Thursday, January 27, 2011

Feeling The Distance - Part Two

Now that I've let it all out, it's time for me to hop off my little whaaaaambulance.  

I need to get a grip, right now.  This IS a happy time!  And I need to own it--after all, a happy time isn't necessarily an easy time, right?

So from now on when I'm feeling down or guilty or whatever about planning this wedding while the Bear is deployed I need, no I VOW, to keep the following in mind: 

  • It's more than okay to focus on our wedding and every little fluffy detail!  Because it's for us--not just for me!  In fact, he wanted a traditional wedding more than I did.  So why not think of it as the world's best welcome-home-now-let's-get-our-life-started party?  I have a tendency to feel guilty about things that border on extravagant or expensive, but this isn't something to feel guilty about.  Guilt be damned--I'm gonna let myself get excited!

    • Speak up!  I have to take responsibility on this one.  I have great friends and family, and I've underestimated them terribly.  They want to be there for me as much as possible, but they can't know something is wrong unless I tell them.  And only after I speak up can they smack me back into reality.  So, from here on out, I'm going to be honest with the people that are closest to me and look to them for the support I need.

    • It IS fun to talk about the wedding!  Even though we're worlds apart, this is an exciting time for both of us.  And this may sound odd for most guys (so I hear), but he actually enjoys listening to me blab about our wedding plans.  It's a distraction from the day, and it's our light at the end of the tunnel.  So while he may not actually care about our table runners or votive candles, he enjoys hearing about it because I care about it.  Amazing, right? (Why yes he is.)

      I have to keep a positive outlook, starting yesterday now.  It's alright to get upset from time to time, because let's face it: the situation sucks.  But I can't change it and I can't control it.  So I have to choose to keep my thoughts on the sunny side.  And I'll admit, it's not the easiest choice at all times (especially since I happen to be living through the "snowiest" January on record, GAH), but it's the right one.  

      So how about you?  Is there anything in the planning process that you've had to just accept? Any more words of advice?

      Wednesday, January 26, 2011

      Feeling the Distance - Part One

      With less than six months to go, I've finally decided it's time to get real and come clean.  

      I'm having trouble feeling excited about our wedding.  

      So far every single decision I've made since he left has been torture.  Every. Single. Decision.  When he was here I booked our dream venue, I booked our engagement session,  booked an amazing photographer, I sketched out my wedding dress--I was on cloud nine!  And then he left.  And I stopped caring so much.  

      At first I thought I just needed time to adjust to his absence.  But once I adjusted, I came to realize that it had nothing to do with that.  

      First, I hate the idea of planning this big, happy, lavish event right now.  I actually feel pretty guilty about it.  He's far far away from my little world of wedding planning.  And as much as he tells me that he's fine, it doesn't change the fact that he's technically living in a war zone.  So when I am faced with a decision about the wedding, like my dress for example, I have trouble focusing on it and tackling the issue because it doesn't feel as important to me.  

      He's my partner in crime, he's the one I turn to when I need reassurance.  I know that he always has my back and wants me to be happy.  And when you're planning a wedding on your own, you need more than a long distance cheerleader, you need a full on, in your face squad.  And the only way to really get that, is to speak up.  But I don't speak up, because I don't want to seem weak or needy.  Sometimes I don't feel like explaining that something is difficult because it makes that thing, whatever it is, that much harder.


      It's not much fun to talk about the wedding when you don't have much time to talk about anything.  This blog is my way of keeping the Bear in touch, but for the past few months he hasn't been able to read much of it.  I suppose he doesn't need to read a blog about our wedding to understand what's going on but have you ever tried to describe elements of your wedding to someone outside the wedding blogosphere?  How about explaining wedding related things to your fiance, in person?  Now put him on the phone, thousands of miles away, and shorten your entire conversation to about fifteen minutes. Of all the things I have to  talk about, our wedding and how I feel about it, takes a backseat.

      When your date is set and yet somehow still a little up in the air, it's hard to get excited about the wedding countdown.  This is our year!  July is our month--fingers crossed!  All the uncertainty makes me a little hesitant to get excited.  First I told myself I'd get really excited when we hit 2011.  Then I decided I would get excited once Spring rolls around. Or maybe I'll be really excited when he gets back?

