Monthly Archives: May 2011

I’m So Vain, I Totally Think This Song Is About Me

Ever since we started planning The Wedding, I’ve found myself concerned with things I never imagined I’d be concerned with. For instance: makeup. Up until like 2 years ago, seriously, I was all about department store makeup. Only problem was, I had problem skin. So I finally made the move over to Bare Escentuals and lord, let me tell you what a difference that made. Recently, though, I’ve found myself heading to Sephora on like a weekly basis, trolling the aisles and picking up all sorts of illuminating primers and lip stains and mascaras – mascaras! I never wear mascara! And you want to know the craziest part? I’m having my makeup done. By a professional. I don’t even need this stuff! But for some reason, it makes me feel like a bride. And this is why I hate commercialism. Well, love/hate.

Then there are the things I feel I need to line up in the months ahead. We are at just over 5 months and counting (OK, let’s be precise here: 158 days [!]), and all of a sudden, I’m finding myself obsessed – I tell you, obsessed – over my appearance. This is not a very comfortable situation for me, as I typically think of myself as very un-vain.

The body

In January, I started working out. Like, for the first time ever. I started with Jillian Michaels’ “30-day Shred,” and then moved to “Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism.” I swear, I started seeing results right away! I had been eating terribly, with fast food 3+ times per week and sweets and salty stuff every day, all day. And I was totally sedentary. In February, I started doing P90X, and not only have I lost 12 pounds in the past five months, but my arms are more toned and I feel better. But still, I’m a huge slacker, and I haven’t mastered the art of actually working out 6 days a week. Plus I could still eat better. Boo.

The face

I have struggled with cystic acne – the large, allover stuff that causes permanent pockmarks – since I was 13. Accutane pretty much knocked it out of my system back then, but I had periodic and stubborn flareups up until about a year-and-a-half ago. For awhile, I was using Proactiv, and that helped tremendously, but then I stopped ordering it due to financial issues, and when I started it back up again, it did not work anymore! (I’ve heard this from others too, but have no idea why.) Finally, I went to a dermatologist, who put me on Differin gel at night and Clindamycin pledgets in the morning. When I stick to it, it totally and completely clears everything up – so happy! But I still have little red marks, uneven skin tone, and faint pockmarks. It’s not typically anything I worry about, but with the “all eyes on me” mentality, I’ve been stressing more than usual about it. I refuse to get my skin burned off or subject myself to anything scary, so I’m a little stuck. Also, Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion is amazing. Really. Try it. They don’t pay me a dime. I just lurve it.

The teeth

Yeah, I have yellow teeth – not full-on Austin Powers style, but less-than-celebrity-pearly-white style. This is from a combination of dental slacking for a period of years, being a crazystupid coffee drinker, and smoking for about a decade. I’ve been great on points 1 and 3 for some time now, but still need my caffeine. I tried whitening strips before our engagement photos, and dropped off the train after Day 2 – I AM THAT LAZY AND THAT BAD AT ROUTINE. That I couldn’t even get through 10 days of putting whitening strips on my teeth for 20 minutes a shot. Horrible. Now I’m attempting to test a whitening booster gel from the drugstore, but honestly, I’m not seeing much of a difference. A friend told me she sprays hydrogen peroxide on her toothbrush every time she brushes, but I’ve been reading fright-inducing cautions against swabbing your mouth with the acid. I’ve still got some time to experiment, but this is seriously keeping me up at night.

The nails

I’ve talked about these. These are a problem. I can’t stop mangling my nails and cuticles. Stop the insanity!

The hair

I’m totally going gray, ya’ll. I’ve nevereverinmylife colored my hair, as I’ve always been lucky enough to have a nice hair color that shades well in the sun and complements my skin tone. But now… they’re all over my temple, attempting to make me look like a crazy cat lady. I’m scared to color, but am considering perhaps some temporary dye.

Have any other brides to be stressed about the most minute details of their appearance? If so, what tips and tricks worked without having to spend an arm and a leg on whitening trays and microdermabrasion? Did you fail to reach your goals but still end up looking fabulous on the big day?

