Monthly Archives: July 2011

Guesting, One, Two … Three? Guesting, One, Two … Three?

Probably the No. 1 best thing about planning a wedding (besides, you know, getting married, but whatever) is getting stuff in the mail. It’s seriously a million times better than shopping in person. I don’t get nearly enough mail, so this whole online ordering thing is really buttering my bread.

Well, we got a very awesome piece of mail just the other day – and that would be our guestbook!

I went near and far with our guestbook ideas. For the longest time, I planned on doing well-wishes cards that guests would fill out and drop in a box/bucket/hat/birdcage. Then, of course, there are the incredible clothesline guestbooks that Miss Parasol is drooling over. Not to mention Mrs. Elephant’s postcard guestbook…

Image via Weddingbee/Mrs. Elephant

… Mrs. Lovebug’s amazing typewriter guestbook…

Image via Weddingbee/Mrs. Lovebug

… and any number of insanely creative, memorable, beautiful ideas for inviting your guests to make a mark on your wedding day.

But at this point in the game, I’m feeling less creative, memorable, and beautiful and more just insane. So I browsed around Etsy for a guestbook option that we could tailor to our wedding. I found a few sellers with beautiful work, but I was less encouraged by their reviews. And then YeLLoLiLY popped onto my radar. Not only did she have some wonderful work – as well as a large portion of offerings with the Duiponi silk cover that I had grown quite fond of – but she could do custom pieces, too. Score!

So I ordered this design in our colors, with some minor modifications.

Image via Etsy seller YeLLoLiLY

And on Monday afternoon, Mr. LF emailed me, “I think our guestbook came!”

Now, please forgive the less-than-well-lit photos, as I was a tad too excited to wait until daylight to start snapping away. But here I present our guestbook – promptly received within two weeks of ordering, and very well-put-together!

Personal photos unless otherwise indicated

I’m still undecided on whether to affix the included front placard, as shown in the second-to-last photo above – I love the unbroken look of the plain cover as is. Both placards do have the wedding date on it but I’ve edited it here to protect the innocent. But hive, I am in love!

Did you end up going lo-fi on your guestbook? Did you even have one? If you’re doing something crazy and awesome, let me know!

In Which I Find the Best Wedding Gift Ever for the Mister, Then Promptly Divulge It Three Months Early

I was at a total loss as to what I’d get Mr. Ladyfingers for our wedding. Typically, I’d get him a T-shirt, a baseball hat, or a Springsteen poster. none of those seemed quite appropriate for the magnitude of the event. It was while reading Miss Sweetcream’s post on her cufflink find that it hit me. Of course! He doesn’t often dress up to where he needs cufflinks, but he’d definitely need them on the day of. I promptly hustled over to heaven Etsy. I loved the typewriter cufflinks, especially since LF is a reporter.

But then, I found these.

Image via Etsy seller qacreate

Haha – just kidding! But they’re close – this seller makes all manner of steampunk, sports-themed, and map-using cufflinks. So I placed my order, and while LF was out of town for his bachelor weekend, they came!

Now, we’re at 3+ months before the wedding. What I was thinking, ordering him a gift 3+ months before I could give it to him, I do not know. I can barely wait a week before ruining a surprise. I begged and pleaded for him to open his Christmas presents early. I knew there was no way I could leave this to a wedding-day reveal. Plus, I started irrationally justifying, what if his dad gets him cufflinks? Why would his dad get him cufflinks? I don’t know, but I needed to edge this option out and SOON.

So when he got home that Sunday, I handed him a plastic bag (because I’m classy) containing a ballcap from a trip I had recently taken for work, and the little box with the cufflinks in them. He looked at me cockeyed. “Don’t you want to wait to give this to me?” “NO OPEN THEM NOW” I sweetly replied.

And here they are!

Yep – Yankee Stadium cufflinks! One has the map marker Bronx on them, the other the actual map marker for Yankee Stadium. He loved them! And the seller was so awesome – I mean, they shipped THE DAY I ORDERED THEM, and they’re super nice quality!

I can’t wait for the mister to don these on our wedding day. But now… do I need to find him another gift for the day of?

Did you surprise your groom with a gift? What did you choose? Are you as bad at keeping surprises as I am?