      Some would say that I'm really lucky, and most days I would agree.   But on my off days (and today is an off day) I realize that I'm not enjoying this as much as I could and it hurts.  I try to stop myself and look at every positive that is going to come to me very soon.  Sometimes, all I need is a glass of wine, some friends, and reality TV.  Sometimes, I write about it.  Whatever it takes, right?

      Have you planned a wedding while your partner was far away?  Need to vent?  Let it out in the comments.

      Tuesday, January 25, 2011

      Short and Sweet

      Growing up, I don't remember dressing up as a bride.

      But I DO remember dressing up a ballerina.  I was obsessed with wearing my sister's recital costumes, obsessed.  Sure, I had my own leotards and ballet slippers but one the one thing I didn't own, the thing that's making me smile wide up there, was the tutu.  

      Sadly, I never got to don a tutu of my very own.  I quit ballet a few years later after an instructor called me out in front of the whole class for being, ehem, a little too plump. And by "called me out" I mean he took his pointer stick and smacked my backside shouting "what is this?!"  Following with "and this?!" as he smacked my tummy.  No, I'm not at all haunted by that day--I was eight!  Are you kidding me?! 

      What was I saying?

      Well, I never got a tutu.  And (SPOILER ALERT) I'm not going to be wearing a large tulle skirt on my wedding day. 

      (THE Swan Lake)

      I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that I'm a tad bit disappointed in myself for not taking my opportunity as a bride as an excuse to play dress up on a large scale.  

      And then I came across this:

      Oh yeah.  It's a tulle skirt and it's gorgeous.  Call me crazy, but I'm not feeling the white skirt with the blazer--I can just hear the sweet sounds of "Like A Virgin" playing in the back of my mind.

      I definitely need some color.  

      This is perfect!  And now I officially want a tutu for a pre-wedding event.  I love the idea of pairing a pistachio green tutu with a simple white tee and some metallic sandals.  It could totally work, right?

      And if you're still a little skeptical, here is a front view of these lovely ladies:

      This picture gave me a "why didn't I think of that" moment.  Bridesmaids in tutus?!  Genius.  

      Yes, I must have a tutu for wedding festivities.  It's now or never!  Childhood hang-ups be damned, I dare someone to call me chubby while I wear it.  I can stick up for myself now, and I will look awesome as I rip you a new one.  So there.

      Have you found any accessories or outfits that are a "must have" for your wedding?   

      Monday, January 24, 2011

      Just Call Me Ms. Clause

      Planning a wedding around a deployment is a very tricky and potentially a very costly endeavor.  For most of our engagement, our wedding plans have been up in the air.  We set our wedding date a year ago.  Since then, his plans have changed more than a couple times.    

      So what's a slightly Type A bride to do outside of purchasing pricey wedding insurance?  Is it even possible plan a wedding without losing your mind and a few deposits? 

      It is!  Here are some tips I've picked up along the way.  

      1.  Be honest about your situation, and ask for exactly what you want.  

      In our case that meant "he's serving abroad, but he should be back in time for our wedding."  And when I heard crickets, which I often did, I would continue with "I know it's sounds a little scary to plan an entire wedding with that much uncertainty, but we really feel like our date is going to work."  

      And then the question  "if we decided to work with you, would you be able to allow us to use our deposit on another date?"

      2.  Be flexible (and respectful).  

      I appreciate each and every vendor that was receptive and sympathetic to our situation.  But that doesn't mean I expected them to put everything on hold for us.  All I really wanted was to be able to use our deposit for another day, if we had no other choice.  And if we had to find another day, it would have to work for everyone involved, which wouldn't be easy since we are working with some amazingly talented (read: in demand) people.  

      At first I was a little embarrassed to even ask, but after a couple conversations I came to realize that I didn't want to work with anyone that made me feel bad for asking.  I can acknowledge and respect that everyone has a business to run.  I can understand that it might sound cuckoo to look for another date in the middle of peak wedding season.  But the vendors that seemed offended or taken aback by my request weren't going to be the right fit for us, no hard feelings.   