If They Could See Me Now…

Mr. Ladyfingers and I had never been anywhere outside the continental United States, so when it came time to talk honeymoon, the world was literally our oyster (well, not literally… but figuratively, definitely). Initially, we didn’t think we’d be able to do a real honeymoon. At the time he proposed, I was going to school part time for interior design because I was really unhappy with my journalism job and needed a backup plan. We planned our wedding date around my school break as it was, and we would probably only have been able to swing a mini-moon at best.

Then, though, fate stepped in. I found a job I loved, left the job I’d been unhappy at, and decided to put school on hold. I’d done lots of soul searching, and as I took a break for spring term to get acclimated to the new job, I found I really didn’t miss it, and while I’d enjoyed learning about interior design, I’d also learned that the business side of things didn’t appeal to me at all.

With no more part-time school, my schedule had opened up wide. Our overall budget was still on the low side, so we planned a weeklong trip to St. Augustine, somewhere neither of us had ever been, but still within our state. It’s a very romantic spot, the oldest city in the United States, and seemed to fit our honeymoon bill.

(Fun fact #1: I often type too quickly and spell “honeymoon” “honeymood.” Freudian slip? Me thinks so.)

Then, as so often happens with me, a thought popped into my head. “You know,” this thought said, “you guys should really look into cruises. They’re affordable and fun, and will take you places you’ve never been.” Sometimes my thoughts sound like Kathie Lee Gifford.

So we started doing some research. I did way too much research, confusing myself and Mr. Ladyfingers beyond belief. Norwegian seemed reasonable, but then I learned that many travelers were unsatisfied with the cruise line’s tendency to nickel and dime. Royal Caribbean was the cream of the crop, but a bit outside our reach. For a minute, we considered Celebrity, but while it was more affordable than RC, it would still leave us with less money to play around with at the fancy non-inclusive restaurant or the fun shore excursions.

What did we finally end up with? Carnival! Yes, I read that there are a lot of kids on Carnival, and that it’s the more “budget” of the cruise lines – that uttered with a derisive tone by those who prefer a classier ride. But it seemed to suit us just fine, and we were able to book a 7-night cruise rather than 5 and get a balcony rather than an interior cabin.

So at some point post-wedding, we’ll be cruising the Eastern Caribbean seas, stopping at the Bahamas, St. Thomas, Grand Turk, and Puerto Rico. Woohoo!!!

(Fun fact #2: When applying for a passport, the official told me I got an A+ for filling everything out correctly. An A+! Man, did that ever please me.)

How did your honeymoon plans evolve? What did you end up with? Are you combo-ing a mini-moon with something more extravagant later? Or booking your ideal getaway right away?

You Can Ring My Bell

I’m having ring issues.

High-class problem, right?

My engagement ring is perfect. It was my mother’s, and while for a very long time I wanted my grandmother’s ring (also handed down to me) as my engagement ring, when Mr. Ladyfingers got down on one knee with this shiny wide yellow band and sparkly marquis-cut diamond, I knew it was meant to be. Me and the ring, that is – I already knew that he and I were meant to be. I’d told him all along to ask my dad for my grandmother’s ring, and he did, but my dad gave him my mom’s ring. Whether he heard wrong or what, I don’t know, but I love my unique ring, and the fact that it makes my mother a part of the planning process even when she can only be here in spirit, only makes it even more special.

Personal photo

Now, the wedding ring.

I have been all over the place with this wedding ring decision. First, I wanted a thin band. Then, I wanted a still-thin-but-a-bit-wider channel-set band. A plain band would just make too much gold on my hand, and anything too wide would make things a bit impractical on my ring finger.

Then, I decided I wanted a white gold ring and to simply store away the engagement ring as a keepsake.

But the more I thought about it, the more I love yellow gold. It looks best on me. I wear it in most of my other jewelry. It looks, to me, more “vintage” and “antique” than white gold. And I really do want to wear both my band and my engagement ring on the same hand. Forever.

I also like unique, obviously. My inspiration pics run the gamut from simple but one-of-a-kind to common but a bit flashier.

Turtle Love Co. Belmont wedding band

Turtle Love Co.

Turtle Love Co. Diamond Motif wedding band

 Turtle Love Co.

