Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bridal Beauty

I saw this article this morning. It's pretty scary how far some girls will go to look "their best" on the big day.

Don't get me wrong, I'll be getting a professional stylist to do my hair, and my make-up. But really that's about as far out of the ordinary I'm willing to go. Eating better and excercising are things I should be doing anyway, but I'm not going to push myself so far that I wind up risking my health.

People can get really carried away.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I'm like a gecko on a hot plate

Originally Posted Feb. 22, 2008

Seriously, I cannnot focus right now. I don't know if it's because yesterday was really busy and I didn't get a break, but I'm all over the place. My desk looks like a disaster area and I keep writing down stuff for one project on the notes I took for another. This does not bode well for the organization I was planning on doing at home tonight.

Maybe some classical music in the car and a glass of wine when I get home will help me slow down my thoughts a little bit. I may have to go out to the car and get the music just to help me focus throughout the day.

Maybe I just need a night off from all of the wedding planning, apartment reorganization and starting a Mary Kay consulting business. Yeah, I may have bitten off just a bit more than I can chew this week.


Originally Posted feb. 20, 2008

So we're watching American Idol when my wonderful fiance says this: "Someone should make a cartoon of Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell. They could solve crimes. I would totally watch that." I'm a lucky girl.

Recap of the big weekend- part 3

Originally Posted Feb. 11, 2008

Sunday we got up, and relaxed just a little. Andrew and I made breakfast for my parents and then went to the hotel to get his mom and dad so we could show them the church. We got their a few minutes before the service ended, so we had some time to look around the building. The Baker Memorial Church is beautiful. Stained glass windows, marble floors, granite walls, intricate woodwork, high ceilings with thick beams, and a gorgeous organ. It's not a huge sanctuary so we'll be able to keep a pretty intimate feeling between us and our guests. Everyone is thrilled with the church. I can't wait to get married there. Andrew really likes it too, which means a lot to me. He said he coudn't ask for anything more in a church.

After going to church it was back to my parents' house for some coffee before heading over to Eaglebrook Country Club, where we're having the reception. They were having a tasting event/mini bridal expo for some of their 2008 brides & grooms. The six of us went and got a chance to sample their most popular menu items, see a sample of their linen selections, and meet with some of their preferred vendors. We had a blast. Everyone tried something different from their menu, and I think we came up with our favorites for our menu. We may have found a DJ for the big day. He's a really fun guy and is happy to work with any level of interaction we choose. We were able to see some of the linen combinations and I think we have one that we can all agree with.

It seems like the biggest fight we'll have is going to be over reception chairs. Seem silly to you, or is it just me? My mom wants to rent chairs rather than use the covers provided. My dad thinks that's going to be too much money for something nobody besides my mom will notice. I agree with my dad. I know my mom doesn't care for the traditional chair cover with the sash tied in back, so what we tried while we were there is taking the sash and tying it on the side. This way the sash goes at an angle across the back of the chair and te colored tails hang off to the side. To me it's a pretty good compromise. My mom's still pushing for the other chairs, but we'll see. I think we could probably get a martini luge for the price of renting other chairs and that's a detail guests would be talking about for years. Or a chocolate fountain. Or both! We'll just have to see how the great chair saga unfolds.

Recap of the big weekend- part 2

Originally Posted Feb. 11, 2008

So the meeting with the florist was great. We met up with Andrew's parents and all six of us (me, Andrew, my parents, his parents) had a nice lunch at my mom's favorite restaurant in town, Foxfire. Thus begins the wine drinking of the day (hey, it was 5:00 somewhere right?). Great lunch and we got to spend some time with the owner. He totally made a fuss over Andrew's parents which made mine feel very proud of our little town.

After lunch my mom and I took Andrew's mom into the bridal shop to see my dress and the bridesmaid dress. Veiled in Elegance is literally nextdoor to the restaurant so the boys weren't abandoned for too long. We were all very girly and looked at jewelry and shoes and anything else that was sparkly or bridey. We asked Kathy, the shop owner, for a recommendation on men's formal wear in town. We took her suggestion and then walked up to the store.