      3.  Get it in writing!

      All it took were a few extra words in the contract to put me at ease.  Signed, sealed, and delivered--we're prepared for a change of plans!

      4. Take a deep breath. 

      Do whatever you have to do to relax and get your mind off the uncertainty.  You've done all you could to anticipate a change. Just because our vendors have agreed to be flexible doesn't mean that I'm going to eagerly change our date if his plans change.  I've had my fingers crossed for months!  And now that we're almost in the homestretch it looks like we're locked in on our original date!

      If there's one thing I've learned about his schedule, it's to expect change and accept that it's completely out of my control.  We're getting married!  And we're going to BE married no matter how many bumps we hit in the road.  

      Are you planning around any uncertainty?  Do you have any other tips to share?

      Thursday, January 13, 2011

      Getting My Glam On

      I'm ready for my close up...

      Remember Glamour Shots?  The only time you can play dress up with professionals AND get your picture taken?  Yeah...that was a long time ago.  Lucky Uncle Rico!

      So why am I telling you this?  Because I went to a site for a make up artist, and I came across this image. 

      And it reminded me of the glory days of Glamour Shots and Aqua Net.  It also sent a chill up my spine and almost scared me off the search for a make up artist.  And I just have to say, I don't know if this particular make up artist is amazing or not, according to the reviews she is, but that picture is NOT what I want to see as I look for a make up artist to hire.  

      So I took some time to look for a few inspiration shots before I start going for make up trials.  I want to look fresh, flawless and polished. 

      For my lips - I'm thinking a pink that's just a shade or two darker than my natural lip color. 

      For my face/cheeks - A peachy flush for the cheeks and an overall dewy glow. I'm not sure if I can pull of "dewy glow" in July without looking like a sweaty mess but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the pros will get it right. 

      For my eyes - I need a touch of smudge and smoke.  I can never get this right!  My eyes are a little on the larger side, it seems like the make up I put on them just disappears until I put on too much.  

      Here are my two inspiration pics:


      She has a natural glow here, her eyes are just a tad bit smoky but it's completely balanced with her lip.

      The lovely Ms. Cruz has it down to a science:  dewy complexion, flushed cheeks, and just a little drama for her eyes.  

      And it's a good thing I have those inspiration pics at the ready, because I made an appointment for a make up trial this Saturday! Wish me luck!

      How about you?  Are you getting a make up artist to do your wedding day make up?  Or are you going the DIY route?

      Wednesday, January 12, 2011

      Bye Bye Bridal March

      That right there is what I submitted as part of my final project in my first photography class--go ahead and laugh.  I thought I was being really deep and introspective by taking a picture of my violin.  Only, that's not my violin.  My violin was taken, err stolen, after my last high school concert.  That's right folks, back in high school, I was an orchestra geek.  

      Actually, I loved playing in the orchestra.  It was by far my favorite class through school.  I met a lot of really cool people that way, people like BM Yazzi Fresh, and *cough* my future husband.  Aww...

      So it makes perfect sense that the one thing I really wanted, that I know we don't necessarily need is a string quartet for our ceremony.  And after thirty minutes of searching the internet, I found The Devonshire Players.

      After a really great phone call with Lakshmi, TDP's founder, I decided that yes, we're definitely going this route.  Initially I wanted a duet with violin and cello to cut down on costs but I think we're going to go for the quartet.  Because if you go with two instruments, your musical selection can be a little limited and what's the fun of that?  TDP already has a repertoire of contemporary music, AND they're open to playing just about anything as long as they can find the sheet music! 

      And that, dear friends, puts a huge smile on my face because it means we can have songs like this:

      "Hallelujah" - Leonard Cohen. I know he wants this song included in our wedding somehow, and this is just gorgeous. 

      "In My Life" - Beatles. So sweet that it kinda hurts, no?

      "Wonderful Tonight" - Eric Clapton.  Reminds me of school dances in the best way. 

      "Sweet Child O'Mine" - Guns N Roses. Please, please, please let this be our recessional song.  Please...