He Has Our Cake and Eats His, Too

I always wanted to surprise Mr. LF with a groom’s cake, but it stayed in the back of my mind for some time while I tried to sort out the logistics. The only wedding I’d been to with a groom’s cake was at my cousin’s reception in Atlanta a few years back, but I thought perhaps there would be too much cake to do it the night of, what with our 6″ presentation cake and 84 cupcakes taking center stage.

Yes. I just said “too much cake.” Check my temperature, ’cause I must be coming down with something.

The groom’s cake is most well-known as a Southern tradition, though its origins may date back as far as early Rome. Word has it that in the Victorian era and, later, the 19th century South, bridesmaids would wrap the pieces of the groom’s cake and hand them out to unmarried female guests, who would then sleep with the slice under their pillow to help them dream about their future husband. And in 19th century England, the groom’s cake was made of heavy fruit soaked in liquor, being that it was before the invention of the modern icebox. This way, the bride and groom could enjoy a slice of the groom’s confection on their first anniversary without having to eat buttercream frosting that tasted like it had been sitting in a poorly ventilated British basement for 50 years*.

We’re not Southern (or Victorian, or living in 19th century England), but I still love the idea of gifting LF his own dessert. Plus, it gives me an excuse to have some fun with cake concepts and do something a little different that will surprise him and guests. Surprise desserts = always a good thing.

Image via Creative Bride

Image via The Sugar Suite

Image via Jessica Otwell Photography/Cake by Angels Cakes and Confections

After we booked our baker, I stuck “call her about a groom’s cake” on my to-do list – and kinda forgot about it until LF booked the rehearsal dinner location and told me that they asked if we’d be bringing in a groom’s cake.

Of course! It makes so much more sense to do it at the rehearsal dinner. For one, that’s more traditionally the groom and his family’s turf, since the groom’s family tends to host, present toasts at, and foot the cost of that event (and, in our case, they actually are, kindly enough!). But more importantly, since there was no other dessert plan in place for the rehearsal dinner, it seemed like the perfect time to surprise LF with something that’s his, and allow us all to preview a bit of the tasty sweet goodness to come the following evening.

So I contacted Lyndsy at Pastries by Design and explained my plan.

“He’s a huge Yankees fan, so I was thinking something having to do with that?”

“Yeah!” she started, immediately brainstorming (why I love her, reason 528). “We could do a baseball… or we could do like a 3D Yankees logo, the N and the Y?”

“The logo sounds good!” I said.

And then the money shot.

“Oh!: she said. “We could also do a little caricature of him hugging the logo. Do you have a picture of him you can send me?”

Oh, Lyndsy, it is so ON! I’ve seen their artsier work, and I’m super excited and confident they can make this pretty awesome. And it’ll be nice to have something  a bit more dressed up (though humorously so) since our cupcakes at the reception will have a basic rough finish with not much adornment or decoration, aside from a few flowers here and there.

Images via Pastries by Design. Also, now I want nachos.

Did you embrace the idea of a groom’s cake, or did he have to eat the same drek as everybody else? If you did/are doing one, what concept are you going with? Do you like nachos as much as I do?

*Name that scene.

Aggravation Station — or, How I’ve Moved Into a Whole New Phase of Nightmare Fodder

So we’re almost at 100 days – a huge landmark, no? – and solidly planted in the midst of what I like to call Invitation Aggravation.

Like this, only less fun, and more competitive/Image via VintageToys.com

I’m not even clear why I’ve started having legit invitation. They’re not overly complicated. We didn’t design them ourselves or print them out ourselves. I did some things to adorn them and make them look more handcrafted and “special”, but nothing really out there. This should be simple as pie – wrap ‘em up, stuff ‘em in, seal ‘em up, send ‘em up.

Yet I’m in total paralyzed panic mode.

Maybe it’s because we’re sending our first batch out in approximately 3 weeks, and I haven’t addressed one envelope. I’m doing this by hand, mind you. I even bought some fancy calligraphy pens and practiced my big-girl handwriting. But I did that, like, three months ago. And frankly I’m worried that I’ll have lost my touch on the style of “M” I settled on (there are lots of M’s on these suckers if you’re going for traditional addressing style, which we are). Yet I can’t motivate myself. It seems like I have so little time, and when I get home at 8 or 9 I just want to lay on the couch and hope for an early bedtime. Boo, laziness.