The men's shop, Erday's, was only three short blocks away. But it was maybe 5-below, and very windy. Ahhh the joy that is Chicago in winter. So we were thrilled to get out of the cold an into the store. There was some selection of formal wear to choose from, but no samples to try. We know we can go there, but we'd still like to test out some of the looks before Andrew commits to any of the styles. Fortunately the ones he liked are some we'll be able to try on in Indy and then we can decide later if we want to order them here or in Geneva.

After that it was back to the hotel and home to change for the meeting and dinner at the rehearsal dinner location, the Hotel Baker in St. Charles. They're under construction, so it was a little difficult to move around, but the space already looks beautiful. It's a hotel built in the 1920's that's having their banquet room restored. We wanted to do the reception there, but it can't hold more than 150 people. It's right down the street from the church so it'll be very easy for everyone to get to. The food is fantastic- it's actually my dad's favorite restaurant in town. I know the rehearsal dinner will go very smoothly.

We wanted to eat there but due to the construction their menu has been drastically reduced. Geneva & St. Charles have a great selection of restaurants that are all locally owned- so no chains- so we decided to get another view of the area and went to dinner at Mill Race Inn. Of course, the wine drinking continued for a bit before we did. I've been going to Mill Race with my parents since I can remember and their new owner is doing some wonderful things with their menu. Everyone enjoyed their dinner, and no one passed up dessert... or the wine.

We called it an early night so Andrew's parents could head back to their hotel and relax, a very easy thing to do at the Herrington. Then it was up bright and early Sunday morning to go to the church. That'll be part 3.

Recap of the big weekend- part 1

Originally Posted Feb. 11, 2008

First off- I'm exhausted! I cannot wait to get home from work and just relax and spend some time with Andrew without our parents. It'll also be hte first time we've seen the fuzzy dog since last week. I think we're more excited to have him at home than he is! But it was all worth it for everything we got accomplished.

It'll be a long post, so I'll split it up into a few key areas. Saturday morning Andrew went with my mom and me to meet with our florist. Elizabeht Wray is amazing. I cannot say enough about her professionalism, her designs, and her ability to help my mom relax. Mom's a little worried about everything- even the stuff that's 6 months away. Elizabeth took the time to get to know Andrew and I a little better so that her designs will be a good fit for us. She's also agreed, via a second contract, to be our week of coordinator. I'll continue to make the plans and arrangements, but won't have to worry about a thing the week before the wedding. I love that.

She's already started to make some phone calls about additional parking near the church for the ceremony. The town we're getting married in just changed the date of their fall festival to the weekend of the wedding. It was originally scheduled for the week before. On one hand, GRRR. On the other, it'll give our out of town guests something to do on Saturday morning before the wedding and on Sunday if they're still in town, slightly quieter GRRR.

She was able to walk us through the items she typically puts together for weddings and how she plans to use the items from the church at the reception. I love the idea of getting additiona use out of them. It'll be something simple; like the tall arrangements that go along the candle sticks on the sides of the pews will be grouped together to make our taller centerpieces. We'll use the bridesmaids' and my bouquet as the centerpieces on the head table.

By going through her list, and giving her our favorite flowers and flowers I've seen in pictures that I like, she was able to give us a rough estimate for the wedding. We actually came in less than what my mom expected. Still a lot of money, but we're doing a great job with the budget so far. I left her with several pages of pictures that we all liked so she has something to use as inspiration. Though she really doesn't need any.

Funny side note about the meeting: I'd been running around my parents' house making sure that I had everything ready for this meeting and the rest of the day. We get out to Andrew's car when he turns to me and starts to laugh. My mom looks over at me and also starts to laugh. I get a bit paranoid and can't seem to see what's so funny about my sweater and jeans combination. Then I saw it- I was still wearing my red plaid bedroom slippers.

