Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Falling flat: a cake story

Pinning down a baker has proved tricky. Our venue recommended Baker #1, a popular bakery with a great pedigree, but offered us the option of using a credit toward whomever we wish. Since we knew nothing about wedding cakes or the process, we started off with Baker #1. We were still a year out and hadn't even found my dress, let alone picked colors or flowers. In our initial email, we emphasized that the flavor of the cake was more important than the appearance. And we were more than willing to pay for the privilege of a tasting. Just let us know the cost and when would be a good time. And that's where Baker #1 dropped the ball.

A cake that has fallen. Quite literally.

Monday, November 29, 2010

We need a wedding

Our holiday weekend in New Jersey was meant to end on Friday morning, but it's late Monday night and we're just now returning. Tragedy struck Thanksgiving night. Mr. P's grandfather suffered a fatal heart attack, which we unfortunately (and fortunately) witnessed. This is the third Thanksgiving in a row that we have spent in mourning. (It's the fourth death in 3 years for the family.) I'm beginning to think there is a black cloud over the holiday and our engagement.

To say we are exhausted is putting it lightly.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble gobble

We're out of town for a few days so posting is on hold. Lots of late-night entertaining (ah, here come the holidays!) has kept me from building up a cache of vacation posts. Once we're back, I'll make it up to you! In honor of the gluttonous holiday before us, I'll have two cake-related posts, including a tasting, for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Goldilocks of wedding gowns

Whose been wearing my wedding gown? Uhm, no one, that's who! *

One of the inherent problems with choosing an uncommon wedding dress is you don't have the benefit of seeing it on other brides. Everyone has different taste but seeing how other women accessorize it is oh so helpful. I'm talking about the veil, shoes, hairstyle, jewelry, makeup and more. I'm visual (and a planner) so naturally I googled all the possible name combos to find photos of this elusive gown. Here's what I found:

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Heart Paper Art

Collages by Helen Musselwhite

Probably the easiest to attempt out of everything on this page, but I'm not fooling myself. It's still hard. And time consuming.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rittenhouse, a year later


Smack dab in the middle of the park is the guardhouse.
Where Mr. P proposed.
In front of everyone.

Happy Engage-iversary

In what simultaneously feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago, Mr. P got down on one knee in the middle of a Philadelphia park and asked me to marry him.

We're heading back to Philly today to remind us of the what and why behind our decision while remembering our past and planning for the future. (My camera is coming with me this time!) As I type this, the church bells at St. Thomas are pealing. I can't help but think of weddings every time I hear the bells.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Something in the water

With almost 2 full years of engagements and weddings, our circle of friends and family averages a wedding every 2.3 months. We're in the middle of the celebrations: 6 down, 4 to go. It's a lot of showers, cards, gifts and vacation time. When I bring this up with anyone in outside of my generation, there is no sympathy. Instead, it's a "been there done that" attitude and a variety of explanations:

1. It's cyclical. What does that even mean? We're not cicadas.
2. Everyone is the same age so of course they'll do the same things at the same time. This is so not the case! The age range of these couples runs from 24-50. We have friends that are far older who haven't begun to think of settling down and younger friends with several children. When you get married has little to do with age and more about where you are as a person. Sorry, I just don't like sweeping generalizations...
3. You're just more aware of it since you're getting married. Also crap. Looking back over the last 10 years, it's been one wedding (at most) a year -- not every 2 months.

All together now

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bridesmaid Revisited

Quick recap: The 'maids and I thought their gowns were all set when we walked out of the doors at Priscilla. They'd been measured, gave their contact information, approved the color and even agreed on the same gown (save for a small difference in the skirt). Then I received an email that changed all of that.

Things happen for a reason. I wasn't feeling the first choice so this setback wasn't actually a bad thing. It gave me a chance to regain control of the creative direction. (That sounds awful, but true.) I knew what gown to order. It was an early favorite that wasn't given strong enough consideration. I didn't speak up even though it was my favorite... Making sure everyone was happy was more important. Lesson learned. Now that we were on the same page, I had their blessing to pick the back-up:

PB 415

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shoe kismet

Aside from keeping my feet happy and having some style, I don't have too many requirements of my shoes. Why would my wedding shoes be any different? I am not one to suffer for fashion. My high arches turn even sneakers into torture after awhile. While I love my stilettos, they are not comfortable for all-day wear, especially when showing house after house or trekking across lawns. My favorite shoes are kitten heels and flats. They're my go-to styles for sophisticated comfort that lasts all day. (I sound like an orthopedic shoe ad...)


