Sunday, December 12, 2010

Venue Option: Overture Center

This is the first in a series of outlines of different venues I'm considering. Keep in mind that, while I am drawing information from the locations' websites, I am drawing conclusions based on my own criteria. I may not be thrilled about a potential venue that seems perfect for your shindig, and if that's the case...don't listen to me! These are just my preferences. To get things started, let's begin with the Overture Center.

Well, the architecture is crazy beautiful and the inside is very grand, for starters. There are several lovely rooms to choose from depending on the size of your party, but the rental fees can get a little high. It is situated on State Street, so a vibrant downtown atmosphere comes with this venue choice. Because it's downtown, there are any number of hotels nearby that would make your event easy to walk to. If you have a special connection to the music world, this would be a great place to get married.

Although beautiful and impressive, the Overture Center has gotten a lot of so-so press lately. There have been a series of money mismanagement issues, and now the place is essentially bankrupt. The current debate is whether or not the city will take ownership of the center and foot the bill to keep it running.

I've heard from two brides who had their wedding there that it's a georgeous venue, and they both confirmed that it's in convenient proximity to hotels. My sources also said that the food left something to be desired. Both said it was good, but not great. One bride did say that they were very accomodating and willing to work with her, but they weren't wowed. They both also said that they basically blew their budget on the food. Food is one of our non-negotiable things, so I'm looking for great. Also, the price per plate for dinner is $19+ dollars, and the buffet is $25+, so this would put a healthy dent in any budget.

So, let's review...

PROS: beautiful, lively downtown atmosphere, convenient location for guests to get to

CONS: $$$, maneuvering downtown could be annoying, allegedly so-so food

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weddin' Boots

As I was searching for some kick-ass everyday black boots online, I stumbled across these beauties on Observe...

I know, right?! How awesome would it be to have those kicking around under your skirt? How additionally awesome would it be to ahve a cute short dress with those on? Having a fall wedding here can be a gamble weather wise, so boots may be in my future. I must say, I wouldn't be teribly disappointed. Once we set a firm budget I'll have to see what my shoe allowance is. Pretty much my accessory allowance in general. You can find these lovelies here and here, respectively.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thinking of Venues

UGH!! It's been in the 80's these past few days, which is totally killing my fall euphoria...or should I say eufallria? I've been distracting myself by making a preliminary guest list and checking out venue ideas. I've been looking around town, checking out other local weddings, and finding some serious inspiration. There are actually a lot of awesome non-ballroom options that I'm thrilled about. Here's a running list so far.

Quivey's Grove (literally a couple blocks from where I live)
Agora Pavillion (Fitchburg)
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (downtown! I'm in love with the architecture)
Goodman Community Center
Overture Center

As you can see from my choices, I'm really torn between a stylin' city wedding and a rustic country wedding. I plan on devoting a separate post to each location, complete with pros and cons. I'm sure I'll add more locations to the list as I find them. I haven't even had time to look at the many parks in town yet. If you, dear readers, have any experience with any of these venues I'd love to hear about it. More on this as it develops...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Videography? Maybe Super 8 Style.

I am really digging the super 8 trend that is emerging in wedding videography. I'm not too keen on having someone video tape the entire wedding because I really will never watch it again. We never watch the home movies we have already...the play by play is so boring. Plus, I hate seeing and hearing myself on camera. There's a reason I never took those film acting classes. It's like a giant bug eye staring down at you, but for some reason I'm completely fine with photographs. Go figure.
Here's where Hello Super 8 comes in. I think I first discovered them through Offbeat Bride, but don't quote me on that. I am in love with the Hello Message Booth! It's like a living photobooth where your increasingly inebriated loved ones can write and leave you filmed messages. These are then edited and placed to a perfect soundtrack, and the result is pure magic.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Love Fall

Ah, these are the potential wedding months: September and October. The temperature is comfortable and cool, there are strips of orange on the boughs of green trees like a streak of grey at your temple. This is my favorite time of year. It's not quite Halloween or Thanksgiving, but I'm starting to think of the holidays and my family. I'm taking Andrew to New York at Thanksgiving to meet my extended family for the first time! It's going to be rad. Everyday there is an air of harvest and celebration in the air, and it just feels right. This is the time of year we should be married.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fall Color Palette

A few lovely examples from Design*Sponge. While I'm not super keen on the idea of a "theme" per se, these just make me feel festive. Drink it in...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Officiant Update

One of my co-workers who got married in Milwaukee told me that she had a friend get ordained online and perform her ceremony. This is good news for all of you who want to go this route!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tiny Top Hats! Yes!

Okay, so, as I've mentioned before I really like hats. I am also not wearing your traditional long veil so I am seriously interested in alternative hairpieces. I've been seeing a lot of brides in tiny hats and I LOVE THEM!!! I've scoured the internet for affordable milliners, but the ones I like the most are a pretty penny. Side note: for the longest time I thought a hat maker was a haberdasher. Come to find out that's someone who makes men's clothing. A milliner is a hat maker, but haberdashery is so much fun to say.
Anyway, this tiny top hat tutorial made its way onto Offbeat Bride the other day. Thanks, Offbeat Bride, for being so awesome. I have no idea if I'm a tiny top hat lady or not, but we'll just have to find out now won't we. I suppose I could always alter the pattern a little to come closer to these other beauties I've found. I mean, come on....

Yes, please. Can you stand how awesome this is?!

And this one! I am in love!
All photos from the exquisite Jane Taylor Millinery in the UK. I may just have to buy one in the end. I'm drooling over that first comma hat. Maybe not in black, though.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Have My Dress!!

This is what it looks like when you get your dress in the mail.

This is what it looks like when you open the box to reveal a sweet purple garment bag!

This is more of what it looks like when you open your garment bag to reveal a slightly cockeyed dress on a hanger and, even though it's been several months since you saw it, it takes your breath away all over again.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hi International Readers!

So, Blogger has this really cool feature that allows the blog manager (that's me) to see stats concerning what searches are directing people to one's blog, which posts people look at, etc. One of the pages also tells me how many hits I get from different countries, and it seems that I have an international audience! How cool is that?

I obviously have over 100 hits from the United States, but people in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Canada also have some interest in this here content. Hi guys! Even if you're just cruising by my little blog on your way to find what you're really looking for...I'm glad you stopped by. I hope you find what you're looking for, and if you have any questions I'll try and help you out.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ring Alteration

The ring can be altered! (maybe)
I either have to send it in to Shane Co or drop it off, and they will lower the setting as much as they can.

How much is that?
I don't know.

When will this happen?
I don't know.
Stay tuned...

