him it would be some off-color Smashing Pumpkin's song no one has heard except him, and if it was up to me it would be R. Kelly, "Step in the Name of Love," full dance with all bridal party included. As you can imagine, picking a song isn't easy.
We want something that isn't his or mine, but ours. We want something sweet, and something that makes us both smile. Remember, we have a band that specializes in Motown, so it cannot be too far from what is possible for them to learn.
I know this sounds a little silly, but I kind of like the idea of the Wedding Singer song, from the plane. It's funny and makes us both smile. Mr. CP loves "Ooohhh Baby, I love your way" By Peter Frampton, but I think we can do better.

ANY creative ideas? What songs have you considered? HELP!

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Washingtonian Does Weddings!

I know all of my 'always on it' DC Nearylweds have already devoured the pages of the brand new bridal magazine published by Washingtonian Magazine. Bride an Groom... what about the rest of you??? Head out and get it today, but while you're at it, you absolutely must nab a ticket to the hottest can' t miss bridal show this month!!

Bride and Groom has teamed with a stellar cast to produce a show which YOU must absolutely attend.

MINDY WEISS is the headline speaker. She'll do a presentation on celebrity wedding trends and answer questions, as well as sign copies of her most recent book, which is excellent, I personally own a signed copy!

They are hosting a MONIQUE LHUILLIER runway show featuring Spring 2009 bridal & mother-of-the-bride fashions as sponsored by Carine's Bridal Atelier.

Who has better connections than Washingtonian, you'll see an amazing array of the DC area's best vendors: planners, florists, invitation consultants, musicians, bakers and more!!

Brian McBride of Blue Duck Tavern has put together a mouth-watering custom menu for the event featuring foie gras, lobster salad, crabcakes, passed bento boxes and more. PLUS champagne, bellinis, bloodies and other creative cocktails

All the ladies will have a chance to win one of 6 fantastic door prizes !

What are you waiting for? Get your tickets before they sell out!!! Mention promo code SALE10 and receive a discount of $10 off the $55.00 ticket price. Mrs. Nearlywed says GO! I will see you there!

The details are all on their website. http://washingtonianwedding.eventbrite.com/

Save the Date Proofs, AKA "Oh My Gosh, It's Really Happening!"

Today I finally had my "It's really happening!!" moment, and it was so exciting.

Etsy, as you know, has become a friend to brides everywhere with unique (and a lot of times very affordable) homemade products; from hair accessories to invitations! Sometimes even wedding dresses.

I just received in an Etsy conversation a proof of our Save the Dates:

The date is not our date, obviously. I hadn't sent her our updated date of November 7, 2009, so she used a placeholder that will be changed out.

An update about our wedding; our colors are red, brown, and white, with slight hints of green (when necessary). For months we had been perusing invitations on professional sites, as well as those done by designers on Etsy.

Either he didn't like them or I didn't like them... or we both liked them, but decided they were too generic.

Then we found PasaiiPaperie, and we fell in love with her cardinals. Mr. JeffMemorial and I are not ones who dig "cutesy" stuff, especially when it comes to our printed items for the wedding, but these little guys just spoke to us.

In addition, I have to say she's been wonderful. She's actually going to be making custom items, in addition to the cardinal-themed invitations and save the dates, including programs or perhaps a food menu listing, placecards. our guestbook, and favor tags.

Not only that, the prices are super reasonable for a gorgeous product. Ours will be on flecked heavy linen cardstock.

One of the things I was worried about with such a limited budget was tying the room and our wedding together aesthetically as a whole, and designers like PasiiPaperie really make that easy.

It's worth looking into if you're using an Etsy designer. Would that person be willing to make custom pieces?

Ours, for example also does placecards, menus, wedding programs, etc.

It's worth looking into if you want a seamless theme, or looking for ways to stay within a budget and have a together look.

What's funny is that, as I mentioned, we moved the wedding to Old Town. Quite by coincidence we fell in love with the cardinals... and days later it suddenly dawned on me that the Cardinal is the state bird of Virginia, which we thought was kind of neat.