Before I even found my dress, I knew I'd wear flats. For so many reasons.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Matchmaker, matchmaker

Do you remember taking those teen magazine quizzes? Most of us probably did at least once or twice, right? Please tell me I'm not the only dork who thought it was fun! And who didn't look forward to Psych 101? It was one of the more interesting freshman level offerings.

(I remember buying this one.)

Now we're a little old to buy teen magazines... so I've got a new quiz for you to try, no teenybopper magazine required.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I think that's what I'm going to feel after my first yoga class tonight.

That's me.

It's something I've wanted to start for over a year and just never found the right combination of motivation, time, and people. I'm not a Y or gym membership kinda girl. The whole gym thing intimidates me, which is odd considering how athletic I was in high school. But that was 10 years ago!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Let the DIY begin!

Once the Evites for our annual NYE party were sent out, it meant our first DIY project was fast approaching.

The Photobooth.


Early on, I decided our wedding would have one. D&T's wedding last December was a blast, partly because of their very busy, very funny photobooth that hosted all sorts of mischief during the reception.

Yep, that's us. Being goofy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Art installation inspiration

Four years of art education and a graphic design degree do not play nicely with a day job that utilizes none of those talents. All of that bottled up creative energy has to go somewhere or else I get cranky/sulky. (It's kinda like SAD, but for creative types.) So now that I'm planning a massive art project, I mean wedding!, you can imagine what sort of trouble I'm headed for. Look out wedding project overload!

Because I don't have enough going on, I've decided it is completely sane to design and build an art installation. For the wedding. I hear all the I-can't-draw-a-straight-line people asking, "what the heck is an art installation?" Short answer: it's three-dimenional site-specific art. The best way to describe is with pictures, and what better way to begin than with the motherload of inspiration: Anthropologie.

January windows at Anthropologie
(all personal photos unless otherwise noted)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Epic e-pics

We're over the moon with our engagement pictures. They're better than we could have hoped for. The teaser pics just hint at the awesomeness contained in the online album. (Private, sorry. It has last names.) Mr. P and I have not laughed this hard (at ourselves) in a long time.

The Moms were the first to see the album. I called both of them so we could view the albums together. The pitch and decibel of their excited voices may have caused permanent hearing damage! To say they are excited for the wedding is an understatement. The outpouring of love and enthusiasm feels grand. I'm on a natural high.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Levels of awesomeness

Our engagement photos are here! Early!! (Dogs are howling and our wine glasses just shattered - I may need to calm down.) After the shoot, I left wondering what level of awesomeness the photos would be. We had a great location and photographer, but would we screw them up? I was convinced I'd have my eyes closed in a third of them and Mr. P would look painfully uncomfortable. Happy to report that on a scale of 1-10, this one goes to 11!


As much as I'd like to keep the location of our amazing photo shoot a secret, I feel that it's my bridal obligation to spills the beans so everyone else can visit too! Drumroll, please...

Engagement pictures are in!

My palms are clammy. I'm so excited I can't see straight. And if I weren't at work I'd be running around in circles. What has gotten into me?!

Our engagement photos are in! Heather has posted a teaser on her blog, but I have decided to wait until I’m home to look at them with Mr. P. Bonus excitement: he just got home after being away for a few days!

An hour has never felt so long!

Ghost of St. Pucchi

I was over the $5k+ St. Pucchi gown until I saw the gah-or-geous shots of this wedding featured on Style Me Pretty. (Lucky bride.) It's not that I'm having second thoughts about my gown. Because it's still #1... but I just can't get over how strikingly unique and beautiful this gown is. Come drool with me.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Trend: Rosette

Around the time I purchased my gown, I spotted a strikingly similar Monique Lhuillier ("LOO-lee-yay") gown. Wedding gowns that share similarities are not uncommon. After all, how many times can you reinvent the white dress? But this gown prominently featured rosettes - a detail I hadn't seen anywhere else.

Monique Lhuillier - Addison

Not only does it have rosettes, but they vary in size too. The skirt is covered with them so it's not an isolated detail. The differences are the fabric (what appears to be satin vs crinkle chiffon) and skirt shape (A-line vs fit-to-flare). I chalked this gown up to a coincidence.

Because her gowns are gorgeous and I'm a girl with a ring, I continued browsing.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pickin' a Posey Provider

If we had to cut back on something, it'd be flowers.