Maybe it’s because I ran into a snag with our belly band idea, in which the ribbon belly band stays just fine around the invite without slipping down, but is too loose to really contain the RSVP card, so when you pick the packet up by the invite rather than the belly band, the RSVP card falls right out. Not the end of the world, and LF tells me it’s no big thang, but for Miss Perfectionist Pants, THIS JUST WILL NOT DO.

Image via some e cards

Or maybe it’s because it’s the first real Big Thing I Can Mess Up. Until now, it’s been all shopping and dreaming. We’ve written some checks. I’ve had a couple of successful DIYs. But the invitations? I mean, I can do some serious damage here.

My nightmares are, in this order:

  1. Forgetting to put postage on the RSVP card. This is pretty self-explanatory. I’m scared that in the burgeoning onslaught of Things to Do, I’ll find victory with the belly band and stuff everything in there and write prettily and seal them and… ACK! Either I’ll realize at that moment what I’ve done, or send them off that way. Super lame.
  2. Not putting enough postage on the envelopes. I absolutely plan to bring a copy of the invite all wrapped and packed to the post office and have them weigh it in front of me and tell me how many stamps we need. But then I’m all, “But what if that clerk gives me one number, and then the clerk who processes them comes up with a different one – I’VE HEARD IT HAPPEN – and they don’t send our invites?” I heard of one couple who accidentally shortchanged their envelope by a couple cents, and the post office delivered them, but asked each recipient to pony up the remainder before handing it over. They made light of it by putting a stamp in that denomination at each place setting at the reception, but still – OMGsters.
  3. The RSVP postcards will be destroyed in the mail. There will be a thunderstorm flood situation, or a misanthropic mailman, or a dog attack, and the RSVP postcards will be rendered useless. All of them, from 50 different homes. At once. This is an unrealistic worry at best, but still. I collect worries like I collect nail polish.

The advice I’ve gotten: Mail one to yourself, and relax. I like this advice. Still, I’m not quite sure what this “relax” is that you speak of. Is it a new type of ice cream sundae? Because I’ll take two.

Were the invitations as nerve wracking an experience for you as they are for us right now? Is most of my panic simply due to the fact that I won’t get off my bum and just do this thing? Do you have any awesome advice for getting through this period of the planning process unscathed… well, with those around you unscathed, at least?

 

Nagging Doubts and Fears

So, I’m terrified I’ll be a bad wife.

I’m not normally in the habit of writing “I’m so worried” posts, though I have done a few, notably about my edginess in months past and my concerns that our family members won’t “get” our wedding. By and large, though, I’d rather write fun stuff that offers some experience or inspiration for fellow brides. But I also always appreciate a good emotional post that I can relate to, so here’s hoping others have felt this way, as well.

I haven’t exactly had a lot of experience in healthy relationships. I’d say there was exactly one of those in the 12 years I’ve been dating (I don’t count high school nonsense as dating years for myself personally), and even then, I was a completely selfish and sick person for the whole two-and-a-half years we were together. I was raised with great role models – my parents were together for over 30 years before my mom died in 2006 – but I couldn’t seem to find the magic formula for myself.

My time with Mr. Ladyfingers has been a streak-breaker ina lot of different ways. For one, I wasn’t planning our wedding and our kids’ names before the first date, as was typically my pattern. In fact, I hesitated to like him too much in those first few months just because I’d made so many bad decisions in the past. I guess I was sick of falling too fast for the wrong guy – but I also think my emotional shift was what made us work the way we did, when we did.

Mr. LF is the first guy I’ve ever considered marrying. He’s the first guy I even considered moving in with. He’s the first guy I wanted to own a dog with, and to buy big electronics with. In my past, I would have though, “We can’t split the TV – who would take it when we break up?” Now, that thought doesn’t even occur. I’ve never had the level of comfort with him I have with anyone else, but we have so much more than that, too.

But still, I spend plenty of time worrying that I won’t be good at this. I’m not the best at support – when Mr. LF is in a bad mood or in the dumps, I try really hard to pull him out, and then when I fail (because sometimes, you just need to spend a little time in the dumps!), I turn angry and petulant. In a fitting twist, I also turn angry and petulant when he fails to pull me out of my bad moods. What a tangled web I weave!