Anyway, I'm so excited! It is finally real. I saw our names on the digital proof, and got that happy feeling that it's really happening. Life is good.

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8 months to go!

I am officially 8 months from being a missus.

8 months from today and I keep thinking OH MY GOD THERE'S SO MUCH TO DO!

But I have a good idea what I want for everything that's left to do, so it doesn't really seem overwhelming. I decided this morning, to check the trusty "wedding checklist" at theknot.com to see how I was doing with my planning.

Apparently not very well as I saw lots of...!'s next to the list of what should have been done probably months ago according to the knot.

Still, my time line for this month and next, as I aforementioned, is to secure the rest of the vendors, pick out the BM dresses and send out save the dates.

In a day or two time (or as soon as I upload the pictures) I will have a completed picture (and a how to do your own guide!) of the save the dates. They weren't quite what I imagined. (I really need to learn to READ the packaging before I buy things) I didn't notice the "sheer" sticker all over and was surprised last night when I opened it up and it was...ta da! Sheer. Whoops? I made like Project Runway and "made it work" if you will. Can't wait to show them off to y'all!!!

All in all, I consider myself a rather...stable bride. I'm not crazed, I don't feel entirely overwhelmed (I have my moments), and I'm not overly picky while still knowing what I want. I like to think of myself as calm, cool and collected. Now this may not be the case in 8 months or 7...but I like to think that Fiancé has a hand in me being the calm, cool an collected bride that I am.

Do you use any of the gazillion to do lists out there? The Knot? My Wedding website? How do you stay sane when it all seems overwhelming?

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

J.Crew Bridesmaid Dress Debacle

Some of you may remember my post a while back about my bridesmaids dresses. Well, as you might be able to tell from the title of this post, things didn't end so well even after my girls were able to deal with J. Crew's faulty website. My sister and I had a little runway show once we were both home to check out her dress options, when I realized the dresses were NOT the color they appeared online. Don't get me wrong, they are pretty dresses, but they were an orangey pink, and our wedding colors are wine, raspberry, and champagne. I agonized over it during the holidays, do I ask them to return? work around it? suck it up? But my sister (maid of honor) and 2 of my 3 secondary sponsors (kinda like bridesmaids but they take care of the cord, the candle, and the veil during the ceremony) were adamant that if they didn't fit with our vision, then they were happy to return them.
Below are the dresses:

J. Crew Silk Chiffon Juliet

Luckily, J. Crew has a very easy and friendly return policy, so we don't anticipate any problems returning the dresses. In addition, my wonderful bridesmaid Sara was able to find an email address on the website to which you can write to request SWATCHES. Oh how I wish I'd known that was an option. But again, I think we were all swayed by the ridiculous Sales going on the website. Here's the email address: ashley@jcrew.com. Kinda random, huh?

Has anyone had any luck or experience with this?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Miss Mitchellville aka NearlyWed Slacker is Making a Comback!

Hello Ladies,

I know, I know who the heck are you! Well if you check the archives you'll find this DC NearlyWed behaving like a newly engaged woman and posting regularly back in June/July of 2008. But as it sometimes goes, I just became really burned out and by August I did not want to see anything wedding related. Here's a re-cap; I became engaged Christmas 2007 and hit the ground running attending bridal shows, tastings, trunk shows, you name it if it had anything to do with a wedding I was there. Then came the Summer and I was like the grumpy dwarf of brides! I don't know how it happened it came over me like a funk and I was just over it! (Not head down to the justice of the peace over it, just I can't look at another flower over it!) I think it was a combination of things; Doc & I set our date for October 2009 so we had plenty of time, almost two years to plan and make everything just the way we wanted it. We selected a venue (Newton White Mansion), caterer, and I had even ordered the invitations only three months into being engagement (what can I say, I'm a planner) and then my older sister got engaged (February) and dropped her wedding like the house from the Wizard of Oz right in the middle of my planning frenzy! So what do I do; I push my planning aside and help my sister pull together her special day (She was determined to be married first!). By August (her wedding was in August) I was completely over it; and the bridal bug was officially gone.