Catbird Blanca Morris Gomez

 Catbird NYC

After all this Internet research, I fully realized one important thing about myself: I am tactile. I need to be WITH my options, in their presence, looking at them in a store. I need to try them on and test them with my e-ring and without. Mr. Ladyfingers would be easy — but I might drive both of us a little nuts in our wedding ring search.

Do you have an e-ring that was not part of a wedding set? Was it difficult for you to envision what you wanted? And did you end up with something far from what you’d originally envisioned?

A Hands Off Approach to Wedding-Day Beauty (or, Don’t Be So Picky)

The vendors have been selected, and the down payments all made. The dress has been purchased and is sitting in Bridesmaid Esquire’s closet. The makeup and hair artist has been booked. My workout routine and better-eating regimen has definitely given me a body I am happy about.

There’s just one itty, wittle problem.

Picky nails

Personal photo… obviously.

Yeah. My hands.

(Warning: potentially nauseau-inducing detail below, depending on your level of squeamishness)

See, I have this nasty habit of picking at the skin around my nails and my cuticles. I do it without even noticing. This photo was taken a pretty good day, actually, but when I get nervous or stressed out (like, oh, how I’ll be more and more over the next five months?), I pick and pick and often get bleedy parts and scabs around my nail beds.

Gross.

I’ve tried the tricks: Putting stuff on my nails that tastes gross (only works for nail-biters, and while I do bite the skin, too, I’m not above just picking with my nails). Getting manicures (I just ruin them without regard for how pretty they look or how much I spent on them). Sitting on my hands. Short of wearing mittens until the big day, I’m at a loss.

My bridesmaids have suggested I get a manicure a couple of days before, but I don’t see how that can help. If I’ve been going at it pre-manicure, my fingers will already look like Freddy Krueger got a hold of them by the time I actually get my nails did. So right now I’m trying to stay hands off about it. It’s hit or miss.

 

Did you have any physically damaging bad habits pre-wedding? Did you successfully curtail them, at least until after you were married? How?

Gonna Dress You Up In My Love

I had a general sense of what I’d like my wedding gown to look like by the time Mr. Ladyfingers popped the question.

Haha, just kidding. I had no clue, as evidenced by the array of photos I saved in the early days.

Mon Cheri Bridal 25274 (Amelia)

Mon Cheri Bridal Style 25274 – The Amelia

David's Bridal Two-in-One Organza Fit and Flare Gown

David’s Bridal Two-in-One Organza Fit and Flare Gown

Aria Dress Style 161FA

Aria Dress Style 161A

For years and years and YEARS, I had my Perfect Wedding Gown all fixed in my head. It was based on a picture of a Vera Wang dress I’d once seen in an issue of Glamour, or Vogue, long ago. It was A-line, with an off-the-shoulder neckline, and no beading, glitter, or lace. Simple.

Aria Style 121FB

Not the dress… but close

Aria Dress

Then, in the year or so before we became engaged (what? You know you’ve done it too… don’t judge), I fell in love with a little shop called J.Crew.

J.Crew Cotton Cady Erica Gown

 J. Crew – Cotton Cady Erica Gown

J.Crew Lace-Trim Stephanie Gown

J. Crew – Lace-Trim Stephanie Gown

J.Crew Streamer Gown

J. Crew – Streamer Gown

But there I was, with nothing like a Vera Wang budget. Not even something close to a J.Crew budget. I toyed with the idea of doing a white sundress, but Mr. Ladyfingers said no way – I deserved a wedding gown (awww…). I even looked at secondhand shops. I think it was because 2 years earlier, I’d been at a consignment store, and saw the most bee-yoo-tiful, must-have-cost-an-arm-and-a-leg wedding dress for like, $250.

I knew I might fall in love with something I couldn’t afford at a real boutique that carried real designers. So I trekked myself over to Alfred Angelo about 2 weeks after the engagement. It was a rainy Sunday; I met Bridesmaid Esquire there. I wasn’t planning on buying a dress.

But I did.