Big Weekend Coming Up

Originally Posted Feb. 8, 2008

I'm having a little toruble focusing at work today. Andrew and I are headed into Geneva tonight to spend the weekend with my parents. His parents are coming in tomorrow, so we'll have a chance to show them around.

We'll be meeting with the florist on Saturday morning, and then going over to the place for the rehearsal dinner in the afternoon. We're going to look at the church and the country club for the reception on Sunday. The club is doing a tasting event for several couples with some of their vendors as well. It'll be like a mini bridal show. I can't wait to get our mom's together and get things really started. I'm so excited! It's all starting to feel like it's real.

I'm planning on sending something cute to my bridesmaids for Valentine's Day, probably a little email to say hi with a cute e-card kind of thing. I'm thinking about putting a little slideshow together for them. 'Cause that's really what I need right now, something else to distract me from work. I'm hoping to get their final vote on the dress this week as well. I've been able to find it on NetBride for almost $50 less than what it is in the store where I got my dress, including the discount the girls would get. I'd love to get them ordered sometime between now and March. From what other knotties have said, NetBride has a great turnaround, but I'd like to make sure everyone has enough time. The only exception will be my MOH.

Since she's pregnant, I'd like to make sure she's comfortable ordering whatever size she might need for the wedding. She'll have given birth by the wedding, but we don't know how/where she's going to gain weight yet. Her mom is a seamstress so she'll be able to make some adjustments pretty easily. But with the dress being black, I don't see a problem if she wanted to wait a little while as far as having the concern over the colors being from the same dye-lot.

We'll also be able to get the parents' final vote for the invitations and the save the dates. I'd like to get the order placed for the STDs this weekend or early next week. We've gotta get them out this month, so we're cutting it kind of closer than I want.

We also have to finish our guest list. I'm sure some items will change, like who's bringing a guest and who isn't. But for the most part, I need to know who's getting STDs sent to them. If we can, I'd like to sit down with my mom's address book and get as many of the addresses filled in as we can. Even if all we have is a phone number, I'm happy to make the phone calls over lunch to get what we need.

Lots to do in the next few days. We'll see how it turns out!

Room Block is Set!

Originally Posted Feb. 6, 2008

Our room blocks for our guests are set. It feels so good to have this accomplished. It's kind of a big deal since the majority of our guests will be coming in from out of town.

The hotels that I'm working with are the Fairfield Inn & Suites and the Comfort Inn & Suites, and both hotels have been great so far. They've reduced their regular room rates by $20/night for guests at our wedding. We've got the maximum of 10 rooms at each, but both will be able to add more as we go if we need them, which I'm certain we will. We'll get guest lists so we can confirm who's got their room and who doesn't, so we know who to call and remind.

I've put the information up on our website, which is where we're keeping all of the details about our wedding so that it's easy for our guests to find. Of course we'll still get questions, and not everyone will look at the website, but for those who do, we'll be in good shape.

Progress and Professional Football

Originally Posted Feb. 4, 2008

We had a fanTAStic meeting with our stationery designer this weekend. She's been able to take all of our ideas and combine them into everything we'll need to have printed for the wedding. We're going to be able to place the orders in stages, so we'll have a better grasp of the exact numbers, and we'll be able to spread the cost out as well.

Our designer is awesome! If anyone in Indy is looking for someone who can do custom invitations at a reasonable price, I highly recommend Card Ink in Zionsville. Jen is very flexible and open to your ideas, which makes the process so much more enjoyable and personal. She's given us samples of the invitation and save the date for us to take to my parents this weekend. Since they're paying for at them, I'd like to get their buy-in before we officially place an order and make a payment. We've shown them to his parents and they really liked them. I'll try and get a bio started and some pictures up of everything as we're going along. That should be a fun lunchtime at work project.

