Friday, January 29, 2010

Getting Ready...Part 1

I kind of skipped all my recaps. Not intentionally though. Shortly after the wedding we moved, I've been in the midst of a large career change that requires grad school/certification so my bloggy motivation in all realms is minimal. But alas, I'll get my recaps/vendor reviews out there. I already did our rehearsal dinner, so here's the ladies getting ready. So I'm going to try - by Valentine's Day (2/12 to be exact which will be our five month anniversary) to have all my recaps/vendor reviews up.

I got my hair did at Bang Salon in the Verizon Center - it was incredibly convenient, inexpensive and all the girls could get their hair done at the same time. It took about two hours - we were back to the hotel by noonish, grabbed a small lunch (I was intent on eating because I had heard horror stories about brides who forgot to eat and passed out during their ceremonies - hear that brides? EAT LUNCH) and then began to get ready.

I should also note, that it was just before getting our hair done that I had one of my few bridezilla moments. We were waiting for a few of the girls to get coffee at Dunkins on 7th street near the verizon center - and i found (as a life long new englander and thus dunkins fiend) that Dunkin's down in DC are notoriously horrrible with service, that morning was no different. We had been waiting for close to twenty minutes for three bagels and three coffees while people ahead of us kept getting their food, so I slammed my hand down and demanded some service because damnit, it was my wedding day and they were making us late for a hair appointment. I'm pretty sure I shocked even myself, however, I wouldn't have been so rash had my step-mother and mother not gotten into an argument before then. I knew that was inevitable but I had hoped that my mother would bite her tongue for my sake, unfortunately that was not the case.

Onward though!

{My dress}

{that dress was a beast to get on!}

{one of my FAVORITE pictures of my mom and I after my dress was all tied up. She was all tears all day long. Love her to death. Also, see my hair? I loved it. It was perfect.}

{my sister/Maid of Honor putting the veil on}

{fixing my veil}

{me with my veil on, can I just say my bridesmaids were fabulous through all this?}

Next up? See my husband getting ready - they had bow-ties, and the first go round? They all put the bow-ties on upside down. Whoops?

All photos here were taken by Megan Garrison Photography

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hair help!

Alright ladies, I've got my first hair trial tomorrow. Now what the heck do I want her to do with my hair??

I am notoriously bad at talking to hair stylists. I mean I just never have any idea what I want, I'm not good at knowing what works for my face or my hair type. I do know I cannot have a style that pulls my hair back flat from my face, it makes my face/head look huge and I have to say, fat. So I know I need some texture on top. Beyond that, here are some ideas I've found around the Internetz.
And then here are some side/front shots (source photo1 and source photo2):
Any favorites? How did you figure out your wedding hairstyle? Or if you haven't yet, where are you going to look for ideas?

OH P.S. anybody have any idea how much to tip for a hair trial? The price she's charging is $190, including two hair trials, and she'll come to my hotel room to do my hair on the day of the wedding. I'll be paying a 50% deposit at the first hair trial, would I just tip 15 - 20% of the deposit, and then tip on the remaining balance the day of? Or just a standard tip for each trial and then the whatever 15 or 20% of the total on the day of? HALP MEEEE I'm so clueless.

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Our Save the Dates

I envy those brides who are DIY queens. The only DIY project I'm good at is opening a bottle of wine myself and pouring it into a glass myself. (Although I will be doing our wedding cake, but shhh, yet another blog post for yet another time!) When it comes to crafty projects, I am a failure. I am a good gopher. When my friend and Matron of Honor, Mrs. Gallery Place, got married, I helped her with some crafty projects like her CD favors. It was a lot of fun! Left to my own devices, however, I prefer to outsource.

Seriously, my superior MS Paint Skills in no way qualify me to design anything. I'm great at telling people what I want and letting them make my ideas pretty for me, but otherwise I'm a lost cause. So, just like any bride with an internet connection, I know about Etsy. (If you don't, for shame! And you call yourself a bride!)

What I love about Etsy is that... well, what isn't there to love? Independent crafters and designers selling their wares. Each piece is unique. I remember before I learned about the joys of Etsy, I would drag myself through websites like Invitation Consultants and still feeling unhappy. While they had great invitations, it all felt cold, sterile, and completely unoriginal. And I am not cold, sterile, or unoriginal. I'd like to think of myself as warm, interesting and bold! (Most would just call me quirky or eccentric, but I like my descriptors better.)

After searching and searching, Mr. JeffM and I finally found a design that suited us, and that was no easy task. Mr. JeffM and I are both very opinionated people, and I'm one of the lucky gals whose guy is actually interested in what goes on with wedding planning! I mean it that I feel lucky... but it can present a few challenges. For example, there were a few times that I found gorgeous unique designs on Etsy. I would lust after them, and wait impatiently for Mr. JeffMemorial to arrive home. He would give them a glance and quickly say, "Nope, don't like it."

But then one design came along. When I saw it, I might have swooned just a tad. Just like the other times, I braced myself for disappointment, thinking Mr. JeffM wouldn't like it. So he came home, looked at it, but instead of dismissing it, he said,

"Hrm, let me see it on our colors."