And then I think, “I focus too much on the things I do wrong.” I have not one iota of doubt that he’s the one for me, or about his abilities as a husband. It’s always my own tendencies that make me fret. But how about some things I actually do right in the relationship – or, more well put, the progress I’ve made? Last year was fairly tumultuous. I suffered from increasingly bad anxiety peppered with rage and a healthy dose of self-defeatist depressive thoughts. It really took a toll on our relationship, especially when I refused to consider psychiatric meds because of my weird history with them in the past. Once I finally let go of all that and sought out a great doctor who guided me down a path that was right for me, and since then I’ve evened out tremendously. Now, we laugh because when we do have a fight or a disagreement, I don’t storm out of the house. Hah, progress!

I have similar doubts about the kind of mother I’ll be. But I have very close friends who tell me they felt the same way I did, that the things I do and say and feel are as normal as they come, and that at least makes me not feel so alone. Deep down, I know I’ll be the best wife that I can be, and that nothing I could do will knock me off the path that’s intended for me, no matter how hard I try.

Sorry for the temporary buzz kill, ladies, but am I the only one who’s felt this way? And if not, how have you dealt with these strange and complex feelings of inadequacy and doubt?

Oh, and just in case this was too heavy for ya, here’s a dose of cute to send you away:

Personal photo of Puppy Ladyfingers, in a rare case of not being camera shy – how could I be worried with this in our lives?

Put Another Ring on It

I had a lot of ideas about what type of wedding band I wanted, but no clear direction and definitely no “hands-on” experience (haha…). Mr. Ladyfingers seemed more planted in the “white gold and simple” camp. So one weekend in June we headed out to the mall to “just look” at rings.

We first headed to a chain that starts with “Z,” and looked at a few rings there. I had settled on wanting something channel set, half eternity, with princess cut or otherwise square diamonds. All the rings the rep there showed me featured round diamonds, and many weren’t channel set. When I asked for a princess or similar cut, she said that would be a bit harder to find. She didn’t come up with much, but we wrote down a couple of product numbers and headed onto our next destination.

A chain that starts with “K” was right across the way. (That unintentionally rhymed.) Incidentally, if you’re open to just looking at as many rings as possible and not really married (heh) to a custom ring or something like that, definitely check out the mall. You’re guaranteed like three to five jewelery stores all under one roof, and if nothing else, can show you a bit about what looks good on you, what you like in person, what you don’t, and what direction you might want to head in.

At “K,” Mr. Ladyfingers immediately found his ring – a white gold 6 mm number with a brushed center and polished edges.

And I found mine! So much for “just looking.”

It’s taken this long for my ring to come in because they only stocked white gold – I wanted yellow gold to better complement my skin tone, and while I’ll just wear the band for everyday purposes, for special occasions I wanted to be able to pair the engagement ring, and I’m not the biggest fan of a two-tone look for me.

We brought Mr. Ladyfinger’s ring home with us that day and also purchased the white gold version of my band so we could secure the sale price. And just last week, the jewelry store called Mr. LF while I was out of town, and notified him that my yellow gold band was ready! He did the exchange, and when I came back home (he had since gone out of town himself for his bachelor weekend), there was my ring sitting in our “hiding place,” next to his.

I opened the two boxes side by side, and here you have it:

We decided to go with white gold for the Mister, because other metals would be more difficult if not impossible to resize. He’s done so well and lost so much weight working out and eating better, and has a goal to drop more, so he didn’t want to make things difficult in the ring department. There are warranties available that will allow you to just swap out for a new ring should you drop or go up a size… but then you’d be giving up your original ring! And he didn’t want that.

Now, about mine.

(Sorry about the big scary hand)

Just what I wanted! Channel set, princess cut, and just the right amount of carats to sparkle like a fiend but not look too blingy when placed under my engagement ring. I tried a carat weight up, but it was just too much diamond for me.

The wideness of the engagement ring band does make my finger look a little… um, swollen? When something else is placed beneath it. But this being a special occasion-only combo and all, I think I’ll be able to live with it.

I love how the ring looks beautiful and simple but sparkly on its own, and also pairs well with the e-ring.

Now I just have to be told over and over to NOT parade around the house wearing it and introducing myself as Mrs….. well, you get the picture.

Did you have trouble narrowing down your ring preferences? And did all that melt away when you finally saw THE RING?

