Thursday, September 30, 2010

Engagement shoot - scheduled!

Now that the leaves are changing color, it's time to think about our fall engagement shoot with Heather Fowler. I finally remembered to email her about a late October shoot and it's set up for a Wednesday near the end of the month. Another reason why we love our photographer: she suggested a 4pm shoot to capture the best light of the day. It's something I feel strongly about. After all, the golden hour makes for some terrific shots.

Our location is a state park full of grassy meadows, open fields, stands of tall trees and a dramatic stone wall. Mr. P wants to visit the park to scout locations (I know, crazy right?) and snap photos. Done, done and done. I'm on board. We haven't gone yet but I have several archived albums, including a fall shoot from November 2008.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Birthday dinner at Terrain

I'm loving the crayon candles. It looks like I'm five.
(Better than Swiss cheesing the top of the cake with 29 candles.)

We dined at Terrain last night for my real birthday dinner. (More details on our super-tasty BYOB wine here.) A month ago, I heard they would be participating in the Main Line Restaurant Week and suggested to Mr. P that we go with friends. And it fell on the week of my birthday! What a coincidence... Weeks passed without further discussion and I forgot I even mentioned it until he became secretive about our restaurant reservation. Secretly, I hoped that's where we were headed.

Oh noz!

My stomach is in knots with sympathetic worry for our friends marrying on the beach this Saturday. Hoping the storm skims over our coastline, if it stays on its current course.

TD16: You are NOT allowed to stall out over Delaware or otherwise create problems.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Yellow fever

Celebrating my one and only birthday as an engaged lady. Next year when I say I'm 29 again, it won't be true. (Thoughtful Mr. P surprised me with yellow daisies - our wedding color, if we have such a thing. The second bunch of yellow flowers, from someone else, were not coordinated with his. Apparently there is a rumor floating around that I like yellow...)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Blue laws and bridal stores

Every time we're in north Jersey visiting family, we drive past so many stores I'd love to go into. But they're always closed! WTH?! Because of the county's blue laws, retail establishments selling non-perishables are not permitted open on Sundays. Well, that is really inconvenient for this out-of-town shopper! I'll look forlornly at my favorite furniture and home goods stores, parking lots empty. But recently I've noticed bridal stores whizzing past. Let's stop there instead!


Lucky me when a Saturday morning opportunity presented itself. Next to the Container Store was Bijou Bridal. That's just cruel, making me choose between those two stores!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Color duel

I’m a green girl. Celadon, moss, jade, kelly, verdis gris... The largest section of my closet and jewelry collection is devoted to this color. The emerald is my favorite gemstone and diamond cut. British racing green on an old Jag – be still my heart.

swatches via 100 Layer Cake

But it wasn’t always my favorite! The chromatic shift started in my mid-20’s. My old standby, blue, became less appealing as I gravitated toward new green. It’s fresh, full of energy yet calming and a chameleon with tremendous range. (In fact, the human eye is capable of differentiating more shades of green than any other color. Green wavelengths between 507-555 nanometers coincide with the most sensitive visual perception of the eye. Maybe I should've warned you I was about to go geeky on you.)


It’s a natural (hah!) choice for utilizing in our wedding. I was all about green for bridesmaid dresses… until we found our venue and set a date. Our summer garden wedding is already filled with so much green that a grass green-clad ‘maid would disappear into the foliage. After discussing with level-headed BM R, we scrapped green as a leading lady.

But what to replace it with?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Something old...

When FMIL visited for Valentine's Day 2010, she presented me with her mother's Bride's Magazine Summer issue from 1941. The magazine hadn't seen the light of day in decades. Sadly, Mr. P's grandmother passed shortly after our engagement in November 2009. The magazine was found when she and her sister were sorting through her things with their father. And it disappeared soon after - before anyone could look at it! FMIL thought it was gone for good. She asked after it and her father said he knew where it was and had a plan for it. She chalked it up to forgetfulness. Until... he produced it some months later explaining he had tucked it away for the new bride (omg, that's me) and instructed her to pass it on.