Anthology is awesome

And if you've been there, you know. Anthology is this cute little store on State Street that has unique jewelry, craft supplies, art, cards, and other miscellaneum. I was there with a friend the other day and found a potential paint source for the below crane project. GLITTER WATERCOLORS!!! Adding a touch of sheer glitter to a colorful canvas would look great when it catches the light. You've got to like a little sparkle though.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

1,000 Paper Cranes Updated

I have always loved the symbolism of 1,000 origami paper cranes at weddings. Wikipedia tells me that they symbolize the giver's wish for a thousand years of happiness for the new couple, and the internet would not lie to me. My mom reminded me of my love for these cranes when she offered to fold them for me one day, out of the blue, because she is awesome. Besides the symbolism, thinking about the time, effort, and inevitable hand cramps that go into hand-folding 1,000 paper squares makes the gift so special. When was the last time you actually made a wedding gift for someone dear to you instead of buying up the cheapest registry items in Williams-Sonoma? I can safely say that I've never done that. Not that Williams-Sonoma doesn't have some bitchin' cookware, and these gifts are probably more practical and useful. Except for the meatball grilling basket. I just can't wrap my mind around that. And the jalapeno popper roaster. Does anyone own one or both of those and use them? Report back, please. I'm getting off on a bullshit cookware you don't need tangent here...(no disrespect intended if you own one...I own bullshit products too)

Anyway, I stumbled across this piece of artwork today on my favorite, Design*Sponge, and was inspired.

I am in love with the opaque bird cut-outs that overlap and merge to create new swirls of color. Wouldn't it be beautiful to adapt this idea as an alternative to signing a matted picture of the couple? You could cut out 1,000 crane shapes, or any image that is significant to you and yours, from different colored tissue paper or crepe paper and layer them on a canvas or flat surface. This could then be matted for guests to sign, and it would be a sweet reminder of your wedding day to hang in your home. Granted, neither of us are Japanese, but we both have a love of Asian cultures, and the minimalist aesthetic in Japanese design. Maybe this is picking and choosing pieces of a culture to appropriate that is not my own, but that's what Americans are great at! A little of this, a bit of that, and voila! Also, I don't think it's being done in a disrespectful way. At least, that is not my intent. My intent is to honor a tradition that I identify with for whatever reason, even though it isn't part of the culture I was brought up in.

Now, truth be told, I would probably be the first to be extremely frustrated by cutting tissue paper. That's almost asking for a stress-induced meltdown right, cut out a thousand paper birds from the flimsiest material known to craftkind. That's like asking someone to build a suspension bridge out of balsa wood. Totally frustrating. This could probably also be done with stencils and watercolors or gouache if you're more into painting. You'd still get the lovely transparent, blending effect from the thin paint without the pressure of ripped paper (bonus). Has anyone done something similar? I think I need to break out my gouache again and experiment. Thank you costume design class for teaching me about drawing and gouache.

Picture of Kara Maria print via Design*Sponge

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Eloping in Madison: Part 1

Just for fun I'm going to elaborate on the following scenario, since I'm sure there are people out there who want ideas for eloping in this town. So, suppose you have 30 days to use your marriage certificate but you don't want a big production. In fact, you want it to be just you and your betrothed...and perhaps your parents and a few close friends. Where do we start? Let's narrow it down to the major players shall we? Ceremony location, reception/celebration, and a few last minute extras.

The obvious first choice is the courthouse. It conveniently has everything you need already inside, and if you choose one of the officiants listed on the county clerk's website he or she will pick up and deliver your marriage certificate for you. You have to know when your ceremony will take place, where (in this case..courthouse), and who will perform it before you can apply for the license. I don't know if there's an extra fee for using one of these officiants, but that's certainly something you could ask them yourself. You could also hire an outside officiant, like these guys, to marry you, but that would cost a significant amount of extra money. Their basic ceremony fee is $275, and if you're looking to elope partially for monetary reasons that's a decent chunk of change. However, it is an option if you want it. The courthouse is downtown inbetween the square and Lake Monona, so you could easily walk to any number of awesome restaurants, bars, and clubs downtown to celebrate.

You can also get married in one of Madison's many parks for next to nothing. All the information is laid out for you on the website as far as the 15 parks you have to choose from, which ones have shelters, what kind of permits you need, time restrictions, and fees for different locations. The parks department has made their website pretty much a one stop shop for all your wedding/elopement venue needs. Availability does fill up pretty quickly, so if you're planning your elopement at the last minute and you are determined to be married outdoors, it would probably help to go into reserving a park knowing that you won't get first choice of time and day. As long as you are flexible with date, time, and park choice you should hopefully be able to find something lovely.

This has been part 1 of eloping in Madison, WI. Next time let's talk about places to have your elopement/small wedding reception.

The Rules

You can find all the how and where information for getting your Dane County marriage license here.  It took me forever to find out that I had to go to the county clerk's office website and not some state agency.  You have 30 days to use your license after it is issued, and there are a bunch of rules for all the ID you'll need to prove you're you.  Oh, and it's $115...cold hard cash.  I don't think I've ever seen that much cash at one time before, let alone held it in my hand.  I imagine it'll be like that scene in Ghost where Whoopie Goldberg hands that huge check over to the nuns...just grit your teeth and do it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Love Lab

Once again, Design*Sponge, you have come through for me.  I came across this diy flower lab a while ago and loved the idea of giving our reception a hint of a theme of a laboratory.  (I'm surprisingly getting really carried away with this science thing.)  Feast your eyes on this!

I think this is the bee's knees.  It's clean and beautiful and seems like it would be easy to set up yourself.  You could take it one step further and use acutual laboratory equipment instead of containers that only look like beakers and graduated cylinders.  Cute, so cute.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Yes, there is an apple fritter where my head should be. This apple fritter makes life worth living, and it is brought to you by the fine folks at Greenbush Bakery. Greenbush is this tiny bakery tucked into the corner of a strip mall, and you could blink and miss it, but it's worth a special trip. All the reviews I read about it were pretty spot on - there will be surly hipster cashiers who are rude and act like you're bothering them (except for that one guy) even though their job is to sell you donuts (whatever, hipsters), and the donuts will change your life! This is totally true. Apple fritter aside, the boston creams are filled with some of the most velvety, rich, thick custard I've ever had in a donut. This place is no joke. People go out of their way to stop at Greenbush when they drive by Madison from out of state.
This is the kind of local awesomeness I hope to expose everyone to during our future wedding weekend. They would be great as part of a dessert buffet, or a breakfast or brunch. Or, if I'm really honest, just because you have an unchecked need for sugar. I'm sure you can get great apple fritters in your town, but are they as big as your face? Are they locally famous? They may be, but each place does it a little differntly, and that's what's so great about regional flavor. It's specific to your town, your life, and is part of what makes it great. It's so much fun to share these kinds of finds with people and watch their reactions.
Wait, I just had a brilliant thought. Greenbush is close to the zoo, which is free. Grabbing an epic donut and spending the afternoon at a cute, free zoo in a beautiful neighborhood would be a great event for wedding weekend! It costs next to nothing and it's great for children of all ages. Yes! One more idea for the list. For now, I'll just leave you with this...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Father-Daughter Dunk?