I went in there with these criteria:

  • NO bling. No beading, glitter, metallic thread, or likeness of any of the above.
  • NO corset. I didn’t like the look, and certainly didn’t like it for me.
  • NO strapless. Which, as many of you might know, is darn near impossible.
  • White. Pure, untouched white.
  • If not totally pure untouched white, then a lace overlay would be divine.

I chose my dress and paid half for it that very day, and received it just one month later. It’s been hanging in the closet at Ma.’s apartment for the past three months, but will soon be transferred to Bridesmaid Spotlight’s house as Esquire plans a move to a house with potentially much less closet space.

What did I end up with that day? Aw, wouldn’t you like to know. I’ll give you a hint, though: What I chose surprised even myself.

Guest List Mama Drama

I may have mentioned that I did a lot of freaking out in the first few weeks. Did I mention that? I freaked out. A lot. If there’s one piece of advice I could give you, it would be this: Enjoy your engagement before you start planning.

The No.1 reason for my stress was a lack of budget. We’d been engaged for about 15 seconds before I started looking at venues, having no idea what our price point was, because we hadn’t even talked about it yet. But the No. 2 reason was that, without a guest list, we could not choose a venue.

So we started innocently cobbling this list together, with no idea how inflaming this step can be, or of its long-term repercussions.

Here’s what we did.

Get it all out

First, we listed every single person we could think of having at our wedding. This included distant cousins, high school friends, coworkers, people we regularly talked to, and schoolmates – and that’s cool, because once we got that list of EVERYBODY, we could start looking at places that held that many people and figure out our numbers from there. Some people have generous parents or family members who are contributing to or covering the bill. If that’s the case, the person or people paying should be involved in the conversation. We were footing the entire bill, and decided that, while our family would have input, we’d need to have the final say on our guest list.

Reality check: Pare it down

We had about 150 people on that first list – actually not bad, but we just couldn’t afford 99% of the venues that were big enough to hold that many people. So we took the next step down in venue size, which in this area is about 80-100 people. We cut our list down to 100 by asking ourselves, “Would one or both of us be upset if this person wasn’t there?” This is key, because we were asking about what we ourselves wanted – not who was expecting an invite, or would be hurt by no invite, or had invited us to their wedding or their kids’ weddings. Here’s the thing: There will always be at least one person who’s upset that they’re not invited. I just had a friend get married, and there were 350 people there. Her parents were paying, and they could afford to invite whomever they wanted. She invited people she knew well, and people she knew not that well. And I still know people who were upset that they weren’t invited. It’ll happen, but it’s your wedding, and your bill – not theirs.

Finalize plans, finalize numbers

We started looking at venues with our ballpark number in mind. We found THE PERFECT PLACE – and it holds 80 people. So we cut it down to 80. And that was TOUGH, man! He had three friends he grew up with that we just couldn’t invite. With the Reverend and some family members Mr. Ladyfingers really felt should be here, we were over 80. So we just sat on it.

Make some sacrifices

We held at 80 for a long time – but 18 of those were kids. At first, I was insistent: We could not ask our guests, especially out-of-towners, to keep their kids at home. And finally, we reached a breaking point. We were sitting in our back yard one weekend evening, and I looked at Mr. Ladyfingers, and I said, “I don’t think we should invite kids to the wedding.” And he said, “Fine by me.” Done. With that cushion opened up, he could add his childhood friends; I could add a few girls who, even though they weren’t my *BESTFRIENDSOMGEVER*, I really like and see frequently and would really love to have there.

We’ve still excluded people who would probably kick up a fit at not being invited. My dad told a couple of his friends they could come, even though I have met them *maybe* twice, and I had to put my foot down. That was tough, since he had to be the bearer of bad news, but it had to be done. There’s a girl I was once very close with who I haven’t had a real conversation with, much less hung out with, for over a year, and she keeps hinting on my Facebook page about helping me plan the wedding. And there are a slew of acquaintances who excitedly ask me what our wedding date is, and when I tell them, they say the date over and over, and then say, “I’ll have to remember that.” See? There will always be people who are upset they’re not invited to your wedding.