I was afraid to touch the envelope and magazine without white gloves to keep oils off the 70 year old pages. Instead of socializing with Mr. P and everyone else, I discretely spun my chair around to look at the pages in private. What a relic! A calla lily from her bridal bouquet was pressed between the pages. "That flower is way older than me..." I couldn't believe what I was holding. Instant family heirloom.

Less talky, more pictures.

My, oh my. How things have changed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Garden of Lust

Does this ever happen to you? You see a store that you're dying to check out, but never get around to it? Well, I finally did it. While we were pre-registering, I begged to peek into the trendy nursery around the corner: Terrain @ Styer's. Styer's was/is a legendary local gardener's resource for years and was recently purchased by Urban Outfitters so the grounds, shop and cafe have a very liberal sprinkling of Anthropologie style. Which just happens to be the look we're going for on our June day.

(allium, fiddlehead fern and mikado)

Lots of design inspiration! Giant blooms of allium, moss and fern terrariums, orchids galore and mounds of succulents. Can I live here, please? Serious garden lust.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pre-registering: the overachiever's approach to registering

Not yet ready to register? Why pre-register, of course! At least if you're an overachiever... and it's 14 months before your wedding.

After booking our photographer and finding our venue, I was on a streak. It felt good. And I wanted it to continue. Luckily, my suggestion to visit a few stores to preview their inventory met with success. Off we went to Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn to scope out flatware and plates! Mr. P was wonderful and had opinions on each item's usefulness or pro/cons - no sarcasm here. This is a helpful when you're staring down a wall of forks or toasters with a myriad of options. It's like the toothpaste aisle all over again.

Too many options!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Just shoot me

Before Mr. P ever popped the question, I knew a photographer would be one of our Big Three vendors. A love of photography runs deep in my family. Growing up, Dad documented every birthday, family trip, and milestone with camera and/or videocam in hand. There are thousands of photos of us archived at my parents' house. (Which I cannot wait to dig through for projects!) Dad's dad, Pépère, had a serious manual photography hobby. When he passed, Dad inherited his equipment, which included an old Nikon FM that I adopted.

Man, I miss this camera

My first "grown-up" purchase after high school was a Sony Cybershot that went everywhere followed 4 years later by a Canon EOS 300D (still in use). I've definitely followed in Dad and Pépère's footsteps so choosing a wedding photographer was a task I did not take lightly.

Friday, September 17, 2010

High-fives and Hugs

After striking out at so many venues, we started to question if we'd ever find a place to get married. Location is the all-important decision that determines so much: date, attire, food, colors... on and on. If we caved on location, would our wedding still reflect us? And what else would we have to settle for?

Bridesmaid R and I discussed the pros/cons of the many venues. Nothing was clicking. We were running out of viable options. She had seen photos of a friend's wedding at this gorgeous venue, but couldn't remember the name of it. I'd forgotten about it in a week's time, but she followed through (beseechingly emailed the bride) and recommended I check it out. Okay, many well intentioned friends and associates have recommended venues/vendors and none of them panned out. Things were about to turn around!

The mysterious venue was revealed to be...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Yet another venue visit. Today we me the event coordinator at Bellevue for a tour of the mansion. This venue is much closer to what we're looking for: beautiful grounds, outdoor space for a ceremony and dinner plus a gorgeous interior.

Main foyer

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Snotorious B.I.G.

There was an abundance of snow this winter. Need a refresher?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Something's cookin'


To say that we love eating is stating the obvious. Everyone enjoys food! But cooking is a completely different animal. Before you can eat, you have to purchase and plan, then find the desire AND time... Once you've tackled those hurdles you've got prep, wash, chop, season, add heat and assemble. While you're at it, try to get everything to finish at the same time! Given all of this, why is it so surprising to learn other couples don't cook (alone or together)? We'd always assumed making meals together was automatic. You've gotta eat - why not do it together!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bachelorette at the Beach

Not mine! Don't freak out - we haven't moved up the date or have plans to elope. Friends of ours are getting married in less than a month and this weekend is the low-key bachelorette getaway. Mr. P is skeptical it won't stay low-key for long, given we're headed to Dewey Beach... How much trouble could we conceivably get into? (Don't answer that.)