As I was thinking about ways to personalize my wedding I thought about the father-daughter dance. It just doesn't feel right for my dad and I because we don't dance together. Plus, the first dance songs tend to come off as more incestuous than sweet. You all know you've heard one. We could, of course, but I have other great memories from childhood. Like Basketball!!!

I spent many weekends with my dad at the park learning how to shoot, so what better way to honor him? See dad, I still got my skills! (Actually I don't. Andrew and I shoot hoops in the gym sometimes, and he kicks my ass evey time. The other guys make fun of me, "Trying out for the WNBA, huh?") I may not be as accurate, but I still have the correct form at least, and that's what he worked so hard to teach me. Having a dad who took the time to teach me and share something he loves with me seems to be a somewhat rare thing, and I am so thankful he did that for me. I think this would be a great option for us instead of a dance and WAY more fun. I don't know his feelings about it, and I kind of hope he doesn't read this and this post gives it away, but I think it would be so much more personal, more us. It would make the "first" about something we truly share rather than simply doing what is expected by the wedding world. Plus, the idea of swaying back and forth for 3 minutes isn't appealing AT ALL. Now, to find a venue with a basketball hoop!

Pictures from Flickr and respectively. How much do you love that bride playing b-ball with her ladies?!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Elopement Daydream

Oh dear readers, I've been thinking about eloping. Again. In fact, that was the first thing we though about. Wouldn't it be great to get married here?

Right on the beach. Sugar white sand, aqua water, and the sea breeze in your hair. Is there anything better? We've talked about eloping, but have sort of decided that our families would be left out. That's not something I want to do because it's about our families too as much as it's about us. I keep thinking about how great it will be to have both our families and friends in our town for a weekend for a giant fun reunion..oh yeah, and there will be a wedding somewhere in there to interrupt the fun. I want to throw a party for my family and friends. I want the ones I love to witness our marriage. But sometimes I want to run away to a tropical island and do the damn thing already! I want to avoid the stress of planning. I'm already not a big fan of large-scale party planning, but maybe i'll feel differently when I'm working on mine. Mostly I'm secretly afraid no one will come.

I've tried to plan get-togethers my whole life and they always fall through. It's so consistent it's like a bad joke. If I plan something, nobody comes or they back out at the last minute. Now, I'm a fun, party loving gal but this is rediculous. I'm afraid, deep down in my heart of hearts, that I will put all this energy into planning and no one will show up because that's what happens to me. Of course I know someone will come. My rational brain knows that having 0 people turn up is highly unlikely as there are people who love us too much to miss it. I am so grateful for that...but still. I have a record.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Marriage Equity

We had the discussion about a week ago. The question that this article got me pondering: should we get married and take advantage of the privileges of being married while it is illegal for gay people to? I'm still not totally sure how I feel. I can see the position on both sides. Andrew reacted with more intensity than I thought. Apparently he'd been thinking about it too.
It forced us to talk about the why's we haven't discussed yet. Why do we want to get married? Why would we not get married? Okay, so, the reasons to get married included the fact that it makes so many things easier (insurance, purchasing big things like a house I would imagine), it's the next step to take in our relationship since we've decided to spend out lives together (yay!), and we want to be committed to each other. I'm leaving out the obvious crazy in love part. Reasons not to get married include the fact that our friends can't. Not everyone who loves is allowed to marry, and that is something about the state of our country that we should all be ashamed of. This presents a serious reason not to get married. We then have to ask ourselves if by getting married we are supporting an unjust system, or if it makes more sense to change it from within.
Addy Fox, who wrote the above article, has decided not to get married for the obvious ethical implications, and I think that is a really valid reason. There is always some value in protest, even if it's not something the world gets to see. Her family and friends will know that she's not getting married, they'll know why, and that's enough. I'm really grateful she acknowledges that this may feel like an empty gesture for some people, but presents her decison as her decision. it's not right for everyone, but it works for her. To be honest, for me it does feel like somewhat of an empty gesture. Here's a short play illustrating what this might look like:

ME: I think that the state of marriage equity in this country is disgusting.
GAY COMMUNITY: Okay, me too.
M: I want to do something about it.
GC: Great! Where are you going to start?
M: I'm not getting married!
GC: .......
M: You're welcome, gay community!

I'm just not sure if I would feel like I'm actually doing anything that would help somebody. To me it would seem more effective to make a donation to LAMBDA legal or something. Maybe gay people really do appreciate it when straight couples don't get married out of protest. I don't know. I don't know if this is ultimately the road we're going to go down. All I know is that it warrants serious consideration.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Questions To Consider

Here are some things to think about for the future.

1) Andrew wanted to have the wedding on the Winter Solstice because it's the longest night of the year; hence, the longest party in theory. Is it cruel to hold a wedding in the dead of winter? Initially I said yes, but then I think about weddings I've been to in the dead of summer that are excruciating because I hate the heat. Some people hate the cold. I suppose it depends on which extreme you revile the most...personal preference and all that. Travel could be an issue, but it could be totally fun (and much cheaper)!

2) Attendants. I liked being one. I understand the desire to honor special people in your life. I still feel like it's more trouble than it's worth. I'd like to find other ways to honor my buddies and avoid having to choose certain people over others. I'm still thinking about it.

3) I want a fun cake too! Andrew has an idea for his groom's cake that's very him and I want one too! I don't want tiers with pillars and sugar flowers. At a wedding show I saw a cake from Craig's Cake Shop in Verona that was a stump with the bride and groom's initials "carved" into the bark icing. How cute is that? It looks awesome too...very realistic.

More on this story as it develops...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Dress

Here it is! Way more bridal than I thought I would end up with, but so much fun to wear. I want it 100% payed off and in my closet so I can start pondering alterations! I thought about trying to make it more sweetheart, but the beads already give you that illusion. I love the ruched wrapping on top and the asymmetrical way it ends. Love, love.

Monday, May 31, 2010

No, thank you.

I am so wearing this on my wedding day, for how could it possibly be complete without a giant crazy diamond...on your head...
I don't think I have to say any more.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lovely Lighting

I am really into the paper lantern look. Not just for weddings, but for lighting options in general. Case in point, these are two of the lamps in my apartment right now.

They're a little bland in that they're not colorful, but I love the shapes and texture. So cool!
Anyway, I was browsing the ads at A Practical Wedding and I came across Allsop Home and Garden. And wouldn't you know it, the next day Meg put up a nice post about this family-owned, environmentally friendly business.

Allsop has lots of beautiful garden and lawn accessories, but I'm really into the solar lanterns. That's Each lantern comes with a solar panel, LED lights, and batteries to get you started. Just let them sit in the sun for a day and you're all set! And boy, are they beautiful...

Yes, please...

I see these in my future.