I got a proof in our colors. He loved it. And now that we have sent out the Save the Dates and everyone has received them, I can share it with you:

They just looked way too fun. And what's even nicer is how I can see them hanging up in the cubes of some of my coworkers.

Our invitations will be in next week, and it's a shame it'll be awhile before I can share them with you. They're just tops though.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Was Destined to Elope

I’m sure many gals claim this, but I never envisioned myself having a wedding—or, the typical wedding anyway. If I did picture it, which happened rarely, I imagined a tiny ceremony on a beach or maybe even a wild trip to Vegas where we would recite vows in front of an Elvis impersonator (after all, I had a massive crush on the King for years).

So, when my Peruvian fiancé proposed to me in the garden next to the National Cathedral (even though he claims not to be very religious), I began researching destination wedding venues, citing off prices for beachside ceremonies in Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia, and emailing him postcard-perfect photos of the azure waters and white-sand beaches of the Caribbean, partially obstructed by a beaming bride and groom. I told him that we could have a small wedding. Maybe 30 people, tops? He replied that he’d rather have the opportunity to celebrate our love and the giant step we are taking with our families and friends; however, he wasn’t completely against my idea.

“Why don’t you make a list of the 30 people you would invite?” He recommended, slyly.

I sat there with my laptop, typing names into Excel—parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, family friends, high school friends, college friends, post-college friends—scattered across the country from Los Angeles, California to Veazy, Maine. I tried cutting the list down. How could I not invite these people who had watched me grow from infant to early 30s, who had loved me even through my angry, depressed goth phase in high school? As the list teetered off around the 80s (just for my side) I decided he might be right.

So, here I am, the newest addition to DCNearlyweds.com, thrilled to be blogging about the ups and downs of planning a wedding. As you may have deduced from my pseudonym, I live in the Cathedral Heights neighborhood in D.C. Our wedding will take place in this area in September, but I need to leave some substance for my upcoming blogs! In the meantime, I’m just happy I decided not to elope.

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Beau-Coup Valentine's Day Blogger Contest

Some heart-shaped wedding favors would be perfect for a Valentine’s day wedding. Your guests will be smitten with the heart shaped sugar cubes or do it yourself and hand out some heart shaped cookies with the help of Beau-coup’s heart shaped cookie cutters!


Images:, heart tea infusers, sugar in a tube, personalized chocolate lollipops, mini vanilla heart candles, heart shaped cookie cutters

Post a comment here telling us which item(s) from the Beau-coup Favors website you’d love to get if you win!
Giveaway ends Sunday, February 7th at midnight PST. Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Monday, February 8th . Good luck, everyone!

The Dress, Miss JeffMemorial Style -- Just Add Drama!

So, I've had quite a road with my dress. Let me just say that I am notorious for changing my mind a million times, and it was the same when it came to The Dress. I mean, c'mon! It's the dress that requires capitalization; I was going to be choosy!

After months and months of me saying, "Oh, yes! That! No wait! No, no not that one. Oh, how about this one? This is absolutely THE one. Hrm, no... I have changed my mind. It's hideous," I found The Dress.

Gorgeous, right? I felt like such a lucky gal. I'm six feet tall and busty, and I was able to buy this number OFF. THE. RACK. No alterations were going to be needed except the bustle. I was over the moon because, due to my aforementioned tall-ness and busty-ness, I assumed that I would not only be budgeting for a dress but also alterations.

Mr. JeffM and I patted ourselves on the back and walked out of the David's Bridal in Springfield, Virginia (really nice people, by the way), poofy dress bag in tow.

When we got home, we were faced with something we had forgotten about completely...

Meet Horatio and Clover. Fluffy puppies of doom. Adorable, yes. (I mean have you seen those ears?!) But they are also diabolical little pooch muffins who can (and do) get into EVERYTHING. We knew that we had to store the dress somewhere else.

The obvious answer was my mother. She lives nearby in Virginia and is pet-free. I thought my dress would be safe!

I thought wrong.

Let me ask you a question. Do any of you have that one family member who can't seem to keep it together? You know what I'm talking about... everyone else in the family seems perfectly fine, but this one person is just, well, crazy. They either drink, or don't have a job, or are certifiable. Sometimes they're all three, and that's what I like to call the Crazy Pinata or the Trifecta of Doom.

Well, the Crazy Pinata in our family is my mother. I say that rather glibly, but it's actually rather sad. The only problem is that all of your sadness and sympathy tends to fall away fairly quickly, as she has gotten very good and making people angry.

Case in point: my wedding dress.

To make an already long story short, she threw out my wedding dress. She got angry with me and threw out my wedding dress. Why she was angry? I couldn't tell you. I think it had something to do with her not being invited to another wedding, or me not calling her every day, but it's rather moot because...

...she threw out my wedding dress. And she was proud of it.

This sent me into a spiraling depression about the wedding. I didn't want to plan anything. I didn't want to look at dresses. I was beside myself with oppressive sadness.

A few months past. I gradually started to snap out of it, but only out of necessity. Our May 2, 2010 wedding date was quickly approaching and I had not done anything in months. Oh yea, and our save the dates needed to go out.