A Shoe-In

So I had ordered my shoes – and a side note, it was pretty aggravating getting the response I did about buying flats for my wedding. The shoe sales guy at Dillard’s actually told me that Mr. Ladyfingers should wear lifts in his shoes if we were concerned that he would be shorter than me in heels. Normally I’d leave without buying anything… but I loved the shoes too much. They only had black in my size, so I ordered the silver and waited. Just over a week later, this was on my doorstep. (Well, in a box in brown paper on my doorstep):

Here’s what a big fat snob I am: When I would tell people I’d gotten my shoes and went to describe them, I’d start with, “Well, they’re Jessica Simpson shoes, but they’re REALLY CUTE!” True story.

But I knew as soon as I saw them that they were The Ones.

True to form, I fretted about whether I’d made the right decision, revisiting the web page where they were posted, pondering, sizing things up, imagining them as somehow different than I’d remembered them in the store. Being the wrong size (too big) it was tough to gauge whether they’d make my feet look clownish or something. But then I pulled off all the wrappings, and no – I’d made the right decision.

Flat but not boring, embellished, silver, shiny, gray ribbon – what more could I possibly ask for? Not much. I slipped them on and immediately wanted to wear them out to dinner with a pair of jeans.

But alas, they must be hidden away from sight until the wedding day. At least I know I’ll wear them again!

Have you chosen your shoes yet? Did you have second thoughts?

Window Shopping: The Registry

I keep meaning to make a quick visit to Crate and Barrel, where we’ve set up the bulk of our registry, just to feel our chosen silverware in my hands. Aside from that, however, we’ve bucked common wisdom and done all of our registry online, both at C&B and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Like many, we’d love money. Heh. But while I was going through the pages of each website, I did see many a thing we can use, mostly in the kitchen area. For one, we do not own a Kitchenaid Mixer (oh for shame!!!) or a proper food processor (shame, shame). We could use a few more serving pieces, but we absolutely do not need any china – I inherited my grandmother’s semi-formal china that we use every day, and her formal-formal china for special occasions. Not to mention, we’re not inviting nearly enough guests to hope for more than a soup turren and a couple of saucers in our pattern.

The registry was super fun to set up – it’s like window shopping! That we don’t have to pay for! – so I thought I’d take a few minutes to introduce you to our Top 10 Favorite God-I-Hope-We-Get-It Registry Items.

1. Hamptons Serving Bowls (yellow, below, and green)

Image via Crate & Barrel

We don’t have many big, adult serving bowls – just a few plastic ones from Target. I love the shape of this, and funny enough, I requested them in this color above and an avocado green, while our plastic versions are indeed yellow and green. This will be a much more classy way to bring mashed potatoes, pasta salad, and the like to our table.

2. Biggs Glasses (Highball and Double Old-Fashioned)

Image via Crate & Barrel

Our cups and glasses are fine – we can drink out of them, they’re not chipped or broken, etc. etc. But they’re not the nicest. Again, four heavy plastic cups from Target, one New York Yankees Tervis tumbler, several small IKEA glasses, and a few 1960s-era state souvenir glasses I’ve begun collecting from thrift stores and garage sales. An eclectic collection, yes, but these are better for company, and just more “married couple” and less “single college graduate” in general.

3. 20-piece Charlotte Flatware Set

Image via Crate & Barrel

Actual exchange:

Mr. LF: Why do we have all this stuff on our registry? Don’t we just want money?

Me: Yeah, but it would be nice to have some real towels, real glasses, real silverware…

Mr. LF: Oh, yeah, our silverware sucks.

Me: See??

Mr. LF: We have like, three real spoons. One is all bendy, and the rest are huge. We just have three nice-sized small ones.

Me:  There’s only one small one in the drawer…

Mr. LF: Yeah. I think the other two are in my car somewhere.

I rest my case on the silverware front.

4. Ona Pitcher

Image via Crate & Barrel

Aren’t these fantastic? They’re sculptural, vaguely mid-century. I want to serve raspberry lemonade out of these. I want to put them on my shelves for show. I love the Ona Pitchers.

5. OXO Stainless Steel Mandoline

Image via Crate & Barrel

There are two types of people: those who love kitchen gadgets, and those who shun them, believing all you really need is one bowl, one wooden spoon, one knife, one pot, and one pan. I’m clearly not the latter. My mom had so many kitchen gadgets the drawers were bursting. I take a slightly more practical approach, desiring only the ones I’d use. I like this for onion and tomato slices, apples, crinkle cut potatoes… classic.

