Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Friday! Halloween!

I stink at Halloween.  I have no idea what I'm going to wear this weekend and I have two occasions to dress up!  Eep!  

If I had a mask lying around I could do this.  It's cute, and most important, it looks warm and cozy!

So what are you going to be for Halloween?  Do you have any last minute ideas for this procrastinator?

And the First Save the Date Goes to...

Drumroll please...

Image via Peadoodles
Mr. Marmalade!

I couldn't send our save the dates out into the world until he laid eyes upon them.  So it's a little unorthodox, I know.  My mom thought I was nuts "what do you mean 'you're sending one to him too!?'"  Well, he hasn't seen what I came up with!  And I want him to feel like he's still part of this whole planning-thing.  Trust me, I'm sure he's saving the date.  

I'm just so excited and I can't wait to hear what he thinks!  Hopefully he likes it, because there's no going back now.  Sorry, there aren't any pictures of his envelope--I would have had to blur out pretty much everything because I'm sending it to his APO.  I'll reveal them to you very very soon.  Promise! 

Just wanted to share this little bit of excitement.   Who's with me?  
Any other brides in a LDR have to go to odd lengths to keep your partner in the loop?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I (Heart) Sleeves

I do.  And until I started thinking about most things in terms of "wedding" that thought never crossed my mind.  But I have a clear preference for wedding gowns with sleeves.  I pushed for a dress with a sleeve,any sleeve (I only tried on strapless dresses that we could add cap sleeves to) as did my Yiayia, what does that mean?  Great minds think alike?

Well, The Gloss put together a slide show of some of their favorite gowns (and brides in gowns) with sleeves.  Here are some of my favorites.  

Of course!  Ms. Hepburn herself, sigh...

Princess Grace, her bridal ensemble is now iconic.  She is the quintessential bride right here.  And I just learned that she, too, carried Lilies of the Valley down the aisle.  How cool is that?

And now for something a bit more modern:

This beauty from Jenny Packham's Spring 2011 line features a romantic cap sleeve.

This dress from Dolce & Gabana's Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wear collection is not technically a wedding dress.  But the delicate lace and flower appliques would be perfect for a short dress bride, don't you think?

I don't know about you but I'm looking forward to seeing more dresses with sleeves coming off the runway.  Are there any styles of dresses that you love?  

(source for all images)

A Modern Twist on Traditional Decor

Have you seen this wedding from the newest issue of Martha Stewart Weddings?

I originally came across this wedding via Flowerwild Design's site.  And I am officially obsessed with the decor.  

My current wedding inspiration is from a shoot that featured work by Flowerwild Events.  And this pushes the envelope just a little step further.  Guess I am officially a fan of their work, just look at these gorgeous florals!

I was having trouble deciding between gold or black urns--but not anymore!  Brass it is!

This centerpiece is just perfect, it's a little sweet and a little bold. Love the combination! 

I'd love to design something similar to this menu card, I like how the modern type pops.  

And this picture? Just wanted to share it.  Wishing I could splurge for calligraphy right now...

Here's a better look at the tablescape.

I was getting worried that the color palette I'm leaning towards isn't really "Summer appropriate" and I was having trouble convincing myself that I could pull off something that was a traditional and a little modern.  Well, I was wrong. But it took the professionals to show me that it's all about the execution.  I'm so, so happy I found this!

Have you found any inspiration that helped you improve your original design?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Inspiration - Bridesmaids

Still thinking about what to ask my ladies to wear.  

Isn't this lovely?  

Now if I could only settle on a color palette. 

The Dress Hunt: I Finally Say "Yes" to My Dress!

(This post is a little long, but the payoff is huge.  Swear. Ok maybe not "huge" but it didn't make much sense to drag this out any longer.)

After visiting four bridal shops, it was finally time for my appointment at Kleinfeld, or as many or my friends called it "the 'Say Yes to the Dress' place."

Kleinfeld was my ace in the hole.  I knew a visit there was my best shot at finding my wedding dress.  Both Cuz and my older sister bought their dresses from Kleinfeld, and they both insisted I stop wasting my time and just go.  Truth be told, I had a feeling they were right.  But I secretly wanted to come in under budget for my wedding dress, and I knew that I wouldn't be able to do that there (not that they didn't have dresses that were under budget, because they did.  I just knew that I would be drawn to the dresses that were more expensive.  That's just my luck).  So, I made it the last stop on my dress hunt.  

I figured, if by some miracle I didn't find my dress there I could regroup.  The next trip would have included RK Bridal, the Bridal Garden, and Pronovias.  But lucky for me, this visit was a success!