So with the gusto and motivation of a grumpy snail, I began planning again. It soon came to pass that, as much as I didn't want to, I needed to start looking at dresses. Again. I was still feeling very reactionary toward the whole dress replacement dilemma. I thought about outright replacing the dress with the exact same one, but every time I looked at a picture of it, I got upset. I soon realized that simply buying the same one over again wasn't going to cut it.

I thought about my options, and I noticed that almost all the white and ivory dresses started running together. I felt a bit overwhelmed. I wanted something that was ME, and that didn't necessarily mean BRIDAL. We had already scrapped our plans for a standard wedding and instead opted for a unique and fun wedding venue (which is another blog for another time!), I thought why not just start going with my gut instead of what I think I should have.

This meant no white. No ivory. No champagne. No off white. No cream.

For a few months I stalked websites and designers, trying to find something for me. I have very particular tastes. This couldn't just be any dress. Then I thought I had found it. It was beautiful. It had pleats. It was in my price range. It was divine. I thought to myself, "Yes, Miss JeffMemorial, this is the dress!" True to form, it still took me another month to actually ORDER the dress, but I did it! Two days ago.

And then... tragedy struck. Again. This time, in the form of an email.

"The designer will not put extra length on this dress, please advise if you want to proceed with your order."

I'm not going to lie... I kind of flipped out a bit. It apparently was the only dress they won't add length to, and, because of my height, the dress was ONE INCH TOO SHORT.

What made it worse was that I had THREE hours to find a replacement dress and order that instead. I was set on the designer, and if I didn't get it in that day, I wasn't going to have my dress in time for the wedding.

What's funny is that, after this whole mess, I ended up with a better dress. A dress that I had looked at briefly, but said no to. Upon further inspection, however, I realized that I had passed over it too quickly, and that it actually was exactly what I was looking for. Dramatic. One shoulder. Classic, but different.

So without further ado, I present to you my dress...

This dress is actually featured as a wedding gown, as well. While I'm getting it in navy blue (as shown above), I'll show you the white version also, so you can see the detailing...

So there you have it. Miss JeffMemorial has a dress. Finally. Oh yea, and her name is Stella. She'll be in my little hands on March 19th.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Real Simple's "What to Ask Your Caterer" List

Along with Miss Glen Echo, I am also a huge fan of Real Simple magazine, especially their wedding issues. I have a meeting on Monday with my caterer (The Purple Onion - ask for Bernadette, she's awesome!) and thought I should prepare myself by looking into what Real Simple thinks I should be sure to ask. Some of these questions were covered in our initial meeting, and some of them don't apply to our wedding, but I thought I'd share them with you all anyway since they're generally good advice. (image: Debra McClinton via RealSimple.com)

1. How will you handle last-minute requests? It happens to the most careful couples: A whole family who didn’t RSVP on time shows up anyway. Or the opposite: A handful of guests are MIA. Is your caterer prepared to adjust the food and the table setup accordingly?
  • This is a great question for us because it's a near definite possibility that there will be a few unexpected guests at our wedding. Also you just never know, sometimes people have last-minute emergencies that keep them from attending.
2. Will you be there? You want the point person you’ve dealt with to be present from start to finish.
  • I really love the woman I've been working with so I would be disappointed if she wasn't going to be there!
3. What’s your waitstaff-to-table ratio? The most elegant service is one or more servers per table. The fewer you have, the more erratic or slow the food service will be. Find out how many staff members are included in the per person cost and how much extra staff might cost.
  • This isn't actually relevant for us because we're doing a buffet, we don't need as many staff per table. Also I've already got the staff requirements listed out from them, so I know exactly how many staff will be there.
4. What’s included in your per-person price? Is it just the food and beverages, with things like linens, waitstaff, and coat-room attendants separate?
  • Again we've already worked this out with our caterer, I made sure to ask at the beginning for the full cost including the food/service/rentals/taxes/etc.
5. What’s the difference between a gratuity and a service charge? Many catering facilities tack on a service charge of 20 percent, and couples think that this covers the staff tips, but it doesn’t. It is often used to cover things like fuel costs, overhead, and wear and tear. You’ll probably have to bring a stash of cash to tip the staff. Most brides tip 15 to 20 percent of the total bill and give that amount, in cash, to the maître d’ or the wedding planner, who will then distribute it.
  • Definitely good to know! Our caterer explained this to us, and advised us on the amount that is generally recommended for the gratuity - she also said the 15 - 20 percent rule, but she was sure to emphasize that it's dependent on the service we actually receive.
6. What happens to leftover food? Health-department rules vary, but most on-site caterers cannot allow food to be taken off the premises. If this is allowed, arrange for the food to be donated to a local soup kitchen or charity.
  • Hadn't occurred to me to ask this! I would definitely like to arrange to have the food donated, if that's possible.
7. How often do you renovate your facility? You may fall in love with the decor of the room you book a year in advance. Are they at all likely to change the carpet? Replace the chandeliers you admired? Ask the venue to put it in writing that the decor won’t change.
  • This isn't relevant to us for the caterer, since they are independent of the venue. Would be a good question to ask the venue - I don't think we have to worry about that, since it's a historic building they probably won't be changing it too much.
8. How often do you clean your facility? The venue should be cleaned every three to six months (otherwise the carpets will start to smell).
  • Probably a good question to ask your venue, not something I would ever really bother asking. Unless there is something apparent when you view the space that seems unclean, to me it seems like you'd risk insulting the staff if you asked them something like that. Although certainly it is reasonable to want to be sure that the space will be clean for your wedding, alienating them from the beginning is not the best idea.
9. Can we tour the kitchen? A facility might look gorgeous enough to win you over, but any cracks in the organization or the cleanliness of a place will show in the kitchen.
  • This is another one that is probably a great thing to do but didn't occur to me and I don't mind that I didn't ask. I suppose I still could ask to tour our caterer's kitchen but I know I don't feel like trekking out to Centreville just for that, and I trust them.
10. Have you worked at our location before? If you’re having the reception off-site, you’ll want to know how familiar your caterer is with the venue―and what he needs to know if he’s never been there. (How big is the kitchen? When can deliveries be dropped off?) Once you’ve settled on a caterer, put him or her in touch with the site’s manager so they can work out the details without using you as a middleman.
  • This is definitely a good question, although I already know our caterer has worked at Old Town Hall before because she recommended the venue to me!
11. How does your staff dress? Find out if they will dress in a specific way if you ask them to―say, in Hawaiian shirts for a luau wedding.
  • Great question - although we're not really doing a theme so I don't care what they wear, as long as it's professional looking (and clean!).
12. Can we see the banquet event order? This is a list of all the information the caterer has gone over with you about your party. It’s given to the person who orders the food; the chef who’ll cook the food; the person responsible for setting up the room at the venue; and the director of the waitstaff. Review the details carefully so you know that, say, your request to have a separate table for two is on the list.
  • I will put this on my list to ask - I definitely want to make sure the venue, caterer and I are all on the same page about room set-ups, menu, time table, etc.
What do you think? Did they leave anything out? Are you all on the same page with your caterers?