There are also more colors and shapes to suit your individual taste, as well as some cool silk covered lanterns. I. Love. These. Lanterns. And they're an investment, too. Not only do you get to support a small, eco-conscious business, but you can use these lanterns for every picnic, barbeque, or lazy summer evening you have in your yard. They could even be used inside at night. So many wonderful possibilities without using one watt of electricity.

I hope you're sitting down because I'm going to throw even more awesome onto the pile. You can buy these in Wisconsin (and other states too)! There are several stores across Wisconsin that sell Allsop's products, but that may or may not include the lanterns. Check the website of a local store listed on the Allsop website, or call to see if you can save yourself some shipping.


I want to give a big shout-out to Giovanna from Swoon. She's getting married tomorrow and is having a wonderful time, I'm sure. Congratulations, Giovanna! Wishing you and yours all the best.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sometimes I Hate The Knot!

So here I am, browsing on the internet like you do, and what should I find on the knot? You're either intrigued or groaning and eye-rolling right now. I must admit I did a little of both. I find this little gem:

"No party's complete without a photo booth!"

This is the look I'm giving The Knot right now.

GAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! What did I just say, The Knot?! What did I just say a couple days ago?!! The photo booth is not mandatory! Actually, there are plenty of parites that are more than complete without a photo booth! Before the photo booth concept was ever invented parties existed, and I'm pretty sure the party throwers were completely satisfied with their outcomes.
I didn't really want a photo booth anyway, but now I'm just doing it out of spite. Screw you, The Knot. My party will be complete and fun, and it will not involve a photo booth.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Institutionalized Wedding "Fun"

I was recently talking to an aquaintance who is planning his wedding and he was going over the laundry list of everything they had gotten done. "The invites are in the mail, she got her dress, I rented my tux...and oh yeah, we booked a photobooth," he said without any trace of excitement. Not only was there not excitement, but it sounded like one more obligation in a long list of things you need to have at your wedding. I realized that the photobooth is the latest "must-have" at weddings. I don't know how it happened, but it did. The first time I remember hearing about it was at Christian Aguillera's wedding, and it was a really cool idea! It was something no one had seen before...and then it became a trend. Everyone had the photobooth for a while, and now it has somehow transcended from trend to obligatory "fun" wedding staple.

Once you feel like you have to have something in order to show the world that your wedding was "fun" you're not being true to yourself anymore. Photobooths are inherantly cute, but if it's just something else you feel like you have to book because the wedding world is telling you that it will make your reception fun or you feel like your guests expect it, then it's probably time to think about what you really want. If a photobooth is not your personal idea of fun pick something that is! You've probably already hired a photographer, so what about something that isn't photography oriented? I'm just throwing it out there. Catch it if you want. Throw it back if you hate it.

Anyway, there are a few cool looking photobooth rental companies in Madison that are a little different than your traditional booth. Eventworks has some cool additonal options, like projecting pictures as they are taken onto a screen or wall. The Traveling Photo Booth has a lot of cool features (open back to fit more people, quality light, etc) while maintaining that vintage feel of the old photobooth. Their website is really modern looking and fun to poke around even if you're not considering a photobooth (like me). I'm sure there are more resources, but those are the few that I found.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Imagine Standing Under This...

I can't stop watching Lie To Me. If you haven't watched it yet you really must. Tim Roth is a world renowned body language expert, and he's always being hired by the government to determine who's lying through their facial expressions. Of course he has a sassy, smart team of psychologists and researchers to help him out, too. It's like they're face detectives! It's super cool. It's such a time suck and the episodes are on Netflix and way too available. Anyway, I was watching an episode from season 1 where they're at a Korean wedding and the aisle is lined with beautiful awning-type things and I immediately thought of this...


Christo and Jeanne-Claude set up 7,503 of these gates in Central Park, and I wanted to see them so badly. How great would it be to recreate something like this at a wedding?! I know, it would be awesome.

I like the focal point created by a huppah or defining an aisle, but I'm not Jewish and I'm not crazy about runners. Huppahs have become more mainstream now, and I love the symbolism of starting a new family with your intended under a common shelter. I just had a thought..a gate huppah! Could it happen? Put three of them together with an open front so people can see and there you go! There's planty of wind out here on the prairie to move those babies around, too.

Photo from Christo and Jeanne-Claude's website.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Here are a few other songs that I either rocked out to at Krush Girls, or am hearing now that they could easily be playing at the 40 Watt. These songs will give you that dance party vibe I'm going for.

1901 - Phoenix

Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand

any Lady Gaga song, for sure

Galang - M.I.A.

Read My Mind - The Killers
Are You Gonna Be My Girl - Jet

Hopefully keeping this running list now will help me when it comes to downloading the things later.

More About My CD

Many thanks to Giovanna of Swoon for my mix cd! It's a great mix of songs with everything from Yo La Tengo to The Pretenders to The Roots. I've been listening to it lately when I have to open at 5:30 am as it's fun and gets gradually more energetic. So there it is, firmly planted on my list of opening cd's.
Reading her blog makes me feel like I'm back home. It's about her upcoming wedding, style, life, and other neat things. She lives in Hoboken, NJ which means she can basically spit with some force and hit New York. A lot of the recent reading I've done on other wedding blogs has been about the emotion involved in changing/not changing your name. I don't have a lot of name changing turmoil or identity wrapped up in my name, but I do have a lot of identity wrapped up in being a New Yorker. Also with my Westere European heritage even though my family never practiced anything really traditional. I don't know how that happened, but I strongly identify with being Italian (maybe because that's how I look).
Anyway, I was thnking of ways to incorporate our cultural heritage into the wedding and was having trouble finding things that don't involve money. Here's the playlist from my epic cd.

1) The Wait-The Pretenders*
2) American Music - The Violent Femmes
3) My Doorbell - The White Stripes*
4) Hello Operator - The White Stripes
5) Invisible - Modest Mouse
6) Float On - Modest Mouse
7) Smash Your Head - Girltalk
8) Thought At Work - The Roots*
9) Wave of Mutilation - The Pixies
10) Deceptacon - Le Tigre
11) Summertime - The Sundays
12) We Are The Sleepyheads - Belle and Sebastian
13) The Summer - Yo La Tengo
14) Catch The Wind - Donovan*
15) Northern Sky - Nick Drake*
16) Waltz - Fiona Apple

* = possible DIY DJ selections

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wedding Music from Another Awesome Bride

Yes, that's right. I'm looking at you Giovanna (and I will respond to you when I'm not in the middle of finals). I was involved in a cd exchange started by Anna at Accordions and Lace, and I got this awesome cd from Giovanna in Hoboken, NJ. I'll go into more depth later as I'm running out the door to go to work on this cold, rainy day. Thanks for the mix, and we'll talk more about her selections, our shared New York Italian girl heritage (which is so much a part of my identity), and her stylin' blog later this weekend.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

...Long, Beautiful Hair...