Kleinfeld recommends that you visit their site before your appointment to select and print out your top five dresses.  So armed with pictures of my favorite lovelies, I headed to the salon with my mom and Yiayia (grandma).  Bridesmaid KuBee met us at there and almost had a heart attack when she saw Randy, the fashion director--she's a big fan of the show.  My consultant Diane was amazing, she really understood the look I was going for (I think my exact words were 'sophisticated and effortlessly elegant') and patiently let me try on dresses that did not come close to that look, just because I needed to rule them out. 

Here was my top 5 (all images from the Kleinfeld site, unless noted):

  (1. Alvina Valenta)

(2. Jim Hjelm)

(3. Romona Keveza)

(4. Monique Lhuillier)

(5. Reem Acra)

Dreamy, no?  I'm not sure why the Jim Hjelm is cut off like that. Maybe it's just so pretty that a full picture isn't necessary?  


I saw that there was a Romona Keveza/Legends by Romona Keveza trunk show taking place that day, so I went to the site and printed out a couple from the Legends line as well:

(6. Legends by Romona Keveza)

(7.Legends by Romona Keveza,source)

I printed out a tiny picture of a Legends dress I spotted in a dress preview on The Knot, but of course I forgot it at home.  The strapless Legends dress (#6) was as close as I could get to it. 

I tried on almost all of these dresses, except for the Monique Lhuillier dress--I thought it was part of the Bliss line, but it wasn't and I refused to try on anything that was over budget.  So Diane found me something similar from the Bliss line.  

(8. Bliss, Monique Lhuillier, source)

And then she shocked me with the dress that was almost the one (at least for my mom), Maldives.  That Diane, I tell ya, she's a pro--she pulled it all on her own!  

(9. Reverie by Melissa Sweet, source)

And my mom hated it!  She actually said "I'm so glad you didn't listen to us, this is not so nice now."  Phew ma, I'm so glad I didn't listen to you too!

After I tried everything on, it was clear that there were three favorites.  The strapless mermaid style dress from the Bliss line, the strapless Legends by Romona Keveza gown, and (sigh) the one I chose.  I'm sorry, I'm a horrible,  horrible blogger, but I can't show you my dress!  It's too risky, and I'm too paranoid.  But I will tell you that the tiny picture I left at home?  That was it. And Diane pulled that for me without asking too!

And I CAN say that AAAGH I love it!  It is from the new Legends by Romona Keveza line and it is absolutely not what I thought I wanted in a dress.  But man, that Romonza Keveza knows how to nail a silhouette! When I walked out into the main salon, I got butterflies.  Mainly because I could feel all eyes on me, and because I felt great in it too!  Suddenly, I was in front of the mirror with a veil on my head and I could picture the Bear standing up at the altar.  That's when my face turned beet red.  Then I realized that people were watching me have this moment, and I teared up out of embarrassment.

As all of this was happening, another bride saw me and asked to try on the sample I was wearing.  As luck would have it, they had two samples (is that normal?)!  I saw her reflection in the mirror, and I said to Diane "you know, the dress that girl is wearing is gorgeous!"  She laughed and told me it was the same dress--I must have sounded crazy.  In that moment, I knew that I was being way too critical of myself and I needed to let my insecurities go.  We were in the exact same dress--I couldn't have looked too different!  I looked back and saw my Yiayia's face, she was beaming. So were my mom and KuBee. And just then, Diane came up to me and our exchange went something like this:

Diane: "You're not gonna make me say it, are you?  I can get the camera crew here..."
Me: "Please no." (My face was starting to turn red again)
D: "Is this your dress?"
Me: (Nodding) "Mmhmm."
D: "You gotta say it!  Is this your dress?"
Me: (Mumbling) "Um. Yeah."
D: "You have to say yes!"
Me: "Um. Ok yes. Let's go back to the room!"

And that's how I said yes to MY dress!  The best part is that I was able to get a discount on it because of the trunk show!  Score!  So I didn't end up going way over budget.  And because my dress is so new, there aren't any pictures of it online (I stand corrected, the new runway pics are now up on their site, and phew, I still love it), my dress won't come in until May, and I didn't take any pictures of myself in it.  So that's one less thing to be indecisive about.  Woohoo!

Did anyone else have a hard time finding a dress?  Anyone else have to just "bite the bullet?"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mix Tape #6 - Motown!

I just had my first meeting with a potential DJ, and I'm starting to get excited!  I won't get into the conversation, but I will say that we were on the same page where music is concerned.  One thing he was down with was my love of Motown!  Seriously, ask the Bear how many times I've trapped him in my car forcing him to listen to my karaoke versions of my favorite Motown songs--too many times to count (now that's love!).  