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Long Time, No See!

Hello, kids. I know, I know. I've been gone for so long, you don't even remember me. I don't even remember me! For those of you who do, you know it's been a long road for me. My fiance and I have been engaged for over a year, and now?

Now we're less than a hundred days from our wedding.

It's been... a journey, to say the least. I have to say that, for me, wedding planning has not just been about planning a wedding; I've learned a lot. I've learned a lot about myself, about us, about what's important, and how there are so many little things I never thought I would have to worry about!

I started out as Miss JeffMemorial. Originally we were going to have a nice fall wedding on the grounds of the Jefferson Memorial. Then things changed... and changed again. And then they changed again. (Have I mentioned that flexibility is a vital trait to possess when planning a wedding?)

But here we are! We are 96 days away from the big day! I guess it would be safe to say that Miss Old Town would be a better name for me. We're having a local wedding in Alexandria, Virgnia in Old Town. At first I was a bit sad about how my name is no longer an accurate reflection of our wedding, but then I realized it is indicative of how things can change.

So over the next week, I'm going to catch you guys up. It's been a lot of ups and downs, but now everything is coming together. I'm nervous. I'm excited. I'm a bride. I finally feel like a bride. I don't think I felt like that before now. I want to share that with you guys.

With that, I'll share something I did over the weekend. First of all, our wedding colors are navy blue, green, ivory, and gold accents. (More on that tomorrow!) After a lovely lunch at the Chart House on the Waterfront at Old Town with a fabulous friend (there is something about going to lunch with one of your favorite girlfriends and, in this case, their awesome friend), we trekked over to The Enchanted Florist on South Fairfax Street. I wanted to pick out my bouquet!

I knew I wanted something different, but in classic colors. I went with an ivory and green palette. I was a bit nervous. I wanted to stay away from things that some consider to be bridal staples: orchids, peonies, garden roses, etc. I wanted succulents. I wanted striking. I wanted something that was a bit out of the ordinary.

The gals at Enchanted Florist not only knew what I wanted, but they were excited. They ooh'd. They ahh'd. That made me really happy. We chatted for a few minutes, and it wasn't long before they were pulling pieces they had on hand to create a loose mock-up of what I wanted...

Green tea roses. Artichokes. Green berries. Cream and green hydrangea. There will be more, too. Potentially the use of kale. I love it. The artichoke will not be dead center in the middle of the bouquet. I took this shot at an angle so that everything could be displayed in the mock-up. The base of the bouquet will be wrapped in a muted antique gold ribbon...

...which will go great with my dress. Which isn't ivory. Or white. Or champagne. Or anything remotely close to any of those colors. But that's a post for later.

Either way, I'm excited. The look is different, but it works. Are there any ways you plan on making your look different? How about your flowers?

It's great to be back, ladies. I'm so excited to be here writing again.

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Invitations are in the mail...