6. KitchenAid Artisan Black Stand Mixer

Image via Crate & Barrel

I don’t know how I’ve lived without you for so long. My little hand mixer has been passable, but left me with weak arms and plenty of frustration. Christmas cookies would have been so much easier with you. Bread would be so much easier with you. I’d make so many more of those red velvet cupcakes with you. Please, come to me.

7. Cuisinart 9-cup Food Processor

Image via Crate & Barrel

Have you ever tried making pesto in a blender? Point made.

8. Cuisinart Classic Toaster

Image via Crate & Barrel

We’re not being fancy here: Yes, we have no toaster. No toast, no toaster waffles, no toaster strudels, no toasted bagels. No toaster.

9. Butter Dish

Image via Crate & Barrel

Classic, simple, white. We have no butter dish. True. Our butter sits awkwardly on a saucer that’s too big for the butter shelf. It collects fridge smells and looks sad. You should have gifts for all price points on your regstry – big honking items down to little $3 and $4 gadgets. This fits our $10 price point nicely (also, make sure to regularly visit your registry and add more low-priced items as needed to keep it suitable for all pocketbooks).

10. 3-Piece Spring Potluck Baker Set

Image via Crate & Barrel

These are fun, flexible, portable, and wonderful. I love everything about these. I can imagine breezing into a friend’s potluck carrying this robin’s egg blue dish filled with lasagna, or perhaps a cherry cobbler.

Some more registry tips:

  • Register enough items for 2-3 times the number of guests you’re inviting. This may seem excessive, but you’re not sitting there assuming you’ll get everything. You’re giving your guests a choice. If you invite 50 people and have 50 items on your registry, 80% of which they can’t afford, you leave people in a bit of a bind. Give them more options rather than not enough.
  • Revisit your registry frequently, not only to add variously priced items, but to make sure nothing has fallen out of stock or is no longer available online. I do all my registry shopping for friends’ weddings online, simply because it’s more convenient. For us, there’s been about a 6 month gap between when we registered and when my shower will be held. There’s bound to be discontinued items, so comb regularly for those.
  • Be OK with not receiving even one thing off your registry. Do not include where you’re registered on or in with your invitations. Ignore this tip if cultural or social differences exist within your circle – some families expect to be notified formally of where the registry exists. Feel it out – but as a rule, no, don’t put that in with the invite. People will ask you, or your parents, or your bridal party, and word of mouth will carry that information.
  • You may not want a registry. You may be 100% adamant that you don’t want to be a gift pig. You may think, we have everything we need. You may think, we just want cash, so we won’t have a registry. But seriously, people want to look at your registry and buy you things from there. By and large, people are at a loss for what to get. Some people just DON’T want to give cash. Don’t make your aunt wrack her brain trying to figure out what you want. Make it easy on them, and just do the registry. Really.

How was your registry experience? Did you visit in person, online only, or both? What were your favorite items – and if you’ve already begun receiving gifts, what have been your favorite ones to receive?

Dress You Up In My Love, Pt. 2: THE DRESS.

So last we chatted about The Dress, I had shown you my inspiration and told you my criteria. I also mentioned that my dress only fit some of that criteria.

It was a rainy Sunday two weeks after we were engaged. I honestly would have started looking sooner, but I needed to get my ring resized and felt sorta funny walking into bridal salons without a ring – I know, I know! You don’t need a ring to be engaged. But we’re just talking about my neuroses here. Yeah, I’m just a little neurotic. A tad 🙂

I met BM Esquire at the local Alfred Angelo. This was a fact-finding mission – I needed to see what I looked good in. I intended on merely starting my hunt here. I had no intention whatsoever of placing my order that day. Fate had different plans.

My consultant seemed fairly new, but she was nice enough. I envisioned telling her what I wanted, her sizing me up, and having 5 perfect dresses delivered to my dressing room, all based on my preferences and body type. Well, I don’t know if that’s a common experience, but it sure wasn’t mine. I looked through a catalog and flagged a few styles I liked. I outlined my criteria, but focused more on the “no bling” rule.

I gave her my budget – under $500 – and she pointed me to the racks that would fit that bill. I tried to stay focused and not be distracted by the gorgeous lace creations on the mannequins, all of which were far above my budget.