It wouldn't be our wedding without a little Motown, that's for sure.  So here's a little taste of what's in store at our reception.  

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Keeping the list to ten songs was not easy!  Pretty sure we could devote most of the reception to Motown alone and still have a blast.  But I think we're going to keep it to the dinner portion of the evening.  

What about you?  What are some of your must-play songs or genres?


When I think of my wedding day ensemble, there is one thing I am completely sure about.  

My bouquet.  

I want a posy of Lilies of the Valley to carry down the aisle.   

In the Victorian era they were a symbol of humility, sweetness,happiness, and purity of the heart.  For generations, brides have carried these tiny bell shaped flowers on their wedding day.  How could I resist?

They also have personal significance to me. I've always been fascinated by them, and I remember walking down the street with my mom and grandparents back in Queens when I was very young.  I'd drag them from yard to yard, as I tried to sniff every single stem that came across my path.  

And last May, on the day I learned of my grandfather's death, the Bear and I took a walk through the Union Square Farmers Market before I went home to pack my bags.  And as we walked by the stalls, I caught the unmistakable scent that I'd loved so much as a child.  Before I knew what was happening, we'd walked up to the stall that was selling Lilies of the Valley (and only Lilies of the Valley), and Bear bought me a bouquet.  I clutched them like my life depended on it, while Bear took me home so I could prepare for my trip to say goodbye to my Papou.  Looking back on it now, it was so much more than coincidence, for me.  

Bear just happened to be visiting me at home, we just happened to be in Manhattan, and we unintentionally walked into the Green Market to find a vendor selling only Lillies of the Valley. 

These little beauties are a must have on my wedding day.  I'm hoping my florist will be able to get them for me, since they are tough to find in July.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  

Does anyone else have a flower obsession like mine?


Monday, October 25, 2010

Long Distance "I Love You"s

I came across this sweet idea on

Here is the caption (from

"During the World Wars, when letters to their overseas sweethearts were scrutinized by military censors, lovers developed a secret code: They placed the postage stamp upside down. Then, if the letter inside was confiscated and the empty envelope forwarded on, as often happened, the stamp would still carry a message of devotion."

I did a quick Google search to find some more information on this, and so far, there isn't much more than a short entry on the Philatelic Database (say that five times fast), and a site called "Prison Talk" (whoa there, ignoring that link...).   

According to the Philatelic Database, or PDb as I'm going to call it, there was a "language of stamps" but the upside down stamp in the upper right hand corner meant "write no more."  An upside down stamp on the left corner of an envelope meant "I love you."  BUT, since the Postal Service requires that we place the stamp on the right hand corner of our envelopes, I'm going to go ahead and say that an upside down stamp on the right hand corner can also mean "I love you."

What you probably don't know is that I send Bear a letter every week.  I email him more often than I probably should, just to say "hi, I love you and I'm thinking about you."  But to me, nothing comes close to the experience of receiving a letter in the mail. My inner history-nerd is so excited to do this the next time I send him a note. Hopefully he'll get that I mean, "I love you" and not "write no more."

Any other long-distance/military brides love to send snail mail?  

Trying to Focus my Attention on Flowers

Okay.  Consider me focused.  And in awe... 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Friday! Making Progress...

Making progress on our save the dates! Here's a little sneak peak--

It's taken every bit of self control to keep me from rushing through these babies and sending them off into the world.  The plan is to send them out in two weeks,and I'm sticking to it!

But that doesn't mean I can't share one more teeny-tiny peek at my progress:

So excited!  The plan this weekend is to try to recuperate and kick this cold that will not go away.  Cancelling plans to enjoy a little CMJ action, but I suppose I wouldn't enjoy much of anything when the world sounds like my head is under water.  

So how's your weekend shaping up?

Wrap it Up!

I have to write a speech for the wedding--it's only two weeks away!  Cuz met with her DJ and they decided that we would each have two minutes to talk.  She also sent this video to me and my bridal party counterparts:

Is it just me, or does it seem like she's trying to hint at something?

Seriously, what the heck am I going to do?  I feel like some people are expecting me to be funny, while others are expecting me reminisce.  This is not supposed to be this hard, I've only spent a majority of my life with Cuz.  She's only been my other half for twenty some-odd years.  How do I put all that into words and spit it out in two minutes?  And how do I avoid crying into the mic?  How can I resist the urge to try and be funny? Because you know that never works out. 