We also went to Bed Bath and Beyond and did some more work on our registry. We picked our china and crystal- both of which are amazing. It's Waterford, but reasonable. We picked out some linens while we were there and some other fun house things. It got a little overwhelming towards the end, but we had a great time. He and I agree that we'll want to do another sweep through Crate & Barrel, but really the rest of the updates can be done online. Again, something for me to do over lunch in the office.

On a completely unrelated note- we got a much needed break from wedding things weekend when we went to a friend's place for the game last night. Such a great game! Tons of excitement, both teams played great, and in the end we were all pretty proud of Peyton's little brother. The saddest part for me is that the season's over. I love football, it's probably my favorite sport to watch. Well, at least there's hope that next year will be the Bears' year. I'm a diehard Chicago fan... I say that every year!

How Sweet is My Dad?

Originally Posted Jan. 31, 2008

I just got off the phone with my mom who let me know that she found her dress. It's a rich midnight blue color with an off-the-shoulder neckline and 3/4 length sleeves. It's got a long straight skirt with a little bit of movement to it. The top is ruched, very flattering, and across the beckline there are these tiny blue beads sewn in. She's not extremely sparkly like with sequins, but every time she moves she shimmers a little. I've seen her in it before, and people were actually crossing the store to compliment her.

So she called to keep me updated on that and to let me know about something my dad said this weekend over dinner. They were talking a little about the wedding, and my dad asked my mom to do him a favor on the day of the wedding. My dad isn't one to ask for anything, so she knew it was important to him, whatever it was. He asked if she thought the bridesmaids would mind if he stood in front of them a little before we all come in, just for a minute so he can watch my mom walk down the aisle. He explained that he still remembers how excited, happy, and lucky he felt the first time he saw her walk down the aisle at their wedding 34 years ago and he doesn't want to miss it this time. He also asked if she wouldn't mind turning around just before going into the pew so he can see her smile.

Needless to say, she cried and said she would. Heck, I'm tearing up a little right now!

Gift Registries and Good Friends

Originally Posted Jan 31, 1008We went to Crate and Barrel last weekend for one of their wedding party events. We had a blast! Registering for the event was really easy, just a phone call, and then when we got there, our names were on a list and we got checked off. The entire store was closed to everyone else, so we had tons of space to register. There were about a dozen couples there, and almost as many staff members, so there was always someone to help. We had mimosas, it was 9am, and some snacky things as the staff explained what we'd be doing over the next 2 hrs. Each couple got a scanner and we were sent off on our way around the store. We were able to see some demonstrations of the kitchen appliances and had some more snacks. Very fun.

I'd pulled a list of what to register for from a bridal magazine which gave us a great place to start from. We got a list from CB after we were done so I've combined them into one master list for us. (I'm a nerd, I can't help it.) We went through our apt the night before and crossed off some of the things we knew we wouldn't really need. We're not big mint julep fans, so mint julep glasses didn't stay on the list. He got a brand new set of pots and pans for Christmas last year so we're great on those. Living on our own before moving in together really covered some of the basic kitchen items, but we still had plenty to choose from. The idea of having silverware that all matches is totally new to us. We were able to give a pretty good price range, which I know our families and friends will appreciate. We'll be hitting Bed Bath & Beyond this weekend to finish up.

In the meantime, we're planning two trips- one for him and one for me. I'm heading up to visit two of my BMs and will probably invite a third to make the trip with me. I'm only going about an hour away, so no big travelling. But the past couple of times we've hung out, they've come to Indy for me, so I'd like to return the favor. He's heading to St. Louis to visit one of his GM and I think there are a few other guys heading out as well. He'll be gone the whole weekend, and I think he's already getting excited. We've been swamped trying to get things done over the weekends- ok I have, and trying to find time to see people. We used to be really spontaneous about getting together and hanging out with everyone, but now we're pretty driven by the calendar. I know it'll calm down once we've gotten some more of the planning out of the way. And really, it's flattering that so many of our friends want to spend time with us during the planning process. It gives me hope that I'm not driving everyone crazy!