Esq and I grabbed three dresses, and the consultant added another. Here’s the first dress I tried on – no corset, straps, white, no bling:

Image via Alfred Angelo

It was nice. I got a little emotional simply because I’d never seen myself in a wedding dress. But something about it wasn’t right. The straps seemed annoying. It didn’t flatter my shape quite the way I wanted to. It was OK, but I knew it wasn’t *it*.

Then I tried this one – the one my consultant had grabbed.

Image via Alfred Angelo

It was an off-white, had a corset, and was strapless. Still, no bling. It took her a good 5 minutes to truss me up in the corset. I walked out and saw myself, and I started crying. This was the dress! This was it. I couldn’t get over how flattering it was. The corset sucked me in in all the right places, and it didn’t look trashy at all (I’m not trying to be judgmental about corset dresses, but I think I’ve seen them in less-than-classy scenarios, so my judgment was clouded). The strapless scene wasn’t that bad, though I do want to explore the addition of cap sleeves. The “diamond white” complemented my skin tone very well.

They added a veil, which really upped the emotion factor – WHOA I LOOK LIKE A FRIGGIN’ BRIDGE – but a veil isn’t “me.” So she grabbed a hair piece – a white flower, some feathers, a few tasteful rhinstones – and held it up to my head. That sealed the deal. This was totally the dress.

I didn’t want to jump to conclusions, so I finished up the two dresses that were left. I don’t even remember what they were, so I have no pictures. For the first of those two, I said, “It’s nice, but it’s not that last dress.” For the final one, I just said, “Meh.”

The best part was the dress was on sale, so it was a whole $20 under budget – hey! We take what we can get.

I asked Esq if I was nuts for buying the second dress I ever tried on. She reassuringly said, ABSOLUTELY NOT. I paid half for it that day, and just four weeks later, it had arrived! I carted MOH Ginger and BM Spotlight with me, and they both cried a little too.

We took one whole picture of me in the dress – a crappy camera phone photo that I almost immediately deleted lest Mr. Ladyfingers stumble upon it and ruin the surprise. I promise to add more photos once I begin my fittings and start chronicling that journey. But I’m so excited to wear that dress when I marry the love of my life.

How was your dress journey? Were you this decisive? Or did you visit place after place and exhaust yourself in the quest for the perfect dress? Was it worth it?

Great Expectations

First let me preface this post by saying that nobody has yet made us feel the way I’m about to describe. Nobody has said one thing about the way we’re planning our wedding or the choices we have made. I know that not everybody can say this, and for that, we are grateful.

But.

From time to time, we wonder whether our parents, our family, will raise an eyebrow at the type of wedding we’re having. We were both raised in very large Italian families — his in New York, mine in Chicago. When somebody got married, it was in a very large Catholic church, then a banquet hall – usually the same one every time — that held roughly 300 people. Cousins of cousins of cousins were invited. Everybody had a +1. Kids abounded. Sometimes, as a 12-year-old, you could even get a misanthropic bartender to slip you a real daiquiri instead of the virgin version you ordered. The favors were always the same. It wasn’t even a question: 6 Jordan almonds in a little net bag, tied with a ribbon. There were junior bridesmaids and multiple flower girls. There was always a ring bearer.

You get the point. Maybe this is your story, too. Neither of us had been to an outdoor wedding until we were well into our 20s. And quite frankly, I’ve never seen 99% of the “trendy” stuff on blogs like these, at any wedding I’ve ever been to. Bunting, cupcakes, mad libs, photobooths — much to my chagrin, I haven’t experienced one of them.

So sometimes, we worry. We worry that our families will silently endure the buffet, the outdoor dancing on the deck, the lack of unity candles and readings, the absence of a limo. We worry that they’ll wonder to themselves why children aren’t invited, why +1s aren’t handed out like candy.

Nobody has said a thing, but because the weddings we attended growing up are so drastically different from what we want for ourselves (and isn’t that the point? that we can now choose what we want for ourselves rather than falling prey to the whims of those footing the bill), we worry that it will leave our families cold.

None of this should matter, of course. We could have monkeys and trapeze artists and a caricaturist and one of those machines where you put a penny in and it turns it into a keepsake souvenir imprinted with the outline of Missouri — we’d still end the day married. Us, married to one another, the only two people who could probably tolerate one another for forever 🙂

But still.

Have you wrung your hands over the expectations of others — either real or made up inside your head? How did you overcome this burden?