Not that we don't care about flowers. We're getting married in a garden. In the summer. It's already gorgeous. Plus, don't flowers wilt and die?! They're pretty but not permanent. Spending 10-20% of our budget on a non-essential when that money could be earmarked for photography or music? Nuts. Nuts to that, I say. The problem was, I was smitten with blooms styled by some of the area's more expensive florists.

Determined to find a saner option, I polled friends, clients and a few friendly-looking strangers. One of the recommendations really stuck with me. This florist went above and beyond: hand-wiring dogwood blooms to branches when they weren't in season. The bride was so pleased with the service, quality and value... here she was two years later raving about them.

In the nights leading up to our meeting with the florist, I hunkered down with the laptop to pare down the hundreds of inspiration images. First by mood: whimsical, bold, lush, natural and wild. Then, by my favorites. Sorting this way made it easier to spot themes in flowers or colors. Mr. P leaned over several times to check on my progress. His only comment was to limit the number of photos so the florist wouldn't be scared away. (When setting up the appointment, the assistant did instruct me not to bring too many images. )

Here's a sampling of favorites.


(source: 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Countdown: 7 months

With exactly seven months until the big "I do" to do, my mind is on all the things left undone.

To-do list items that are still nagging me:

1. Book officiant.
2. Design invitation suite.

We've thought up every excuse in the book to delay finding an officiant. The search started in August with 5 "feeler emails" which was then pared down to 3 in early October. Last week we were thisclose. Until the guy emailed a few days before our scheduled meet and greet to cancel. Another couple had booked him. The search (and knot in my stomach) resumed.

It's tough selecting a perfect stranger from a field of other perfect strangers to oversee and perform such an intimate ceremony. We have a closer relationship with our neighborhood bartender than our local clergy; unfortunately, the bartender is not ordained.

Hey man, can I get a White Russian?

And then there's the invitation suite. I would prefer to have started it in September, or even October, but more pressing to-do's popped up - and so it was back-burnered. Honestly, the more time I have to fiddle with the design, the more it'll keep changing. It's better I'm putting it off. Brian has caught on that I should have started already. Darn you, shared GoogleDocs to do list. It should be relatively easy to design and print, considering my background. I'm keeping it simple. Now tell me how naive I am and you'll see me in 4 weeks when I'm curled up in the fetal position.

How's your to-do list looking? Am I budgeting enough time?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Boy Band

So what about Mr. P's ring? After all, he is getting married too.


Much to my surprise, there are a lot of options out there for men's bands. Gone are the days of a simple domed band in gold or white gold, satin or polished finish. The nuances in options is a little staggering. A friend summed it up well, "Men don't wear jewelry, so it makes sense they're going to be picky about it." Giving them lots of options ensures they get a ring they're happy to wear.

I was surprised by the number of men's bands in the cases at the store. Unlike me, Mr. P wasn't fazed my the magnitude of rings and was able to point out a few he liked. He hadn't done much pre-shopping but had a sense of what he wanted to try on. No diamonds, nothing trendy and nothing expensive.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Un-Registry: China

A half century ago, a forward-thinking family member with great taste picked out a modern white and platinum banded pattern that we inherited. We have been saved from the frustration of hours spent shopping (and inevitably compromising) on a fine china pattern! It's actually very close to what we would have picked out. The tailored bands appeal to my graphic design sensibilities and the bright white color allows the food to speak for itself (something we feel strongly about). The upside is that it's simple enough to dress up with a second pattern or colored plate should we decide to get a little wild and crazy.

(source: 1 & 2)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our first registry gift

Arrived home in late July to find a small Williams-Sonoma box tucked away on the front porch. At first, I thought it was a gift for Brian; his birthday was the next day. But because it was from one of our registry stores, I started to fret because it's too soon for registry gifts to start arriving... and (oh crap!) we still need to ask his dad if we can redirect gifts to his house.

Brian and I deliberated on who sent it and what it could be while I searched for scissors. We had a good chuckle once I found the packing slip and note. My first-time buyers, A & C, went to closing a week prior and sent a thank you gift sourced from our registry. They are newlyweds so we discussed weddings during the house hunt. She must have super-sleuthed our registry or remembered me mentioning it (although I don't).

Either way, we were thrilled to open it up and find a Vinturi and wine pump with stoppers. Now we were left with a dilemma. It is a thank you gift from our wedding registry. What's the protocol for use? Brian reasoned that since it was technically a thank you gift, etiquette and superstitions would permit us to open now. It was put to use that night on a bottle of Finger Lakes Cab Franc!

Testing out our new wine gadget