Kapow! I dropped the invitations in the mail yesterday morning - cross your fingers that they're correctly postaged and addressed and people actually receive them. I keep feeling this dread that I forgot someone! I guess that's natural.
I can't believe it but I forgot to take any pictures of my invites. Gahh! I'm sorry I'm a bad blogger. I think I did share a picture of the linen invite with the paperbag-type envelope? Here's our final product, if I hadn't shared it already.

Then for inserts we just included this homemade RSVP postcard (made over at OvernightPrints.com).

And then we included a plain little notecard with hotel and travel info on one side, and then directions from the hotel to the venue on the other side. I just set it up in InDesign and printed 4 to a page on some recycled card stock I had left over from my christmas card making (I got ambitious this year, doesn't usually happen!).. Of course I don't have a big paper cutter so I just eyeballed it and they're all a tiny bit crooked! I guess that's part of the charm.
Then we took one of these babies and rounded the corners to make the directions card and the rsvp postcard a bit more official looking. We actually didn't have that exact corner rounder but I love Impress, I'm sure that one's good too!
For the addresses, we did not budget for any kind of big-time calligraphy job, and my handwriting is sorta inconsistent, so we decided to go with envelope wraps. You know something like this. Well it seemed like such a great idea and not too difficult, especially with handy templates like you can get from that site I just linked to. But it would be a heck of a lot easier if someone actually sold pre-cut labels of that size! I had planned to go to FedEx Office and have them cut down to size but then I got impatient, I wanted it done Now, so I just printed them at home and eyeballed them with plain old scissors.. Since I forgot to take pictures, I can't show you how they turned out but, yeah, croooked. Of course Mr. Fairfax insisted they were perfect and awesome and nobody would care if they even noticed anything was uneven (he's so nice to me).
In the end our invites weren't terribly fancy or well put together but I'm pleased! And soooper excited that they're out of my hands! Now we just wait for the rsvps to start rolling in..

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Being a Bridezilla

Is not always a bad thing...

We've all seen them, heard them, or called them out... Bridezillas! If you're anything like me, you watch this show feeling a bit horrified that your big day could turn out so disasterous or that you'd be under so much stress that you, yourself would be a disaster! You look at the way these brides talk to their friends, their mother-in-laws, and (I know you do it) you gasp and think, "I would never!" I've said it before too, but more recently I've found that it's not always a bad thing to be a bridezilla.

Father of the Bride (Part II):

My future husband and I met with my folks for dinner yesterday and I have to admit, my parents never cease to surprise me. We hardly see each other and when we do we have a lot to discuss, especially in terms of the wedding. My dad starts us off by asking, "Are you still thinking November?"

O - M - G!

"Dad," I said, "It's October!"

Then my stepmom proceeds to ask questions like, "Well why isn't the food included in the cost of the venue? Wait, how much is this place? Why Ocotber? You can't have a year engagement because that's what the internet says to do, you have to do what's right for you! Is the deposit refundable?"

O - M - G!

I was astonished wondering where all these questions came from. Where was all this input 3 months ago when we were looking at venues -- when we asked them if they had someplace in mind. We called them when we found Oxon HIll Manor, I cried, and shared about how much we loved the place. I even spoke with them when we submitted our deposit. I have to wonder, where they even listening?

{Photo credit: Reel Film}

I was patient in reiterating our decisions and the lack thereof. I was polite and I was attentive. I was very open to catching them up to speed, but when my Dad looked at me and said, "Oxon Hill isn't very convenient is it?" I broke.

I had no choice but to look my Dad in the eyes, without blinking, flinching or hestitating and say, "I LOVE IT! PERIOD!" Thankfully, my groom's been watching Bridezilla with me and he got a little groomzilla with my folks by saying, "Oxon Hill Manor is the ONE decision we HAVE made!"

Exception to the Rule:

Driving home from dinner we shared about all the comments my parents made that threw us for a loop. How could she ask us if the deposit was refundable? What was my Dad thinking when he asked me, "How much do you expect us to commit to this?" Or when my stepmom said, "We saved for this, but we thought it would happen in 10 years, not now!"

The audacity! Am I nuts? Don't people get married in their twenties?

The upside to all of this is that Aaron and I had eachother. We had each other to pick up the shattered pieces of our perfect dinner of easy and fun converstaions about the wedding and move on. We both shared about what we got out of the talk (or didn't get), assured each other we're not crazy, and agreed it's obviously going to take them awhile to come around. In the meantime, we're just going to have to beef up our bridezilla attitudes and state what we want and what we need.  Honestly people, if we waited for them to intiate the talks or make the decisions, we'd be waiting forever.

Be a Bridezilla! It's the Only Way to Get Your Way:

So in the end, I'm left feeling like all those WEtv Bridezillas might have known a little something I didn't... They may not have been so bad after all. They may have been acting out of sheer survival. I can't help but think back to the words of WEtv's most insane (no offense) Bridezilla (the Staten Island bride who aired for 3 straight shows), "If you want it -- it doesn't matter if you have to yell it at the top of your lungs to get it! This is your day and what you want, you should have! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

{First photo and directly above credit : WEtv}

In the words of a people pleaser (me), "Tell them what you want, even if it's the hardest thing you'll ever do!"