So here we are in 2009 and I'm back; mainly because The Knot.com dropped a "Nine Months to Go!" bomb on me that would cause anyone to panic; this thing is three pages long in an 8 font! There are so many boxes to check, I think I'm getting whelmed! Breath... Okay so all I really wanted to say is I apologize for being such a "C" student okay "D" student but I will do better; I have tons to do and therefore tons to blog about. First up for discussion, I've narrowed my search for "the dress" to two! They both feel like "the one", non-traditional enough for my taste, yet elegant however, they are so extremely different from one another. One is daytime/garden & the other evening/ball, we are having both (afternoon garden ceremony w/a evening formal reception) hence my dilemma. BTW, does anyone else have a problem with 6 women standing around gawking & "judging" you as you get naked to try on wedding gowns? This is why I brought family and friends with me, they've seen my goodies! I don't know if I'll ever be comfortable with a random woman (although very nice) holding my boobs up because I failed to bring the right bra then vice gripping me into a sample six sizes off!

Gas for driving around to shop for a bridal Gown $50.00
Cell phone w/camera to sneak photos of yourself in
"the one" $ 79.99
Standing in front of the entire bridal department cold & naked
while waiting for your bridal consultant to prep a gown for you
to dive into $ PRICELESS

Check out my top two...


Friday, January 09, 2009

How to NOT begin a bachelorette party

Thanks to NY Magazine's Grub Street, I found this article on one girl's experience in throwing a bachelorette party pretty funny:

I organized a bachelorette party at the Clover Club a couple of weeks ago. The celebrant wanted no fanfare but I decided to bring a couple of accessories, to make the occasion feel slightly more special than a girls-night-out. I brought four white balloons, not shaped like penises, and a banana cream pie from a fancy bakery. I was wearing a pretty suit. When I met a group of 5 women there, we attempted to tape our white, non-sexual balloons up to mark our table for our arriving guests. When he noticed this, the host, a poor-man's Michael Stipe, descended on us and asked if we got clearance from the owner to modify our space. He explained that the owner had taken meticulous measures to design the bar just-so and that our four white balloons were interfering with her vision. He didn't make us remove the balloons, but he warned us that there might be retribution if the owner stopped by that night. We stared blankly at him for a moment, exchanged a few confused words among ourselves quietly, as a reality check, and proceeded to order stuff.

He turned us over to our waiter, who was very pleasant and seemed to turn a blind eye to the banana cream pie, which I would have been nervous about by that time had I not called ahead to get permission to bring it. Shortly thereafter, the owner showed and, as predicted, threw some Miranda Priestly shade our way. Our group was 10 by then. The waiter "noticed" the banana cream pie suddenly, became uptight and advised us that we should have called ahead to get their policies on such things. I told her that I had indeed done that but that I could not remember the name of the woman who had taken my call. Maybe I was supposed to complete an online application or something to bring a pie to this bar. The owner walked over and looked at the pie and me like I was Jed Clampett bringing a tin of vittles to dinner at the White House. She offered to "plate" our pie in the basement, and return it to us, waiving the $25 plating fee. We politely declined, on principle, and made a little mess. But not before the waiter confiscated our paper plates (white chinette) because the owner felt they were "trashy." She actually said "trashy" to my face. Oppressive. Power back to the people.

For the full Grub Street article: Clover Club Cracks Down on Balloon-Happy Bachelorettes. I'm not sure I can fairly comment as I have not been to Clover Club and don't know what kind of ambiance the place has. I may be okay with a simple balloon maybe for the celebrant, but many balloons and you get close to tacky. I might have also left the pie at home or waited to eat that in the limo later in the night.

I actually would much rather a relaxing day at the spa with massages and lunch with my girls, but I know not everyone shares my tastes. What do you have in mind for your bachelorette party? Any special requests?

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