Little Black Dresses

Originally Posted Jan. 28, 2008

My bridesmaids are very receptive to my request that they wear black dresses at the wedding. Since we're going formal, I think the black will be very elegant, not to mention flattering and very re-wearable. I've sent them a link to the dress I'm leaning towards to get their feedback and so far four of the seven have already responded that they love it. (Such a good start!)

Here it is, The picture shows it in blue, which is also nice, but we're going for the black. The way the straps almost cross in the back is exactly like what the straps on my dress do, and being a design oriented corporate communications person, I love that! I love the little details that tie everything together.

Anyway, I saw this text in a magazine spread about little black dresses and thought it was a nice fit for what we're doing.

"There's something bewitching about a black dress. Simple and sophisticated it manages to look right every time. And though the LBD has been a hallmark of style since Coco Chanel popularized it in 1926, it's still fresh and modern. And thoroughly enchanting."

Progress and Hold-Ups

Originally Posted Jan. 25, 2008

So far today has been crazy productive considering it's 11am on a Friday and we're both working. I love it when that happens! I came into work and checked my email to find that I had the contracts from the hotels in the area t oset up our room blocks for our guests. I'll go over them in greater detail this weekend and then sign and fax back first thing on Monday.

Then I get an email from my honey letting me know that our pastor will be able to come from Indianapolis to hicago for our ceremony. I say that he's our pastor since we go to church together, but really he's the pastor Andrew grew up with. I'm pretty new to the crowd. He's going to be wonderful. We need to get him the information for the church and vice versa since he's not their pastor. The church is really easygoing about this type of thing, which is a huge help to us.

I got an email from my former director- I sang in college- letting me know that he'd love to play for our reception. I've got to email him back with the specifics and then set up a time for us to meet and go over the ceremony music selections. We need to keep secular stuff out, according to the church rules, which is fine. There are still a lot of beautiful pieces he can play for us. He's a concert pianist and frequently plays with Manheim Steamroller.

I was a little bummed that I hadn't seen one of my BMs lately. I heard from her this morning and it turns out that her work shcedule has been crazy and changing a lot over the past few weeks. She's an OR nurse so I can completely see how that many changes can take a lot our of her even more than just being in the operating room for 12 hours a day. We're getting together tonight so she can show me some pictures of a wedding she was in on New Year's Eve. I'm so glad that she's back!

With all this going well, it reminded me that I should call another one of my BMs. She's a photographer and came up a while back to do some engagement photos for us. We'd like to use them with our save the dates and probably some other printed items. She and I keep missing chances for her to get the photos to me. We'll have to get better at that!

Proper Motivation

Originally Posted Jan. 24, 2008

Let me start by saying that I love our dog. He's got the sweetest face, and he gets so excited to see us when we come home. He's half beagle and half English bulldog, wit the beagle head on the bulldog shoulders.

We picked up from the Humane Society in July, and he really is a big part of our little family already. Both our sets of parents like him too which helps a lot- my dad even got him a birthday present. Because of where we got him and how much he means to us, we're doing a donation to the Humane Society in place of traditional favors.

Plus, he's already helping me achieve two of my big personal goals for the wedding- but not exactly as I had intended. Here's how:

First- I want to lose some weight. No one's shocked. I'm actually looking to lose somewhere around 20-25 lbs. Since I have until October I think that's realistic. That's also the amount I should lose to be in a healthy weight-range for my height, so there are multiple reasons why this will be good. The FI and I have joined a gym and I'm a huge fan of the yoga classes- but I can only go on the weekends. I've got minimal time during the week, and by the time I get home I'm tired and excited to be at home. Here's where the pup comes in. His name is Loki- after the Norse god of mischief and chaos- and it fits. He's a furry ball of energy and just wants to play. The problem was that he had just as much energy at 11pm as he did at 11am. So he and I have started going for a walk every morning. We run a little, but it's mostly a walk. This does two nice things- I get at least this workout every day and he gets worn out by about 8:30pm.