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010


HI-FI WEDDINGS is a fabolous blog that not only hosts stories of couples who have recently learned to embraced eachother's musicial styles, but it also gives you different ideas on how to incorporate music into your nupitals and entire planning process.
"With blogs focused on anything from flower arrangements, to the tiny details, to the style of the wedding dress, there isn't one yet that targets solely on the music played at your wedding. At HI-FI Weddings we look to feature any and everything music related! From the song that walks you down the aisle, to the first dance, to the reception mix tape, we want to know every single one of your tunes. "

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

ack crazy family!

So my mom just let me know that one of my aunts has started inviting other people to our wedding. Ok just one person. And actually I'm happy to have him, but still.

She's inviting people to the wedding!! gaaahhh.

I should start by telling you she actually began with inviting herself to the wedding. Initially we weren't even sure we could invite any of my mom's siblings due to budget/space concerns, but they were in town visiting sometime last spring, not too long after the engagement, and as soon as she saw me, she said how thrilled and excited they were to come to the wedding, and they would definitely be there. I had hoped to bring it up gently by saying we were considering a very small wedding and may not be able to invite the extended family. But she just led right off with that statement and I do love her to death, how could I then say Sorry you're not invited actually! At the time I sort of made non-commital noises, and after a while we determined that we could in fact afford to invite them..

Today (umm 9 weeks before the wedding??), she just sort of nonchallantly mentioned to my mother that my great uncle was returning to the country (after decades of missionary work in Brazil - literally decades, he's close to 100 years old), and coming straight to their place in Florida, so they decided they would just bring him along to the wedding because wouldn't that be nice?

Of course it's nice. I'm really actually happy to see him and we would have made room for him anyway, had we been told he was coming back to the states and could probably make it. But am I alone in being incredulous that she would just tell us she's bringing him along?? Without even one of those "yikes I'm sorry to have presumed but he's coming back to the states around that time and supposed to be staying with us, I hope it's ok if we bring him along?"

Deep breath. I'm not really that upset about it, because as I said I do want him there. I just... had to share this with you all. I'm a little worried about who else she may have extended an invitation to, and just hasn't gotten around to letting us know to expect them.

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Secretly Thinking Spring

The Dilemma:

We've found our venue and booked the date, but that's all we've done. It's unsettling to admit, but even among those two decisions, I feel a bit of unsuredness and remorse. I love Oxon Hill Manor (our venue) and I am undoubtly getting married there, but our date is scheduled as October 24, 2010, and I've secretely been thinking about having a spring wedding, not a fall one.

Initially I thought I wanted a fall wedding, because we love that time of year and we'd have about a year to plan. However, the hectic holidays and now-very-cold wheather has me thinking otherwise. I've been so indecisive about everything thus far (our colors and our theme), but I think that if we were having a spring wedding I wouldn't be having such a hard time making decisions. I've got so many ideas for a spring wedding. The list goes on and on. I can see it all in my mind's eye -- a beautiful spring day,  soft colors, flowers in full bloom, and the sun is warming the air... Ahh it's such a refreshing thought!

Spill the Beans:

My secret isn't really a secret because we've talked about having a spring wedding. We've actually talked about it quite a bit, but we haven't commited to it yet. I think both of us think (May, the spring month we like) is just too far away! Adding an additional 7 months to the planning seems excessive. What do you think? Do you wish you had more time to plan and prepare?

I think more planning time would be great, but that's because I'm a girl that loves weddings. Plus, I know this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I'm not ready for it to be over in 8 months! I love for it to last forever!

Lacking Ideas for a Fall Wedding:

If we were getting married in May, I'd love to stick with our original color palette of light pink, creme, and green. I like spring colors. I'd also love to incorporate a butterfly theme (have you ever seen a butterfly in October? I didn't think so). I want to have fans and umbrellas outside during our ceremony. I want tulips. I want more daylight and a "May'd for eachother," Save the Date...

So while I continue to covet all of these spring elements, I figured I might as well share them with you. Here are a few pictures that inspire my secretly for thinking spring:

{Photo credit: Martha Stewart}

{Photo credit: Silk Wedding Designs}

{Photo credit: Trendy Baby Boutique}

{Photo credit: Modern Girl Invitations}

{Photo credit: Pink Cake Box}

How did you decide what season you'd get married? Did you and your fiance agree immediately on the time of year? How long did you have to plan?

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Monday, January 18, 2010


Mazza Gallerie Shop Focuses on Impeccable Customer Service, Expert Tailoring and Exclusive Designer Gowns In a Range of Price Points;
Bridal Sample Sale With 50-70% Discounts Kicks Off Store Opening
Nick Kassman announces the opening of Chevy Chase Bridal in Mazza Gallerie, in the Friendship Heights section of Northwest Washington, D.C.
Chevy Chase Bridal is an upscale, full-service bridal salon featuring designer bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, eveningwear and accessories in a range of price points.
Chevy Chase Bridal features gowns from renowed designers including Anne Barge, Antonio Riva, Badgley Mischka, Justin Alexander, Romona Keveza, Simone Carvalli and Stephen Yearick, and Mark & James, the new bridge line by Badgley Mischka.
Chevy Chase Bridal also includes bridesmaid selections by Badgley Mischka, and Siri, plus an edited collection of designer mother of the bride and eveningwear.
To celebrate the opening, Chevy Chase Bridal is hosting a Bridal Sample Sale, offering dozens of gowns at 50-70% off retail from designers including Romona Keveza and Badgley Mischka. The sample sale will also feature bridesmaid and eveningwear at 50-70% off.
The sale will continue through February 15.