Everybody needs to set priorities with wedding planning. There are many, many people who have backyard BBQs and wear sundresses because they have a huge circle of families and friends they want to include, but a small budget. There are people who get married at the justice of the peace and invite five people. There are others who have lavish parties with many, many guests. There’s no right or wrong. We ended up with a venue we loved that would be great for our guests, a caterer that would make awesome food our guests would love, a DJ who would throw down the beats that our guests would jam to – and a list made up of people we absolutely, positively NEED to be there. And nobody else.

And we ended up happy… at least, until the invitations go out.

Did you have guest list growing — or shrinking — pains? How did you handle these particular situations?

Hungry for a Vendor

Close on the heels of choosing a venue, we started looking for caterers. We knew this would be the next difficult price point – with an initial budget of $10,000 for 80 guests, that meant our caterer bill would need to fall somewhere in the $3,000 range – including rentals, since our venue only comes with round tables and a bunch of plastic lawn chairs.

Luckily, I’m awful good at doing homework, and I’d already searched all the major wedding sites and blogs for a list of caterers in the area where we’re getting married. I started firing off emails, and had the following responses and impressions:

  • Mattison’s was one of the first to respond, and offered an unbelievably extensive menu. We knew we wanted buffet, we knew we wanted to provide our own beer and wine (and no liquor), and we knew we were providing our own cake from a third-party vendor. Their food and beverage fell to about $4,000 after the chef reduced the price of some items, but with rentals, labor and service charges, the proposed total was more than $7,000 – and that would be before gratuity. Time to keep looking.
  • A rep from Milan called me to go over some details, and followed up with an email containing a link to their Facebook page. I never heard anything after that.
  • Nellie’s Deli was the next to respond – and they’re the ones we went with.

Why we booked our caterer at the 1st tasting we went to

Right away, Nellie’s sounded like a great fit. The catering manager I dealt with in the beginning, Nina, was personable over the phone and enthusiastic about our menu ideas (Italian buffet with passed hors d’oeuvres). After getting some of our details down – date, number of guests, style of wedding, thoughts on booze and dessert – she promptly emailed us a detailed proposal a few days later. This included 4 passed hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour, a served salad, and an Italian buffet with one meat, one pasta, one extra starch, one veggie, and bread. Mmm… bread. They also included estimated rental costs (padded folding chairs nicer than those at the venue that could be used for the ceremony and the reception, linens, table service, barware), service charges, AND gratuity, so we could get a really good picture of our total estimated outlay. And after all was said and done, we were right around $5,000. Not quite the $3,000 we were budgeted for, but by then, we had started receiving some engagement money and had some generous parental offers of assistance.

So our next step was a tasting and initial meeting with Nina. Sorry, since this was back in January before I started blogging, I have no photos to share with you, but it’s probably just as well, because they’d make your stomach growl. We sampled 8 different appetizers, chicken parmesan, and two kinds of pasta. It was all sooooooo good! Then we started to get the full scoop on everything Nellie’s offers, and we REALLY got excited. This includes:

  • Complimentary wedding coordination – as in, in-depth meetings with the owner/coordinator, a thorough walk-through with our catering manager with ideas for room layout etc., as many calls and meetings as we’d like beyond that, consultation on décor and other visual options, and a rehearsal and ceremony coordinator.
  • We bring them alllllll our stuff the Tuesday or Wednesday before the wedding – booze, décor, escort cards, favors, whatever – and they take it to the venue and deal with it so we don’t have to. UM, YES THANK YOU.
  • In-house help with escort cards and loaning of certain décor items like a birdcage for the “card box.”

So, yes, we booked our caterer after having talked to two others and having gone to ONE tasting. We’re let’s-get-it-done, cut-to-the-chase kinda folks. As you’ll later learn, I bought the second wedding dress I tried on, and booked the first DJ and photographer we learned about (both friends of bridesmaids), the only florist I’d ever heard of, and the 2nd venue we visited in person. Not necessarily recommended for all, but it worked for us.

Hey, when you know, you know – right?

Did you book any other vendors right away? Did you just *know* they were the one? Or are you much more patient and calculating than I am?