I currently have crazy long hair. So much so that I feel like it's getting in my way. If I maintain its currently insane lengths, I can consider any of the above hairstyles. Clearly, we're looking at either a half up half down pulled back wavy number, or a low sleek bun-like thing with a flower. I'm leaning more towards the half up pulled back look. It's kind of messy sleek and not some kind of anti-gravity architectural feat that has to be pinned and sprayed into the stratosphere. The bun, however, does take me back to my ballerina days. Decisions, decisions...
All pictures from The Knot

Friday, April 23, 2010

A theme?! It's not prom!

Some wise words from my good friend Linda.

I never really got the idea of a theme. Unless you're really doing it up, like a pirate wedding or a Disney wedding, I just never got into it. Thinking about a cohesive theme that has to flow through the whole freaking event with coordinating colors and chachkis to match and elevate gives me a headache. It really does make me think of prom, and we all know how those turn out.
A while ago I got sick of thinking about it and told people my theme was going to be "Shit That I Like." I think it's a good idea. I think just incorporating shit that you like into your wedding will automatically make it personal, meaningful, fun, and beautiful. Take this picture from the Knot. Whoever posted this was so surprised that a wedding without a color scheme could actually *gasp* work. I love it because it falls into the shit I like category, as in "I don't care if it's periwinkle or cerise, just get some color in there." I think it's inviting, fun, and not formal or stuffy at all, which I care about.
Picture from The Knot

Monday, April 19, 2010

Andrew and I bought a Power Ball ticket today and were daydreaming about what we'd do if we won upwards of 200 million dollars. We talked about buying a house, paying off our student loans, making sure our families were financially secure, and taking month-long vacations. It wasn't until about an hour later that he said, "And we could get married!"
We laughed about how this was our final thought about what to do with a billion dollars, but then I thought maybe that was a bad thing.
Obviously to think of it dead last indicates that it's not as important as these other life goals and family, which means that our priorities are inthe right place. I don't think it means we don't care about getting married because we do, but not that much will change. It's not like we have to get used to living with eachother because we've been doing it for over 3 years. We already feel like we're living the way we would be if we were already married. Some days I just want to be married already and plan a party instead. Andrew talked me out of eloping a long time ago, but I still think about it.

Flower Alternatives and Additions

Thanks again, Young House Love, for having such great taste.

I love the color, airiness, and arrangement of these flowers, but what I love even more is the lovely jeweled flowers hiding in the middle. If you held these all in your hand or tied them together with a ribbon, wouldn't it make a stunning bouquet? The creator of this arrangement uses vintage pins, attaches them to wooden skewers or dowels with green floral wire, and wraps the whole "stem" with green floral tape. Here's a really easy DIY to do by yourself or with a group that doesn't require much time or the pressure of creativity, and the results are so beautiful. I'm also loving the reduce, reuse, recycle aspect of the whole thing. I'll have to remember this...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Weddings are Tree Killers

Photo via

So, clearly I have a bias against stationary. It is very pretty and can help set the tone of the wedding, but I personally feel like Big Paper is cashing in on the purported need for menus, programs, the complicated package of 5 cards you get with every wedding invitation, seating arrangement cards (I don't even know what they're called), and all the other paper crap we are made to think we need because it's tradition. I hate thinking of all that wasted paper that will end up in a landfill.

One cool option that's been around for a while are those invitations made with seeds in the paper. Stick it in the ground to reduce, reuse, and recycle. I will be looking for ways to reduce the amount of paper I use, and probably investing in a wedding website of some sort to use for RSVP's.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In Praise of Being Engaged

This is a post I've been meaning to write for some time, but I've been collecting my thoughts until now. Seeing as how I've gotten a temporary reprieve from school work, here are my mojito-fueled thoughts about a long engagement, wedding planning during the engagement process, and stopping to smell the roses.
I am completely enjoying my long engagement. I am in grad school and working full time, and I can't begin to imagine how I would plan a wedding right now. I have to structure all my free time in order to get all my reading done as it is. Thinking about adding cake and food testings, DIY projects, touring venues, writing vows, etc to that makes me tired and it would suck all the joy out of the process. I am enjoying being an engaged person and everything that comes with it rather than someone planning a wedding. Most people I've seen get married in recent years follow the 8-10 month rule (as in 8-10 moths after the engagement there will be a wedding) and I'm sure this is by necessity in some cases. If I were in the throws of planning right now there would be a lot of ideas I would miss because of the time crunch, I would miss the opportunity to deliberate and think about what I really want, and worst of all I would miss being engaged! My missing sense of urgency contributes to my high level of comfort with our long engagement too. I am in no rush for any reason. I'm lucky in that respect.

I didn't think joining the world of engaged people would feel different, but it does. After a four year relationship and 3 years living together, I thought the only palpable difference would be having a ring on all the time. I don't know about you, but I felt immediately different in an excited and deliriously happy kind of way. Everything we had talked about was suddenly happening: lifetime committment, a public and legal expression of love/joining of our families, and building a life together. It's not that these things don't exist if you decide to start wedding planning right away, they totally do, I just think I would be missing out on this time with my intended to enjoy this moment in time and these wonderful feelings of anticipation, deep love, and comfort that I'm having. I have never been like this. I am always thinking 5 steps ahead, so jumping into planning would have been totally natural. I am not usually an in-the-moment kind of gal, so this is new for me...but nice.

I was finally spurred into action to write this post because of this video on Offbeat Bride. While there is definitely some good advice in there for the perpetually anxiety ridden bride, Ariel does say that this can be caused by a long engagement. I agree that having a year or more to mull over what people will think, are these linen colors right, do I have enough food, can drive you mad with worry. I think one answer to this dilemma is know thyself. If you are a worrier and can swing it, get married sooner rather than later. If you want time to think and collect information give yourself that time. That all sounds a little cut and dry, but starting from a point where you know you limits and can work around issues that will drive you crazy is probably a great place to start. Woulda, shoulda, coulda, right? I'm really determined to follow this "make a decision and stick to it" thing, which will also serve you well no matter what your personality is.
I am personally loving all this time I have to deliberate and just be. Anyone else love the long engagement?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Incorporating Madison into the Wedding Weekend

I seem to have strayed a bit from part of the mission of this blog: discuss planning a wedding in Madison using local resources. I think this is because I am still in the very beginning planning stages, and as of now I have no deadline. I can amble around looking at whatever I feel like with no consequences or time restraints. No more! I've been accumulating some ideas from other people to include as possible resources for weddings in this great city.

I forget where this was, but somewhere a Madison bride said she took her guests to a u-pick berry farm, and then used their yield as part of the wedding dessert. Love this idea! It's a fun group project that directly contributes to the reception. Also a great way to get people to mix and mingle.