Chevy Chase Bridal
will be open seven days a week: Monday – Saturday 10-6, Thursday 10-8, Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 12-5.
Appointments are recommended for fittings, and can be reserved by calling 202.363.9301.
2010 Trunk Show Roster

February 26 – 28: Justin Alexander

March 26 – 28: Simone Carvalli

April 23 – 25: Romona Keveza

May 14 – 16: Badgley Mischka and Mark & James

August 13 – 15: Justin Alexander

September 10 – 12: Romona Keveza


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Decorating the Outdoors

Our venue has a breath-taking landscape. We're marrying at Oxon Hill Manor and the patio, the garden, the view, is all stunning. Full trees outline the property and right beyond where we'll say our vows is a glimpse of the Potomac River and the National Harbor. It's beautiful!

See for yourself:

{Photos by me}

We definitely want our guests to see this and to enjoy it. We've come across a few photos (thanks to my online Oxon-Hill-Manor-Real-Weddings savengers) of what other couples have done to this space, but we're still not quite sure what we'll do.

There's so much natural beauty (whether our wedding is in the spring or the fall) that we shouldn't have to do too much. Nevertheless, we've considered almost everything from archways to flowers, to umbrellas to fans, and we're not sure what the best look is. As most of you know, archways are a common focal point, but I'm not crazy about them. What do you think? Do we have to have something at the end of the aisle?

Check out pictures of this real wedding that show Oxon Hill Manor's garden transformed into a stunning ceremony site:

{Photo credit: Regeti's Photography Blog}

Here are a few pictures of what we have in mind:

For the Focal Point:

{Photo credit: Mathieu Photography Blog}

{Photo credit: The Knot}

{Photo credit: The Washington Post}

Decorations and Extras:

{Photo credit: Martha Stewart Weddings}

{Photo credit: Quite Cannon}

{Photo credit: The Knot}

Are you decorating your ceremony site? Have you thought about having an arch, canopy, or cross? Share your thoughts about this topic and of course, suggestions are welcome :-)

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Monday, January 11, 2010

the save the dates...

...are in the mail!


i told mr. uva, "there's no backing out now"!

i'll post more soon about the guest list process and about our lovely invitations that arrived last week!

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Neato Table Number Idea

Good morning and happy Monday.

Just saw this neat table number project via DIY Bride and thought I'd pass it along. You can find the full tutorial over at Firefly Bachelor & Bachelorette Parties. I always love a great idea for reusing plastic bags!

Although I'm still not sold on the whole table numbering thang.. There are great arguments on both sides, I really can't decide which way is best for us to do it. It makes a lot of sense just to have a few tables reserved so the grandparents have a good table and you know, the bride & groom have a good table, and then the rest can fend for themselves.. BUT I still like the idea of assigning tables for everyone. GAH decisions...

Being that we're in The Season, any new readers out there newly engaged? I'm coming up on the anniversary of our engagement, very strange how fast the year went by. Last February it seemed like 2010 would never arrive..

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Happy Friday!

It's been a good first week back at work after the holidays. Well, mainly because it was only a 3-day week for me haha, I was out from last Thursday till this Wednesday, on vacation in Maine. But in this first week I've got a lot done:
  • basically fixed the whole wedding band problem (just have to send back the ones that didn't work, the new ones have been ordered)
  • signed us up for dance lessons! We're going with Dance Factory near Virginia Square metro. We're living on the edge and just doing the basic course and then we'll probably just wing it for the first dance - guess we'd better pick a song you can do an easy waltz to! Anyone going all out for a big choreographed number?
  • signed us up for a wine-making session! next Thursday. I will be sure to report back on that whole experience, I'm really excited about it.
  • may have found a hair stylist. Anyone heard of Hair by Diane? She's based in Alexandria and does wedding hair on site in the metro area. Her prices seem pretty reasonable - $190 for the bride (includes 2 trials), and $65 for the bridesmaids. Hopefully her hair styling is not as outdated as her website haha, looks right out of the 90s.. (will have to do a post soon to chat about possible hairstyles - anyone have any good sites for browsing updos?)
  • just today my bridesmaids all received their dresses in the mail from Miss Brache! I'm so excited to hear how they turned out. Maybeee I can get them to bring the dresses along when they come to town for the shower/bachelorette later this month??

One bad thing this week was discovering what WeddingWire has done to their guest list management system on their website. UGH. Maybe it's really an improvement and I'm just not used to it yet but it was really giving me a headache yesterday. Is anyone tracking their guestlist on WeddingWire? I am using it to accept online RSVPs so I've gotta figure this out.