      And there you have it.  The easiest decision I had to make so far.  It's still a bit early to decide on the specific songs we'll have played in our ceremony but if I get my way, these songs will make an appearance.  I love the mix of sentimental love songs and kick ass cheesy rock.

      What are you doing for ceremony music?  Are you going the route of traditional music, or non traditional music?

      Tuesday, January 11, 2011

      J. Cray Cray

      I started having doubts about my choice of bridesmaids dresses right after I decided that they should all choose their own.  A couple of my bridesmaids told me that they felt that choosing their own dress in a specific color would be too hard.  And most of them told me that they were going to purchase their dresses at J.Crew, since that's where I saw the colors in the first place. 

      Four of the bridesmaids will be in "Spiced Wine."

      And the other three bridesmaids (my sisters and Cuz) will be in their choice of "Pale Lilac" or "Warm Pebble."

      So after giving it some thought, I wrote them all a final email about their dresses.  Yes, they could still choose whatever dress they wanted as long as it was in the color I asked them to wear.  But, I asked that they please purchase the dress from J.Crew. Feeling strangely triumphant, I patted myself on the back.  This was a happy medium, a win-win situation!  They get to wear whatever they want, paying whatever they could afford, they'll all look different, and we're all happy!

      The happiness continued the next day when I learned that all three of my "pink ladies" bought their dresses together!  

      My excitement stretched into last night, when I asked my older sister to tell me which dress she chose, so I could get a better idea of how everything would look.  But my excitement became confusion when she hesitated to answer.  So I pressed on, and asked her again "which dress did you pick?"  And her response was "the dress you told us to get."  Red flags started going up, half raised, but up nonetheless.  Confused, I asked "what is the name of the dress you bought?"  She said she didn't know, but it was strapless and "the one I [Mich] want."  After some more prodding, I came to find out that she bought this dress:

      Oh nice! And Lil $is?  What about her?

      Mmmk...and Cuz?  I know she wanted chiffon dress but which one did she buy?

      Oh.  So much for everyone wearing a different dress.

      I guess the disappointment was obvious, because my sister followed up with "they were $60! And I already bought them, and they can't be returned."

      This is still a little fresh, so forgive me if I start to sound like a brat but yeah, I'm a little upset about this.  I asked them to get different dresses and they didn't.  And as a bargain hunter  myself, I can appreciate that they scored these dresses for a MAJOR deal--but was that a good enough reason to not do what I asked?  If they purchased the dresses on their own and by coincidence, they all bought the same dress this wouldn't bother me at all.  I would laugh about it!  But the reason they bought the same dresses was because it was the cheapest one and that really bothers me.  There were dresses in that color for $80 and for $100 as well.  And I could have helped pay the difference, but I wasn't given the chance.   

      Is this going to ruin the wedding?  Of course not. They will look beautiful and they will be comfortable, which is what I wanted. I just feel a little hurt right now.  

      AAAND...crazy bride moment over.  I'm kissing it to the wind.  

      How about you?  Did you have any surprising bridesmaid dress drama?

      Friday, January 7, 2011

      Friday! Snowed In

      Happy Friday!  And if you're on the east coast, happy snow day to you!  Not to me, because I'm not exactly the biggest fan of snow and cold weather, but I do look forward to wearing my coziest sweater to work.  Casual Friday here I come!

      And as I was getting ready this morning, looking for my favorite Winter boots, I glanced over at my collection of Chuck Taylors and thought about how much I want Summer back NOW.  And I thought of the Ramones, yeah it's random, I know.  So I'm sharing this with you all, a sweet love song from a kick ass punk rock band as a way of ending this week on a good note (har, "note"). 

      Or maybe this is my little way of flipping the bird to Old Man Winter.  

      Have a great weekend!

      Thursday, January 6, 2011

      Be Still My Heart

      Are these my shoes?

      Because I really, really want them to be.  

      I saw these a few minutes ago, and I thought "wow, those are cute."  Then I saw the heart shaped peep toes and I thought "I WANT THEM."

      I mean, HEART SHAPED PEEP TOES! Alexander McQueen Heart Shaped Peep Toe pumps in Satin.  Sigh...My inner shoe troll is seriously chomping at the bit.