Several brides have purposefully held their weddings downtown (coincidentally at the same location) for several reasons. Everything you need (hotels, venues, food, entertainment) is within walking distance so no one has to rent a car. Utilizing all that downtown has to offer showcases the city at its best, and also shows out-of-towners why we love this place so much and call it home.

I hope to turn our wedding into a weekend long celebration/mini vacation since everyone will be coming from several states away. I am trying to remember the things I love about Madison and using that as a springboard for planning events, venue selection, food, etc. More to follow as it develops.

Minimal Flower Centerpieces

I have been inadvertantly running into a lot of images of flowers that I love this week. The emerging trend is minimal, architectural, and colorful. Observe...
Photos via The Knot

Love these! However you may feel about The Knot and their questionable advice, you have to admit they have georgeous eye candy. One beautiful, architectural anemone. There are multiple textures between the feathery leaves, smooth petals, and rough gritty dirt to keep it visually interesting. I haven't seen a single flower in a glass with the dirt exposed like this before, and I'm really into this classy way to bring the outdoors in. I love the simplicity and elegance of it (which is our shared aesthetic). Then I found this:
Photos and other beautiful things via Eat Drink Chic
How do I love thee, individual and small groups of stunning flowers in a bud vase? I'm lucky my taste leads me towards budget-friendly flower arrangements. What's great about these is that you could do all the arrangements yourself the day before or morning of. Simply go to the fabulous Dane County Farmer's Market to browse and support your local independent farmer, choose your lovelies, and fill glasses with dirt. Sounds fun to me. You could use pretty budget-friendly stemware you already own, or hit up St. Vinny's and Goodwill to find cheap and eco-friendly alternatives. It would also be a way for people who want to help, have basic motor skills, but aren't crafty to contribute to a more communal wedding bash. They say that people enjoy something more if they make/help create it, which I think is true. It would be great if everyone could feel a small piece of ownership of the wedding day, even if it's as simple as "Yeah you like those centerpieces! I scooped that dirt in myself!" It would help add to the feeling of community support and fun I am hoping for. To illustrate, Shelby over at Midwedst offered this lovely post about her wedding flowers. I think it's so cute and perfect that her fiance's aunt is calling them "love flowers," for what else would you call flowers being hand planted especially for your wedding bouquet? That's what I'm talking, guest/family involvement, community. It will be thrilling to see how her bouquet turns out!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I promise you Krush Girls

For those of you who went to UGA, or have spent a decent amount of time in Athens, GA you will know what I'm talking about. For those of you who haven't here's the rundown. Krush Girls is an amazing duo of DJ's who throw the best dance parties in Athens in my humble opinion. The music was great and there were always great songs you haven't heard in a while mixed in with new ones. The absolute best part was that it wasn't a meat market like so many bars.

They always look like this above. Just people getting down without caring who thinks what or wondering who's watching them. I haven't experienced this kind of freedom in a space this public, and I miss it. I am not one to whistfully remember college as the best years of my life, but that atmosphere of freely dancing till you drop with your girls is one I really miss. Every time Krush Girls made an appearance we were there, and we had the best time. I think we left every time saying how this one was the best one, not the party last month we thought was the most fun. Only the MIA concert has ever surpassed it.
I desperately want to recreate this atmosphere of non-judgmental fun at the reception, and I think conjuring the spirit of Krush Girls will do just that. For those of you who remember Krush Girls, leave me some song suggestions. I plan on dancing like a maniac, so bring your dancing shoes and your game face because it is ON! We're planning on doing a DIY DJ with our MP3 players, so hooray for complete creative control! For those of you who don't dance, there will be board games et al.

Photos courtesy of Nuci's Space.

Reality Check

One of the many things I love about our relationship is that Andrew and I call each other on our a very safe and loving way, of course. Case in point:
As we were developing a food shopping list yesterday, I added that we needed to go to the mall and get shampoo. Expensive, salon brand, herbal shampoo that we've been indulging in with our extra funds. He gave me that you've got to be kidding look (everybody's significant other has one) and reminded me that I was just saying that we need to cut back because I just started grad school, and he hopes to start in a little over a year. I didn't like to be reminded of this, but he's absolutely right.
This is a tiny example, but we both routinely serve as a reality check for the other. We keep each other honest and on track. We help remind each other what's important (school, not shampoo), and I think this bodes well for the time when we do get down to the nitty gritty of wedding planning. It's easy to get carried away if you don't have something or someone to ground you. Should I spend $1.00 extra per invitation for the cooler paper? Do we have enough flowers for lush centerpieces? Whatever the issue becomes, one of us will always be there to tell the other who cares. I'm also confident that this will help us achieve a happy and successful marriage. We each feel safe confronting the other with a dissenting opinion, but it's always done in a caring way. It's never used as an excuse to attack or put down the other person. This is a small way in which I'm reminded that I have found the best person for me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Got A Dress!

I was in Atlanta this past week, and I got a dress! I am so excited! I went to Bride Beautiful in Atlanta with my mom and sister, and I ended up deciding on something a bit more bridal than I had originally been thinking of. On my first shopping adventure I didn't feel very much like a bride, if you'll recall. I tried on some completely different styles at this shop, and I definitely felt more like a bride. One-shoulder, huge poufy crinoline (just for fun and it was crazy), and dresses with beads. I guess I needed something a little more traditional after all. P.S...this store has a great selection at great prices. I paid less than half of what I had originally budgeted for my dress.

My original plan to buy something on the cheap that could ideally be altered into a functional party dress was a good one, and one I planned to follow through with, but I didn't have that feeling you get when you find something that is perfect for YOU. No, I am not in search of the illusive magical bridal high that you're supposed to have over every little detail; however, I wanted to buy a dress that I would feel excited about wearing instead of focusing only on the reusable aspect. Having the right dress and being comfortable is important to me.

I am also really glad I went with my mom and sister because they helped me pick. I could easily have gone to several stores and picked something I liked at each, but I would have had trouble committing. I am somewhat indecisive about big things, and thinking "yeah, this is nice, but what if there's something else at another store..." is so something I would do. I am sticking with the advice I took to heart and committing to my decisions. I love my dress and I'm excited about wearing it. It has all the aspects of other dresses I liked and nothing I hate. I want to alter it slightly when it comes in, but that's easy enough to have done in town.