Who Are We, Anyway? Part I: How We Met

Mr. Ladyfingers and I first met five years ago, at a friend’s birthday party. I worked at a local paper for about a year back in ’04-’05, and he came aboard about three months after I left. We had the same friends, so it was only natural we’d meet eventually. Here’s what he remembers about the encounter:

  • I laughed at his jokes, which caught his attention

Here’s what I remember:

  • Not a whole lot

Well, whatrya gonna do? We can’t all be winners.

One of our first photo ops

One of our first photo ops

I think I ran into him one more time after that, and here’s what he remembers:

  • I came over and made a joke, and then after I left he told his friend I was cute, and he would totally… yeah.

And I remember:

  • Not much

I think I need to start dosing on the ginkgo biloba.

Our first trip together - to visit his family

Our first trip together - to visit his family

Whatever did or did not happen in that first year or so, we became MySpace friends, and then, around New Year’s of 2008, he sent me an email asking me out sometime. Ah, but lovers are so often star crossed, and I was not available at that time. But you know what? I hadn’t thought of him that way before. And I kinda liked it.

So about two years later, we’d both ditched MySpace and moved to Facebook, where we were friends. He wrote a note about his favorite albums, and I really liked the way he wrote (I’m intellectually shallow like that). So I thought to myself, how do you express interest to somebody you once turned down? What if he was taken by now? His status said “single,” but what if he just didn’t update it?

Here’s what we both remember:

  • I posted a note on his wall saying “Hey there, how are you?”
  • He wrote back and said “Het! How are things? You ever get down to my side of town?” (We lived about an hour apart at the time.)
  • I said, “Sometimes… do you ever get up to my side of town?”
  • He said, “Sometimes.”
  • I said, “Well, next time you’re here, let me know and maybe we can hang out sometimes.”
  • He wrote back, “Or, we could just pick a time and hang out…”

And this is additionally what he remembers:

  • Reading my comment about hanging out, doing a double take, looking around him (he was at work), and thinking… does she really mean what I think she means?
  • That I asked him out.

Um, he might be a little off on that last point. But I’ll let him have his fun.

Moving in together

Moving in together

We chatted online and on the phone for about 2 weeks before he finally asked me out on our first date. We basically courted on Facebook, mainly because as soon as we started flirting, I came down with strep throat. Strep! But one good thing came of that: I quit smoking finally, which he really liked, since he liked me and hated smokers.

Our first date was set for a seafood restaurant on my side of town. I hadn’t been on a first date for about… jeez… four years. I was more than a little nervous! But he was so funny, and we had so much in common. We both loved the movie “Say Anything,” and music. I made him laugh with my jokes using the grammatical term [sic]. We both knew, though, that liking the same things didn’t always mean a match from heaven.

Would we get along? Would he be a creep? Would I be a nutbag? So many questions rattling through our heads! But there was only one way to find out… and we were about to do just that.

*All personal photos

Beautiful Bridesmaids: Outfitting the Girls

Even before we got engaged, I knew I wanted my bridesmaids’ look to be a little eclectic. To me, a row of identically dressed girls with identical hair and identical jewelry and identical, dyed-to-match shoes was too formal – too… freaky.

Within the first few weeks, I had selected the friends who would stand next to me when I married the man I love, and had started looking around at bridesmaids’ dresses. Man, this was more overwhelming than looking for my own dress. There were soooo many options, lengths, fabrics – and COLORS! At this point, the wedding was turquoise and red. Soon, it became teal and magenta (it would have looked a lot nicer than it sounds, I promise).

We all agreed we loved the Alfred Sung dresses from Dessy Group, and once I chose the teal color and the knee length, I would let them decide on the style of dress they felt most comfortable in.

Which led me to insight #1: By and large, my bridesmaids don’t want as much input as I’m giving them. I was sending them links, asking what they thought… and they kept saying, “They all look nice… what do you want?” And really, what I want is for my bridesmaids to look their best, feel their best, and pick what they love – not what I tell them to pick. And still, even when they ask me for direction, literally tell me, “TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO GET,” I just can’t do it. So my associated lesson #1 is: I need to figure out what I want, be firm about it, and relax.

Lots of these dresses had pockets! Genius!