      But how would ever be able to afford a pair of these babies, IF I could find them in my size, right?  So I should probably forget about it.  But then I saw that they were on sale.  And then I realized that my size was sold out.  

      So I bought the next half size up.  Not sure whether I should hang my head in shame, or wave my wedding to-do list around in victory.

      They go with the color palette, they definitely can (and will) be worn again but the heels are 4.5 inches high!  Gulp.

      So now I'm impatiently waiting for these lovelies to be delivered to my desk, err, door.  

      Have you found your wedding shoes yet?  Were they an impulse buy or did you take your time?

      Wednesday, January 5, 2011

      Little White Dress: Coming Up Roses

      This feminine LWD is by ABS and features a gorgeous rosette skirt.  It has all the romance of a full length wedding gown, but the length gives it very flirty feel.  Best of all, it reminds me of this amazing gown:

      But at $380, it's a great option for brides on a budget.  Don't you think?

      What the Font?!

      I've finally decided on our wedding fonts!  Wanna see?

      Sidenote:  Did you know that they aren't called fonts?  They're called typefaces.  I angered a professor once by calling them fonts.  But I'm choosing to use the word "font" here to describe the typeface, for any graphic design junkies--don't want to ruffle any feathers.  And I had to use that title!  I couldn't resist! 

      Back to what I was saying, it took a lot of experimenting but I think I'm finally happy with what I'm working with!

      First, let me introduce you to our headers!

      Memoriam Pro:

      I fell in love with this font a while back and bought it on a whim.  It was a splurge, so I'm going to have to use it somewhere!  Looking back I should have resisted this purchase and saved the cash for another project, but I'm happy to have it!  And I know it will look gorgeous wherever it turns up!

      Next up is Aphrodite Slim:

      Since we don't have room in the budget for calligraphy, I had to find something that had the same qualities I loved in calligraphy but without the hefty price tag.  Isn't it pretty?  Aphrodite will be right at home on our invites, maybe even center stage! *hint*hint*

      And then there are the fonts that we're going to use in the body of our paper products.  They are decidedly less swirly and more crisp than the fonts above.  

      American Typewriter has been a favorite of mine for a while now.  It reminds me of books and old correspondence, which is the same feeling I want in some of our paper products.  I used it in our save the dates too, so it's nice to have a little continuity.  Of course, I'm going to be the only person to notice this but it's the little things that make me smile!

      And finally my new favorite, Estilo!  I've started to become obsessed with all things Art Deco, especially in design.  This was another impulse buy, but thankfully it worked out!  It's a perfect way to introduce some Art Deco elements to the decor without losing the modern feel we're going for.  I'm thinking this will work for our invites, menu cards, and banners (that I haven't started on yet--ack!).  

      And there you have it!  I'm relieved to finally have made some progress on this, and now there is no room for excuses!  Time to roll my sleeves up and get busy!

      What do you think?  DIY brides, did you have to find any special fonts or design elements before you started working on your wedding projects?

      Tuesday, January 4, 2011

      Light Up The Party!

      I've been watching a ton of wedding shows lately, (shocking right?) and one thing I've started to notice, that I never would have considered before, is the lighting.  The right lighting in the room really does set a tone for the night and transforms the space.  But after watching one too many episodes of Platinum Weddings, I've realized that professional event lighting, like in the picture above, is NOT for us. 

      So we're going for something a little more low tech.

      (clockwise from left 1, 2, 3, 4)

      And by a "little" low-tech, I mean extremely low-tech and very vintage.  I've officially jumped onto the mercury glass bandwagon and I don't want to jump off!

      These tiny candles pack a big punch in decor.  I love the glow and the warm feel that candles can add to an event.  And they're more budget-friendly than professional uplighting.  The only thing is that traditional mercury glass is silver and silver isn't really part of the color palette I had in mind.  But gold is!  So I'm now looking for gold mercury glass votives!  

      The next questions is do we rent these or do I add another DIY to the list?  According to the florist they cost about $2 each to rent, so I think I'm going to attempt a DIY on this one.    

      What about you?  Are you going for professional lighting or something else?