Second- I want contacts before the wedding. I've always had glasses, but started wearing them all the time about a year ago. I've been saying since that time that I was going to get contacts, and still haven't. Well, yesterday the pup ate my glasses. He didn't physically ingest anything, but he mangled them well beyond repair. So this weekend I'll be heading to the eye-doctor and getting a replacement set of frames and some contacts. Apparently all I needed was a gentle nudge. Helpful little devil.

Another Weekend with Progress

Originally Posted Jan. 22, 2008

We had a pretty busy weekend, but managed to find some time to make a little progress. In between painting a wall in the apt, and four social engagements we had a meeting with our stationary designer on Saturday. She's awesome!

The biggest problem we were having is that we'd find a style we like, but it wouldn't come in our colors (black, ivory, apple green). So she's going to take the pictures we pulled from magazines and the paper we selected in her office and make some samples for us to review when we meet again on Feb 1.
We took our first ballroom dance class on Friday night. We've got the basics of the basics down for the foxtrot and almost for swing, but we've got some more practice to do between now and our next lesson- also on Feb 1.

I put together the first of our bridal party newsletters to keep everyone in the loop since we've got coast to coast coverage. Seriously: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Texas, California. Our friends are everywhere. It's nutty. Our hope is that this will make it easier for everyone to stay up to speed and it'll be an easy way to keep track of everything.

I'm waiting to hear back from my bridesmaids on the dress picture I sent them. I think it meets everyone's criteria and they'll all like it. I've heard back from one who loves it- so that's a good sign. My MOH will need a short jacket as she'll need to be in a nursing bra and those don't really go well with spaghetti straps, but her mom's a seamstress and will do a lovely job, so that's not a problem. Her mom offered to make wraps/jackets for the other girls if they want as well. We'll see what everyone else thinks.

First Blog Post About Our Wedding

Originally Posted on Jan. 18, 2008

I'm still pretty new to this whole thing, but I like the idea of having a place to vent some frustrations, and I'm sure everyone around me will appreciate hearing about something other than the wedding. I've decided for that reason not to make the blog public to our friends and families.

We've been engaged since Sept 28, 2007- which was our two year anniversary. Totally romantic and everything I could have hoped for. We were out at dinner and his plan was to go for a walk around the circle (we live in Indy) and propose there in the middle of downtown. He was nervous and excited and was sure that I knew about it- which I totally didn't- so he proposed in the middle of the restaurant. We got some applause and a lot of "aawwww" noises from the rest of the people out that night. Absolutely amazing.
We've been making pretty good progress since then- getting the really big things done before the holidays. By the time we relaxed and enjoyed Christmas we had our date set, the church booked, and the reception venue set. The bridal party has all been asked and agreed- which is fantastic. We've got our color scheme set as well- black, ivory, and apple green as an accent color.
Since then, we've booked our florist, I've ordered my dress, and I think I've found the bridesmiads dresses- as long as the girls all like it of course. We're meeting with the invitation designer tomorrow- she'll actually do all of our designing and printing for the invitations/save the dates/programs/place cards/ and anything else we decide we want that will fit into the budget. we'll be sending our save the dates in February.
We may or may not have a photographer- again it dpends on whether he fits into our budget. I hope he does, because he's amazing. He just did a wedding for a friend of mine from high school and they really are some of the best pictures I've seen. He does a more photojournalistic approach which is exactly what Andrew and I want.
It feels great to be getting so much done, but it does make me nervous about what types of snags we're going to hit and when. So far the only trouble spot seems to be my Uncle. I know that sounds odd- but he's been trying to relay all the infomration he has on the wedding to the rest of the family. Sweet that he wants to help, but he's not involved in making the plans! He gets half the story from my dad (his brother) when they talk and then spreads it all around. People are confused and frustrated already- and we've still got nine months before the wedding!
I'm going to have to find a nice way to tell the rest of the family to stop asking him questions and just come to my parents or my cousin who's also a bridesmaid. I've just made a website for us through the knot, so hopefully that will help too.