Shop Joielle

When MOH Ginger and I dropped by the bridal salon to browse, none of the Alfred Sung dresses really caught her eye. She’s about as picky as I am – which is to say, very – and we soon moved over one rack, to the Bill Levkoff dresses. Which led me to insight #2, in direct conflict with insight #1: Even when I make a decision, if I give somebody a choice, they may make a different selection – and then I get these weird hurt feelings. Which is silly, because I told them in the first place to pick what they liked. So, lesson #2: If I’m giving somebody a choice, I need to be OK with their choice! Which I totally was, turned out, because the Bill Levkoff dresses looked FANTASTIC on her.

Bill Levkoff

And then, she kept saying how much she liked gray. So right then and there, I changed our color scheme for the third (and final) time: gray, magenta and yellow. And then she went, “PHEW! Because I hate teal. And I really didn’t want to wear a teal dress.”

Insight #3: Bridesmaids will always tell you that they love the dress. Even when they don’t. And sometimes, they don’t.

Insight #3.5: Brides will always tell the bridesmaid they will wear the dress again. Sometimes, the bridesmaid even says they’ll wear the dress again. They never wear the dress again. (But these, I kind of hope they do.)

We all finally had a weekend where all five of us could spend a few hours together, and headed back to the same salon as before to try the rest on the girls. We grabbed every short chiffon Bill Levkoff dress from the rack. As they tried them on, Bridesmaid Esquire said, “You know, when we were pulling these off the rack, I thought they all were basically the same. But they’re totally not.”

They weren’t! Most looked good on all of them, but there were clear favorites. So we had them file their styles, take their measurements, and start the ordering process. Bridesmaid Preggo is 8 months pregnant, so needless to say, she couldn’t do much trying-on, but she did nearly settle on a style to order for herself within the next few weeks.

Here’s what we ended up with (we’re very decisive when we get down to it!!):

Over lunch, we talked about shoes. I gave them lots of choices. We changed the subject. It came back to shoes. I ran through the choices again, and asked what they thought. Blank stares. So finally, I made a decision: silver or gray shoes of their choosing, and jewelry of their choice. Now we’re getting excited! (Edited to add: Late yesterday, I retracted this choice and told them to buy whatever shoes they wanted, as long as they were gray, yellow, or pink. But then I sent them like 300 links to shoes in the colors that would work… just in case :))

Beautiful bridesmaids!

I’ll DIY, I’ll DIY It Not: Part II

I’ve told you how, for five months, I forgot what a control freak paranoid crazytown person I am, and insisted I’d do my own flowers. And how I came to my senses and decided to hire a professional.

Basically, I already knew who I wanted my florist to be. I’d been trolling enough wedding boards over the past few months to have heard of Fishhawk Weddings and their super-talented designer, Stephanie. I’d seen the website. I’d drooled over the blog. So I emailed them, and a few days later, I had an email from Collette. We set up a phone chat, and I went over some brief details of the wedding.

(By the way, chats like these make me feel like a crazy person. “It’s like a vintage look, but not like totally antique vintage rustic or anything. Like, some vintage, but also some modern. So like, vintage modern. Sort of. Does that make sense?”)
Collette was super sweet and patient, and took down all my random descriptions. The next day, she sent me an email with pictures like this.

Shannon Nicole Smith Photography

And this.

Stephanie A. Smith Photography

Oh, and lists of flowers like this:

I told her what I liked and didn’t like (no yellow roses, no orchids, no snapdragons, but everything else sounded great!) and then the next day, she sent me some more pictures.

And I knew they totally got me, and what I’d love for my wedding to look like. And the basic pricing also showed they were an A-plus match budget-wise! So I immediately wrote back, “I REALLY WANT TO WORK WITH YOU GUYS PLEASE SEND ME A PROPOSAL KLUVU XOXOXOXOX.”

In the new-car-lot circuit, they call people like me “laydowns.”

So the next step was to start meeting with Stephanie to go over designs – and I’m especially psyched to be able to hand over my growing antique bottle collection, the floral transportation and arrangement responsibilities, and everything else that goes with that task.

Who ever thought I’d be so excited to spend more money on flowers than any sane person could ever anticipate?