(personal photo)

Thursday, September 9, 2010


The 2010 snowstorms really snarled our plans for venue hunting. In my mind, we lost two months of boots on the ground time. And I had this nagging feeling that our elusive venue was being previewed at thisveryminute by a bride and groom who were prepared to write out a check immediately to reserve it. It was probably a really bad case of cabin fever. (Next year, I ought to get away somewhere warm so this doesn't happen again.)

Since we'd only checked out three true venues and two not-so-realistic options, we decided to choose three of our favorites for round two visits in early March. Hagley (yes, another DuPont property) was first up. It was another case of "If I'd known this was here, I would have stopped by sooner". Our first impression of the 235 acres was that it is a shame they don't permit outdoor weddings. Not even ceremonies. No, not even if you bribe them with lots of money. Which we don't have.

Happy Birthday Bridesmaid R!

May you always be "classy as sh*t"!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Valentine's Day 2010

In the middle of winter's many snowstorms, we hosted a Valentine's dinner for four of our friends. Four bottles of red wine, Sauternes, port, cherry lambic and miscellaneous beer flowed freely while we noshed on a sizable beef tenderloin, roasted veggies, antipasta, caesar salad plus a chocolate layer cake with hazelnut brittle for dessert.

Mmmm, appetizers.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Harry's Savoy Bridal Expo

1/31/10: Lots of snow overnight. Made a mess of the roads. Mr. P's mom was going to accompany me to the Harry's Winter Bridal Expo (my second) but the weather kept her downstate at the beaches. Ever the gentleman, he offered to go in her place. I wouldn't have asked him to go to such an overtly girly event, but he was game. Do you think he was a little curious?


By going later in the day, we missed most of the crowds. Both of Harry's ballrooms and guest areas were utilized for this paid event. The vendors were concentrated in the ballrooms and thus so were the frenzied brides and family. (I must say this is an unappealing aspect of wedding preparations.) We stood at the edge of the ballroom, unsure about entering the fray and already overwhelmed. Mr. P scanned the room, silently counting, then announced, "I'm one of five guys here." He grinned and reassured me he was happy to be here, participating.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Venues, meet GoogleDocs.

When we're not touring venues, I'm keeping track of the misc data in a spreadsheet so we're better able to compare them. Because that's what I do... organize and plan. Thanks Google Docs!

Initially, Winterthur seemed like an outrageous option, but when it was broken down into what you get for the money, quality of service and reputation, it surpasses the cheaper options (at less desirable locations). Really need to crack down on the budget and guest list. Hoping that the hold-up with my folks is just them waiting to see the average costs of other sites before deciding.

A handful of venues still need to get back to us with costs, inclusions and restrictions. It will be the fastest way to rule out a site without a visit, which is smart when you consider this is the girl that brainstormed a 60+ venue list.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Secret garden hosts a wedding?

Shortly after visiting the DCCA, we were onto our second impromptu scouting trip of the day - the Italianate formal gardens and reflecting pool at Gibraltar. All the years I've lived around the corner, I never ventured in past the stone privacy walls. What an idiot I was!

Run down buildings,
now slated for massive renovation into commercial space

This place is gorgeous, even in January... without the beds tidied up and no flowers. (No one wants to see photos of a garden in winter, so I've swapped the originals with more seasonally appropriate images.) It has a forgotten/secret garden feel, which works well to satisfy the quirkiness aspect of our dream venue. Lots of amazing spots for a ceremony thanks to the "rooms" Marian Coffin designed.

Spring and summer

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Edgy, art museum explored

For those of you keeping track, we've visited three venues already. Because our industry has a seasonal slow down after the holidays, our January-March weekends are full of blissful free time. We decided to use our time wisely and pop into a venue last minute.

The Delaware Center for Contemporary Art downtown near the developing riverfront. The views outside the building are nothing spectacular - half-complete construction sites, parking lots and vacant land. Wintertime doesn't help. However, we are not interested in the exterior here. The DCCA's urban contemporary facade with corrugated metal and exposed beams hints at what's inside.