When both your mom and sister spontaneously cry, you know you've found the right dress.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Trouble With Vintage

It seems that the dominant trend on the indie white girl wedding blogs, as well as the hipster scene, is vintage. Vintage is all the rage and it's a great way to save money, resources, and cut down on consumption. One of my issues with vintage is that I just don't fit the proportions. My hips and my bust are way too big for those little dresses! Plus, I'm tall. Vintage is pretty much out for me, plus I'm not crazy about the look for myself. I'm just wondering why this has become the mainstay of so many alternative wedding blogs. It seems that if you're a mid to late 20's woman getting married and you have a blog, then your aesthetic is largely vintage leaning towards the 50's look. When did the alternagirl wedding blogosphere become so homogonized? Where are the African American, Indian, Asian wedding blogs? Can someone tell me because I haven't found them. Are only white 20-something vintage-loving women blogging about getting married on their own terms? That can't be possible.
I am a reader of some of these blogs, and while I find them very inspirational as well as a forum for discussing issues surrounding marriage and why the Wedding Industrial Complex has made getting married such a crazy process, I'm longing for something a little different. If you love vintage that's great! Go for whatever makes you you, but personally I'm looking for a little more variety. There are a million resources for vintage shops, people who make vintage style clothes, etc, etc. If I wanted that I'd be set, but I wish the blog world would showcase something a little different. For me right now, it's pretty much OffbeatBride or bust. Are you out there non-vintage wedding bloggers? Wedding bloggers of color?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I saw this Ninja Bride cake on and I thought Andrew would like it. I showed it to him and we had the following exchange:
Me: Check it out! A ninja cake!
Him: That ninja looks pretty happy. He must have just killed something.
I love him.

Kate Middleton Wears Better Hats Than You

And me. And pretty much anybody. British ladies have this grand tradition of wearing fabulous hats at jaunty angles for special occasions, and I think that's awesome.
Check out her friend on the right! Straight class.

I am secretly in love with hats, but I never wear them because the cowboy hat is the only style that looks good on me. It's a sad, sad thing. It's because of my ears. They're pretty big and stick out a bit at the top. This past December a kid said I could be an elf with my big ears. Yeah. So, I don't wear hats, but I really want to.
I mean, come on! That hat is killer! I'm really into the idea of wearing a cocktail hat especially since I'm not crazy about veils. There's got to be something that would balance out my crazy ears. I couldn't find a millinery in Madison, but there are two schools in town with fashion design programs (UW and MATC). I don't know if they teach hat making, but it's possible. This would be a great way to use a local resource and support a poor college student.
Awesome. How can you not love that?! This last one is a little more Kentucky Derby than I'd go for, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things I Will Not Do at My Wedding

1) Bouquet toss - I loathe the bouquet toss. Any tradition that rounds up the single ladies like cattle and makes them fight tooth and nail for a bunch of flowers to signify that she, the lucky one, will be the next to get married makes me want to vomit. Marriage is an important and valuable step in a relationship if it feels right to you, but couples who choose not to get married and single women have relationships that are traditionally undervalued but just as valid. I didn't like being made a spectacle of as a single woman, and I refuse to negate your choices, future single female guests at my wedding. So, all the single ladies *all the single ladies* (I also think Beyonce is single-handedly reinforcing gender steroetypes with this crappy catchy song and others, but that's another tale for another time) you may attend without fear.

2) Garter toss - I also refuse to make a mock sexual display of myself and my husband as he ventures comically up my dress to pull off my garter and throw it to one of his dude friends. Gross. I have seen this done at other weddings and thought it was cute because the couple was into it, but when I think about doing it myself I again want to vomit.

I basically won't be tossing anything.

3) Have a head table - This is the traditional way to go, and may be a good organizational choice for larger or more formal weddings, but I hate the exclusivity and on displayness of the head table. The rest of the guests always look to the head table for their cues as to when they can eat, get up, etc. I want people to wander around freely, mingle, and not feel constrained by faux formality. That's not how we roll. I also really hate being stared at, and this would inevitably happen at a head table.

That's all the stuff I hate for now! There will be more later, I'm sure.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Becca Dilley Photography

I'm really excited to share Becca Dilley Photography with you guys because Andrew and I had a fantastic experience working with her. She is a Madison native who now lives in Minneapolis, but she loves shooting here so much she doesn't charge for travel to Madison (which I just found out from her blog). I first saw her pictures when I was an intern at the UW Press. She and her husband published a book called Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin, and I was immediately stunned by her pictures. The lighting is georgeous and she uses a lot of interesting angles, but mostly I feel like she captures the truth of a moment with her photography...if that makes any sense.
To me, that means that instead of seeing a posed couple looking head-on into the camera in every shot, you may see a couple kissing but feel the emotion of the moment. I know that's the goal of photography, and I don't have a concise way to say it, but I feel like her pictures cut through any artiface and display what's important about capturing moments on film: human connection. Becca's images convey emotion in a way that I haven't seen a lot of wedding pictures do. Her website speaks for itself.
Photography is really important to me in general, but especially for our wedding. I love having a visual record of important events and people in my life to refer to. While this is a priority, I do not want to spend an arm and a leg. I feel like her prices are very fair, especially for an experienced wedding photographer. She could charge a lot more, but doesn't (and please don't start!) Also, booking Becca means you have her for the entire day. This is also really important to me in choosing a photographer because I do not want to pick and choose which 6 or 8 hours of the day will be the most important and need documentation. I'd rather have someone floating around all day snapping away at people laughing and having fun.
Plus, Becca herself is also really fun! We hit it off right away and were pretty much laughing the whole time. If you or your intended don't like to have your pictures taken she may be a good choice for your big day. Andrew hates having his picture taken and always makes weird faces, but he was really comfortable through the whole session and had a really good time. Having this level of comfort with someone so intimately involved in your wedding is really important, and we got there in no time. She also uses her skills and business to raise money for charity. We got our session by donating to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through her blog fundraiser. Recently, she also donated money for each comment left on her blog to Doctors Without Borders. Gotta love a girl who runs her own business and gives back.
I could only get a couple shots from our session up, but you get the idea. Check out her website, for serious.

I'm not feeling white...

When I last gushed about my potential wedding dress I threw out the idea that I may not want to wear white. I like the idea of injecting a little color and OH. MY. GOD. Look at this shit. I know, right! Gold. A gold wedding dress. Not Vegas sequins gold, but somewhat antiqued, burnished, more subtle gold. This is so lovely, and definitely something I would wear. You can't dye something gold can you? The search continues.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

There is some great advice from this post over at A Practical Wedding. Meghan writes of her wedding:

"Another thing that we did that I think helped a bunch was to make decisions and stick with them...Bought a dress-done. Picked the caterer-done...I had to stop worrying about the choices we were making and just let things be done."

Love this advice because really, with the wedding powers that be shoving pictures and advertisements down your throat you could constantly change your mind. This leads me into my second attempt at wedding dress shopping. I say attempt for a reason.
I heard about Just For You consignment store in Verona, and I really wanted to check it out for the obvious budget and environmentally friendly reasons. Once I went on my first shopping trip, I figured it would be nice to get a dress picked and in the closet. The more I have checked off my list when we set a date, the better, right? I called to get their hours and the woman asks me when I'm getting married. We haven't set a specific date, but we're thinking tentatively fall 2011. I tell her this and the following happens:

Her: I'm going to tell you something that's going to sound kind of weird, but hear me out, okay?
Me: O-kaaay...
H: (adamently) You're looking for a dress too early. You need to stop.
M: (silence)
H: I know how it is, you just got engaged, you're excited, and the first thing you want to do is get a dress. What I'm trying to save you from is buying something now, growing to hate it, and having to buy another one later.
M: ...Well....that certainly gives me something to think about. Thank you.