Any advice from seasoned wedding speech makers?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Inspiration: Paper

I've been feeling under the weather lately, so I bribed myself out of bed with a chai latte (I could drink one every day and be a very happy girl).  And I got to the cash register and saw this:

Finding inspiration in the most unexpected places, Starbucks, to be exact.  I had to resist the urge to buy this album so I could look at the calligraphy later.  

Inspiration - Bridesmaids (and Everything Else)

I came across this gorgeous wedding shot by one of my favorite wedding photographers, Steve DePino, just as I was starting to stress over my bridesmaids dresses.  

Originally, I wanted to ask the ladies to wear a cocktail dress of their choosing.  But I decided that mismatched cocktail length dresses were too informal for our wedding, as it is quickly becoming much more formal than I could have ever imagined.  But that picture right there, proves that there is in fact a happy medium here.  

I don't think that any of these outfits are too casual.  And look at the bride, she's certainly not casually dressed.  Maybe, I dismissed my gut feeling too quickly this time.  I'm going to have to think about this before I make a decision.  So I'm holding off on this until the new year.  You never know, maybe there will be some new colors and styles that will suit my taste. Or maybe I'll be able to make a decision!

But back to this wedding.  I am floored by the amazing photos and the sophisticated style of the affair.  Check it out!

Gorgeous ensemble, I love how chic the black looks here.  

Sleek black suits and a mixture of bow ties and modern neckties. (Let it go Mich, let it go...)

Upon closer look of these ties, we see that they are so freakin' cool. 

Ok, I'm letting it go now.  No black suits and ties.  Military blues, I got it.  

Oh my goodness--simple, chic, elegant.  Do you see why I love banquet tables now?

Here's a closer look at the details, 

Yes, I love these little understated design elements; striped straws, calligraphy,   And I really want to learn calligraphy, but I won't because I know I will just get frustrated.  

I am tucking this away into my inspiration folder, hoping it will keep me from going over the top with the design.  

Did anyone have such a tough time deciding on bridesmaids dresses?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Dress Hunt: Priscilla of Boston

After my incredibly disappointing experience at Lovely, I was tempted to call up Priscilla of Boston to cancel my appointment.  My already fragile ego had taken all the blows that it could bear.   But it was too late to cancel, and I'm too cheap to let anyone charge me $50 for not showing up to an appointment.  So I dragged myself to Priscilla of Boston.  

Plus, POB is the home of a gown that I'd been pining after and there was no guarantee I'd find it in another salon, it was JL202, from the Jewel line.

This dress was pretty close to perfect.  Simple, with straps, fitted but not too tight, and you can't see it here but the back is a simple scoop with fabric covered buttons down to the skirt.  Sigh...I couldn't wait to get myself into this thing.  Sadly, I also couldn't wait to get myself out of it.  It was so unflattering, and in a strange way, I felt like it was too much dress for me.  Of course it wasn't, but I just felt uncomfortable.  

After that, I let the consultant put me into any dress she thought I might like but it was too late for me.  I'd had a few too many letdowns for the day.  She brought in a couple gowns that I refused to try on: too much lace, too heavy for July, too big.  Yeah, I didn't make it easy on her.  

Until, she brought in Maldives, a gown in the Reverie by Melissa Sweet collection. 

My immediate thought was "un uh," but when I looked up at my mom and Lil $is, I saw that their expressions had changed.  There was a tear in my mom's eye. And then I turned to see the back,

and my jaw dropped.  I loved it.  I loved the sweet and romantic drape of the fabric, I loved that is showed just enough of my back.  I turned around to the front for a better look. 

I loved the way the top looked on me.  I loved how it hit my natural waist.  But...I felt like I was more in costume than in my wedding dress, and did I mention the hip swags?  It was too Greek goddess for this half Greek. But was that a bad thing?  It would go really nicely with our venue--but why would I need to buy a dress to match the venue?  

I paraded around in a veil, mostly to please my mom and $is, and also to convince myself that this was my dress.  But as much as I tried, I couldn't bring myself to declare that Maldives was for me even though my family had.  I ended the appointment, cut my losses and headed home.

Close but no cigar.  Did anyone else have to go against the opinions of their friends and family when choosing the dress? 

The One Where We Make A Ring Bearer Thing...

Sometimes, after a rough day all I can think of is meeting up with friends and unwinding over a glass of wine, maybe some pizza (probably both).  Well, I had a bad day last week and instead of craving a glass of red, I had the craziest urge to make something.  Instantly I thought to myself "Cuz needs a ring bearer pillow.  I can tackle that.  And if she likes it--great! And if she doesn't, at least I tried."

I took my inspiration from the sweet ring bearer bowls by Paloma's Nest.  