This weekend we are hopefully finallyyyy booking our rehearsal dinner venue, and then we're meeting with our DJ to talk ceremony & reception music/logistics.. But tonight, Mr. Fairfax and I are just going to be on the couch, with some sparkling wine and a movie. weee Friday!

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

10 weeks out??

WHAT. I was just emailing someone to set up a wedding-related appointment and mentioned my wedding date - and they replied saying something about how our wedding is a mere 10 weeks away. How did we get to the "10 weeks" mark without my knowing?? Somehow I was still in the "oh it's a few months out" mode and all of a sudden it feels like it's coming up very very soon (I know, just yesterday I was posting about how close we're getting - well now it feels even closer haha).

Incidentally the people I was emailing were the folks at Carafe Wine Makers in Old Town Alexandria, because Mr. Fairfax and I want to go in and make a wine for our wedding - I got a LivingSocial deal a while back for make-your-own 30 bottles with custom labels for like $175 or something crazy cheap like that. The price per bottle combined with the romantic idea of crafting our very own wine for our guests?? I feel a little guilty that I didn't post this idea on the blog back when they were offering that deal! Even so it's worth looking into, there are several different packages you can get, I think it starts at $99. I think if you're really a wine person, it could be a spectacular idea for a bachelorette party, to gather the girls for wine tasting and grape crushing and wine making! eh?

**Just fyi, the process takes 4 - 6 weeks at minimum after you go in for the wine making before you get to go back in for labeling. We actually waited a bit too long, there's not really enough time to make a red and let it mature enough to serve at the wedding, so we'll do some kind of white. But if you're interested, even if your wedding is a ways off, definitely contact them asap to find out the best time to come in!

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

and it begins..

..the post-holiday wedding frenzy, I mean. I've been imagining all this time that once the holidays went by, that's when I'd really start feeling the pressure - and it's pretty true! No huge stress yet but it's getting to be that time where things I've been putting off for another day simply cannot be put off any longer. Like booking the rehearsal dinner! I imagined I'd get that done around November, maybe December. Uhh woops.

Also I've been having the darndest time with the wedding bands. Mr. Fairfax picked out a great titanium one on etsy (the one pictured is 9mm, we got it 5mm and it's awesome), and had his finger sized (at Macy's), so I went ahead and ordered it with engraving (knowing full well that I could not exchange it for a different size if I had it engraved)..... and it's too big. Just by a little bit but it flops all around on his finger, I'm sure that's not ideal. Sooooo we have to buy a new one! And we'll save the one that's a bit too big for when he fleshes out a bit in his old age. ;)

That by itself didn't bother me too much. My own hunt for the perfect ring just isn't going even as well as that. Originally I imagined that I would like a little sparkle on my wedding band and it would be easy to pick it out, I just wanted something like this. But then I tried something like that on in a store and it didn't look quite right. So then I went for something entirely different and tried this one. And it looks Ridiculous with my ring. Looks great by itself but I want to continue wearing my engagement ring so now I have to return that one. Then I found this one on etsy and thought it would be perfect -
and then it arrived and it's wayyy too thin and looks wonky (my engagement ring is just under 2mm thick, this one is I think just under 1mm thick, so it just makes my engagement ring look kind of clunky). SO.

I didn't expect the wedding band search to stress me out at all, but it's actually really upsetting me. The wedding band is important. Maybe more important than the engagement ring, for the symbolism it represents. Is anyone else having a hard time with this? Totally should have just picked out a set instead of the engagement ring by itself!

UPDATE: The folks at seababejewelry are giving me a 100% credit if I return the ring, and they're making one exactly to my specifications that should only cost a bit more than the original one I bought. So that's good news. Also, titaniumknights, who made mr. fairfax's ring, is giving me the engraving for free on the redo. Sooo that's something too. If you're ever unhappy with something you've ordered on etsy, always ask them (nicely) if they'll fix it! Usually what I order is exactly what I wanted, but every time it hasn't been quite right, the vendor always works hard to make exactly what I want.

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Engagement Session with Meg Runion

One of my good friends, a wedding photographer here in Charlottesville, called the other month and asked if she could use me and my Mr. as subjects for an engagement session. We were thrilled! I met Meg while working at a local preschool when she came to take pictures of the children for the school yearbook. The pictures were awesome! Meg was able to capture the little ones while they were playing on the playground and I couldn't stop staring at their cute little faces and the beautiful way that Meg captured their spirit.

Recently, Meg had been working with another photographer and decided it was time to start her own business. In her own words - "After 5 years I had so many dreams, thoughts, and ideas and decided to launch my own business to fit the more creative, personal, and customer service oriented business I was looking for and since founded Meg Runion Studios." Since leaving her previous business, she is in the process of rebuilding her portfolio and Mr. UVA and I were happy to help! :)

The photos are beautiful! It was such a fun day spending time with Meg and watching her work. She was so laid back and confident and you could see her mind working as she evaluated the light and the surroundings in order to get the best picture. She even brought her Grandmother's antique chair for us to use as a prop after hoisting it over fence at Ashlawn.
Meg is currently accepting wedding and family inquiries for 2010. So if you're still looking for a photographer, check out her blog (http://megrunionstudios.wordpress.com/) and get in touch!

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