I've seen it happen on tv where the bride wants a dress for the ceremony and a different one for the rehearsal. That's your perrogative if you want a costume change, but I do not understand growing to hate a dress you liked enough to buy and then ditching it for a whole new one! At least think about alterations or something to make it more like what you want. Come on now, people!
Obviously she wouldn't have given me this advice if she hadn't seen this happen before, but the assumption and the delivery were all wrong. She actually said the words "you need to stop" and I'm pretty sure she doesn't know me or my plans. Also, I don't like being told what to do, especially be strangers with an air of "oh, you'll see" if I don't follow their well-meaning but totally out of place advice. I imagine it's akin to people without children telling an expectant mother how to parent. The tone of this-is-what-brides-do-and-you're-a-bride-so-you-will-obsess-over-your-dress completely turned me off in all of three minutes. Sometimes I feel like I should cut her more slack, but if this is how she views a bride simply asking for her store's hours I can't help but feel it would color the whole experience. I may end up going there in the interest of investigating another local resource and saving money, but i'll check eBay first.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oh Design*Sponge, how I love thee. But first, some background. Andrew is a science guy, and I am a literature girl. For a while now I've been thinking about different ways to incorporate Andrew's love of science into our wedding. One of the first presents he ever gave me was a necklace inside of a test tube he made himself. How cute is that?! I still cherish that test tube. Based on that memory I half-jokingly threw out the idea of test tube rack centerpieces that would act as bud vases...and he loved it! Score 1 for team science, but in my head it looked kind of kitschy (remember the wooden racks from high school chemistry?). Enter Design*Sponge stage right with a beautiful take on this idea:
All you have to do is change the base, and it becomes an elegant test tube rack. The tutorial is here, and it's so easy to accomplish by yourself or with a buddy. If elegance is not your thing, you could easily change the base and flowers to suit your style. The other great thing is that you don't need that many flowers to fill a test tube and get a full, lush look. It would be equally striking as a more minimalist, modern centerpiece with a single flower in each tube. I'm thinking a metal rack, or a couple of those single test tube holders crowded together.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Local Wedding Ring Resources: Delivered

I promised a wedding ring round-up a while back, and now I'm getting around to it. Oops. A simple internet search yielded tons of results, but here are a few of the stand-outs.

The Jewelers Workshop - This place sounds like a ton of fun. Not only can you custom design your own jewelry, be involved in every step of the process, and walk away with a unique handmade piece, but you can contribute old or donated jewelry to the making of the new piece. The trade-in value will help ease the cost, and the sentimental value of wearing a wedding ring made from pieces donated from the ones you love is too good to pass up. Plus, Richard Armstrong, the man who started and owns Jewelers Workshop, is from Huntington, Long Island (aka my hometown)! Enough said. Go Yankees!

Capital City Coin and Jewelry - I couldn't find a ton of information on this place, but they are advertised as having custom design services, too. They also buy old gold, so recycling old jewelry may also be possible to contribute to your custom design.

Studio Jewelers - This is another store I would definitely check out. These guys not only buy old gold, but if you take your trade-in as store credit you get an extra 20%. What a great way to finance your custom wedding rings. A big selling point for me is that Studio Jewelers also deals in conflict-free diamonds. As I said before, if I had known about blood diamonds before I bought one, I would have only bought conflict-free. They also have Eli the shop cat to cuddle during your visit. Bonus!

I think any one of these stores would offer a fun experience with personalized results. Since I already have wedding rings and I am an earring freak (I have over 30 pair) it might be fun to custom design a knock out pair of wedding day earrings made from donated gold. I like the symbolism of blending two new families through jewelry contributions into something new and special.
Pictures from and respectively

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dress Shopping #1: Premiere Couture

This is kind of how dress shopping felt-a little blurry and kind of a whirlwind. Maybe it's because it was my first serious wedding related shopping trip. Did anyone else have this experience?
This is in no way a reflection of my experience at Premiere Couture. Getting a coupon at a wedding show with an expiration date enticed me to make an appointment. I fell in love with a simple, sassy Nicole Miller dress at the show and was utterly shocked to find that it was well below my $1500 arbitrary dress budget. This dress allowance is in no way based on any kind of arithmetic. I simply guessed what I could spend on a dress and still sleep soundly at night. I've also prioritised our attire as something we care about more than..say...menus and seating charts and stationary. My goal is also to find a wedding dress that can be taken up, dyed, and turned into a party dress for all future occasions. If I could find a great dress within my budget and get 10% off why not get the dress shopping out of the way, right? Remind me to tell you a story about the other point-of-view later.
Anyway, my dressistant asked me what I was looking for/not looking for and my price range, and let me tell you...she delivered. She did not show me one dress over $1500, but there was still a huge range of styles to choose from. I was a little concerned about that since my price limit is on the cheap side of wedding dresses, but I tried on 8 or 9 entirely different styles in my $ range.
I was also worried that I was going to be pressured to buy in a smarmy slick sales-type way, but this never happened. She was much more concerned with my happiness than the price tag or sealing the deal. She was also very knowlegable about body types and the way different fabrics, cuts, and styles worked on me. I really felt like I was being taken care of. I did get to try on the Nicole Miller, and oh my God I found a winner. It is everything I wanted-no pouf, form-fitting, v-neck, open back. It is so f'ing beautiful and it fit my personality and my, but it's sassy! There's a bit of a decolletage issue, if you catch my drift, but my dressistant informed me that this could be fixed with a panel of lace or scrap silk from the hem. I also specifically remember saying that I don't care about the neckline issue. I'll find a way to wear it. *dreamy sigh* I may wear that dress yet. In case you couldn't tell, I am one satisfied customer.
One of my friends I invited along asked me if I felt like a bride, and I think I kind of said yes, but I'm not sure. Upon reflection, I kind of felt like I was playing dress-up and I suppose that's true. I hardly ever dress that fancy. I don't have galas to attend or premieres at which I need to make an appearance. I also have been asking myself the "do I want to wear white" question. I love neutrals and earth tones accented with pops of bright color, and the idea of that on a dress is very appealing. I also avoid white clothing like the plague in everyday life because I get it dirty. The color white has no symbolic meaning for me, but it is part of the iconic bride image, and I may want to take this opportunity to drape myself in a stain prone color just to prove to myself that I can wear white incident-free.

P.S. - Premiere Couture recently had a trunk show featuring a designer who uses sustainable fabrics, and there are dresses featured on their blog made in the USA if that's something you are taking into consideration as you shop. My other friend said she wished she'd known about the store so she could have shopped there for her wedding dress. Definitely check it out, you guys.