Image via PalomasNest

Combined with this bird's nest pillow by Designed By Love that BM Cuz wanted but couldn't (because the shop had taken a hiatus).

Image via DesignedByLove's Etsy Shop

To make this--

Full disclosure: there may have been a glass of wine involved in this process, which would explain the horrible iPhone pic.  It was just one of those things that I thought was a great idea at the time but...

It's still a work in progress, but it's so close to being done.  The moss needs to be secured to the dish (you can see that it's still not attached at the bottom) and I need to make sure the ribbon is the right length. The main thing about it is that BM Cuz likes it!  So that's a success, right?

Materials -

  • Small Terracotta saucer, 4"
  • Ribbon
  • Can of metallic spray paint
  • "Moss" (I mistakenly bought fake moss, which I originally hated but I'm alright with now.)

    This project took about an hour, which allowed me time to spray paint the saucer in between bites of my dinner.  So suffice it to say, it shouldn't take that long to make.

    What do you think? 

Monday, October 18, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Finally, our Venue!

(A little music to set the tone. Via YouTube)

I've put this off for way too long.  As mentioned before, it was a tough choice to leave our dream venue.  So tough, that as much as I love our current venue, there's a little part of me that still wishes we could have stayed with the original site.  

But there's no sense in regret, especially not when this place is so perfect for us!

I wasn't sold on having a wedding in New York state, but as time went on, I began to see that it didn't matter what I wanted, our local options were very limited.  Looking back on it, I wish I could have told myself to chill out because the Hudson Valley is not that far and our venue is awesome!

So let me introduce you to the Highlands Country Club, it's small private club located near the Hudson River.

This is area where we will have our cocktail hour, there is furniture that will placed there (they were cleaning up from the night before, so things are moved around a bit).  And see that fire pit on the right hand side?  There's three of them, and they will be lit towards the end of the night.  

(Mama and Thia Marmalada making a surprise appearance!)

This is the main reception space.  The furniture you see there will be outside for the cocktail hour. I love this room.  It's elegant, but it doesn't have the feel of an overly-gilded "wedding factory" I was trying to avoid.  And see the stacks of chairs in the back?  Did you notice that they are Chiavari chairs?  Because I did!  The white Chiavari chairs belong to them and are part of the standard set up!  Woohoo!  Nothing extra to rent!

Here's a another look:

The tables are oblong and I love that too!  This may be completely and totally neurotic to admit, but I was having trouble designing the table decor on round tables.   It's probably because so many of my inspiration pictures contain long banquet tables.  OR, it could be because I was over-thinking things again.

There are two fireplaces, located on opposing sides of the room.  Here's a closer look.  It's a perfect spot for some vellum wrapped luminaries!

And that's pretty much all there is to our reception space!
Seriously.  It's a small venue, and that's part of it's charm in my opinion.  But there are a couple other pics I should share.  Starting with a very important area:

This is the restaurant that is connected to the club, also known as Tavern.  For our wedding, the restaurant will become our bar (get it? important area?).  I love the rustic and eclectic feel of the space!

Here is the solarium.  It's where I plan to put our DIY photobooth.  It's also where cocktails will be held in case of bad weather (I'm so superstitious I had trouble typing that out, fingers crossed!).  

Last but not least:

This is part of the bridal suite.  Just wanted to share, because I love the charm of it.  We're not getting ready there. 

That's it!  Small.  Elegant.  And completely not what I thought we would end up with.  Let's see how it stands up to my venue checklist:

1. Close to Home - Not really.  It's about an hour away.  But an hour is an hour and half closer than the original venue.  So check!

2. Easily Accessible to Travelers - Yeap!  You can fly into any one of the NYC area airports.  And for my friends living in NYC, you can easily hop on a train from Grand Central and be at the local train station in no time (and the stop is a minute down the road from the venue).  

3. Cost - YES!!!!  We're saving so much money that we'll be able to invite 20 more people and stay within our budget!  I can't tell you how happy that makes me. 

4.  Flexibility/Simplicity - Yes.  I don't have to worry about coordinating so many vendors here.  And we would be able to move our date if Bear's schedule changes.   

So lesson learned.  My aversion to any place that had the words "country club" (or "banquet hall," "wedding wonderland" etc.)proved to be silly.  My need to be different proved to (once again) be a pain in the butt. I mean seriously.  This place is what I needed, even if it's not what I originally had in mind.  But in life, and especially in weddings, you have to roll with the punches and relax a little. 

Just like those Rolling Stones said, "you can't always get what you want.  But if you try sometimes well you just might find, you get what you need!"

(Who knew the Stones were wedding experts too?)

Were you surprised, like me, with the venue you ultimately ended up with?